It’s 4am Monday in Hoi An, Vietnam; 3pm Sunday in Albuquerque. Thick warm air with a smoky overlay wafts in through the window by my bed. Rain moving in.The 36 or so hours since we arrived in HCMC (which everyone here calls Saigon so henceforth I will too) have been rich, dense, sensual…kind of exhausting…in a good way.
First though there’s a travel side story in the road here from Wellington, one of those warning tales, fortunately of the benign variety. Getting the warning out of the way up front—Always, Without fail, No matter what, Read every line of your emails. Always. It will surely cost you time and money if you do not. Long story short, I did not print out the right letter for my Vietnamese e-visa so, two nights ago, we were not allowed to board the plane in Sydney for Saigon. It worked out in its own strange way…and remember it’s only money…
LEAVING NEW ZEALAND…WHICH MAKES ME SAD.
And who can complain about an evening strolling the harbor front in Sydney? Even though we would have been in Saigon by now if not for my visa screw-up. It’s misty warm and the famous opera house looms grandly over all, with Sydney Harbour Bridge just across the water in front of us. Friday evening crowds are out and they’re more than ordinarily elegant. A plethora of casual, hip and/or classy restaurants line the walk, Teresa and I are mostly happily (forget being disgruntled…it does mental harm) overnighting in Sydney. There’s a bonus here for me—I get to top off my three-week binge of A Place to Call Home (that most addictive of Australian soap-dramas) staring intently at the bridge that announces each ‘Place’s‘ family member’s visit to the big city for reasons romantic, nefarious and/or escapist. Moral—if you’re going to screw up…may as well do it beneath the sweep and sway of some grand edifices. Oh yeah, and Teresa gets to count Australia as ‘visited.’
Next day, right letter downloaded, new tickets with Vietnam Air, eight long flight hours to Saigon. Crazy. Intense Saigon. Going to be magic we think. Unpack in our simple backstreet hotel and Teresa picks our dinner restaurant…Back soon.