Finally! We are in Vietnam!
Trip Start Feb 17, 2013
39Trip End Mar 21, 2013
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Where I stayed
Wow! The flight from Taipei to Hanoi took about three hours, give or take. Both Tom and I were able to sleep -- it has been almost 48 hours since we had a shower or a change of clothes. Customs was a breeze -- the lady looked at our passports, didn't ask any questions, and waved us through. Baggage claim was an education in chaos -- only one baggage claim area (it appears) but more than one flight coming in at about the same time. A Swedish man said he'd been there an hour and a half waiting for his bag. Great. But, voila, within a half hour or so, there were our bags, together!
We found our driver from the hotel, tried to get money out of a couple of ATM machines but none of them worked, asked at the money changing counter, but they wouldn't take a credit card, they would only exchange currency
The drive from the airport to our hotel took about 30-45 minutes and what crazy chaos that was. Oh my gosh (OMG), I might not complain about Utah drivers for quite some time. These people are NUTS! Motorcycles, bicycles, cars, buses, pedestrians -- all vying for the same space at the same time and, it appears, no one has the right of way. Oh, might I add, I don't think seat belts are required -- shoulder belt was there, but nothing to fasten it to -- so please pray we live through a month of crazy transportation. Horns are a must! I asked Tom what would happen if the horn quit working. Well . . . . :-\
The Hanoi Moment Hotel is very nice -- check in was a breeze, the staff is very polite and accommodating, and, just like in the Middle East, we were brought a welcome drink of freshly squeezed juice -- mango or papaya, I think. Our room is comfortable, once we figured out the air conditioning! Hardwood floors, rose petals on the beds, fresh fruit to welcome us, modern and clean bathroom. We are on the street side so the noise may keep us awake tonight -- I hope it quiets down a little.
It is now 7 p.m. -- 14 hours ahead of SLC -- and we are venturing out into the madness to search for an ATM that works and to have a light dinner. Wish us luck and pray for our safety!! ;-D)
Tom’s comments on Tuesday, Feb
On our walk to dinner tonight, Dayna shared with me an exciting new discovery for me. She took me to a new machine called an ATM where she inserted a plastic card and got free money! This is a great country!!! 500,000 Dong. I had always suspected she was a closet Democrat and knew where to stand in line for free money. But imagine my surprise, that we saw another ATM only a half a block away. I immediately converted to the Democratic party, and stuck my plastic into the ATM for my free money! I got 2,000,000 Dong. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my dong was bigger than Dayna’s dong . . . machine. Not only am I new millionaire, but I had never held so much dong in my hands in my life.
But what goes up must come down. When we got our bill for dinner (adult beverages, appetizer, and main course), the bill came to 300,000 Dong ($14). My fortune in Dong was deflated. Tomorrow we are off, in search of another free Dong machine.