And so the Journey begins...

Trip Start Jan 22, 2009
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Trip End Dec 22, 2009


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Where I stayed
Pheonix Hotel

Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, January 24, 2009

Xin Chao!  Hello!  We made it!  We are now at our first destination of our 11 month journey; Hanoi Vietnam.  Our travels were long and exhausting but for the most part, without complications.  My luggage never made it to Hanoi and so we were the very last travelers to leave the airport after talking to lost and found for an hour.  We finally made it to our Hostel at around 2am and crashed (we are 13 hours ahead of MN time).  We slept very well despite being able to hear the couple in the room next to us, as the walls here are paper thin.  Note taken.
Our journey began at 8am on Thursday January 22nd  from Minneapolis to Chicago. We weighed ourselves and our bags before we left  to see if they change much by the time our journey is through.  Clint weighed 197lbs and his bag, 43 lbs.  Kate weighed 124lbs and her bag, 31 lbs...we'll see if both reduce by the time we come home.   Our flight to Chicago was a piece of cake of course, it was the flight to Tokyo that was a rough one...13.5 hours!  My feet were so swollen I could barely put my shoes on.  This was my first really long flight that I have taken and I must say I was pretty fascinated at all the options they have for entertainment...your very own t.v. with movies and shows, video games, music, and a screen that shows you on a map where the plane is in route.  If only they had beds!  The flight on Japan airlines was good too.  This was another 6.5 hours but luckily we slept most of the way.  I was amused at the flight information that they showed on the t.v screens...everything was in Japanimation!  It was hilarious. They showed different scenarios like a drunk man on the plane with his tie around his head stumbling around on the plane and spilling beer on a poor kids head in the seat next to him. The caption read something like, "Consider those around you when drinking alcohol on the plane".  They also served a full Japanese meal for their dinner.  I ate it all with chopsticks! J   When we arrived in Tokyo I couldn't get over the fact that they had gorgeous big white orchid flowers lining the halls of the airport.  A flower that we rarely see in MN was in abundance there. ...of course I took a photo of this.  I also got to experience a "Japanese toilet"  which is essentially a toilet without a seat that you simply squat over.  Luckily they had a diagram to show me how to use it otherwise I may have been a bit perplexed.

Today, Saturday, we enjoyed a lovely free breakfast at our hotel.  Their coffee is really, really black and strong! Mom, you'd love it!   Then we ventured out to explore the "Old Quarter" of Hanoi . WOW!  Good God, talk about being over stimulated!  There are scooters EVERYWHERE!  To cross the street you literally have to just cross, pray, and be amazed at how they just weave around you.  It is a bit nerve racking but we survived.  We were also in awe at how much people carry on their scooters!  We saw people overloaded with vegetables, flowers, crates with live ducks, and even carcasses of gutted pigs draped over the back and front of the scooter...and a lot of times there are two people on the bike! It is quite the sight!  How they balance all this and drive and weave around people is beyond us.  There appears to be no traffic control here, driving is a bit mad and everyone is constantly honking.   We walked through a market today which was an experience. Clint saw a woman take a turtle out of a bin and simply chop it's head off . Luckily, I missed that one.   We ate at a  little Vietnamese place right next to the market which was very tasty.  For 2 meals and drinks it only cost us $5.00.   We also got hustled by a few women and a bike taxi driver, so needless to say, we felt a bit frustrated but took it all as a learning experience. Got to be alert and aware at all times here!   

The temperature was in the 60s during the day and was very overcast.  We were pretty chilly walking around town and so we are avoiding going too far for dinner tonight since I am without my warm clothes....all in my luggage that is still not here!  My bag was supposed to arrive today according to the airport staff but they just called me and told me it never came on the last flight for whatever reason.  Oh joy!  So, we have to wait until tomorrow evening to see if it comes.  Because of this we figured we should book another night at our hotel, however, it is all booked so...tomorrow we must find another place to stay unless someone checks out of here tomorrow.  With the New Years the day after tomorrow it is not easy to find vacancies.  All of this I figure is a test for us as travelers and as a couple...we are learning early on in our trip that things will not go as smoothly as we want all the time and we just have to be flexible, patient, and pleasant to each other.  

Until next blog!  Take Care.  And please everyone, pray to the luggage Gods for us!   Love, Kate and Clint
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Comments

kpeterson1502
kpeterson1502 on

hello from frigid mn
hello my children I just wanted to say hola from the cold below zero temps here and that we all miss and love you momma

ande4950
ande4950 on

I love it!
I wish I were there too! :) It is so cold here. Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences with us all. I'll be prayin for your luggage to get there soon and in one piece. I look forward to more!
Dena

bunbury999
bunbury999 on

Scooters
Get used to the scooters/motorbikes - they are everywhere. And once you get to Thailand (if not sooner), you'll see families of 4 on there at times - two people is nothing. Anyways, hopefully, I will run into you guys in the South. Take care & safe travels.

-Brady

meshach
meshach on

Wow!
You are off to a good start! I figure if it is hard now, it can only get easier!

It sounds like you are having a great time! Glad to hear you are getting out there and taking it all in.

For the long flights, I find it helps to 'write' the alphabet with your feet while sitting (flexing your foot around for a couple of minutes, in all directions) and also to stretch near the bathrooms every few hours. Also, do not eat much but drink a good amount (your taste buds don't work very well in flight so airline food is very salty.) This will help with just about everything but also with DVT, which is a serious risk for women.

Take care,
M

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