I'm back from the land of no facebook, no walled showers, no chicken bahn mi (Mascot 1, Vietnam 0) and no tolerance to alcohol, from what I've seen.
Seriously. Don't give a group of Vietnamese people endless amounts of wine. It will end badly. But more on that later (spoiler alert!)
I went back to work today. It was incredibly disappointing. And I've have a dull headache on and off for like a week, which is never fun when you spend 6 hours in front of a computer. And talking on the phone to people who often seem to enjoy sharing random things about their personal life- despite the fact that I don't care about your dermalogical issues, or your pet cat's affinity with perching on your tin roof, I just care about you booking in and paying your deposit so I can get my $10 commission.
Sales person honesty. There's nothing like it.
So on Wednesday the airport shuttle arrived 20 minutes early. It had been booked for 7:15am, then the night before they rang and told us they'd have to pick us up at 7am and of course, what time did they show up? 6:40am. Seriously. 20 minutes early. How stupid is that? I mean what if we hadn't even showered? They robbed me of 20 minutes of watching Sunrise on the couch with James. I couldn't finish my totally amazeballs juice. And then of course I had to deal with 20min extra of my Dad talking to us but really to himself (you know, when people ask questions or make comments about something you're not involved in, like a TV show they're watching for example, and then expect you to respond with something other than "hmm.")
Of course, as things generally work in the world, despite running 20minutes early, our plane was 40 minutes delayed. Delays are like some big secret at the airport. Seriously, if it's less that 90 minutes they don't bother making an announcement. Which means you're sitting there, scared to go to the bathroom in case the boarding call comes while you're in there and somehow everyone before you gets on the plane in the 3 minute round trip. I read a Marian Keyes article on the very subject of how horrid it is to fly and she brings up the very issue of delays, and the way the staff seem to pretend there is no delay, almost like you won't notice that you're taking off an hour after it was scheduled. I mean, after all the delay, you end up taxi-ing for about 3 years while they wait for a bit of space in that tiny thing they call the sky to take off in. And once they land at the other end, it's almost as if the airport suddenly realises they need to get the walkway ready, so that people can actually disembark.
The worst bit is, it's like I'm the only person on the damn flight who knows these things. When they call for rows "25 to 46" to board and 90% of the people run to line up, so they can get on the plane first- just to have that 5 minutes extra of holding up traffic by messing with your over head locker, accidentally sitting on you seat belt and having to scramble around for it, and checking the entertainment system even though you know the chances of it being usable before takeoff are slim to none. You know that no one in the rows called have bothered lining up because the line is overflowing with people who get ready 5 minutes before the predicted boarding time. Honestly though, if I worked at the gates, and I called certain rows, and someone from another row tried to board, I'd tell them where to stick it. I'd make them wait till the very end to board. Which, in reality, would be a blessing for them.
Then when you're finally on the plane, there's those irritating people who seem to think they have to put their hand luggage in the overhead lockers as soon as is humanly possible. You know the ones, it's about 85% of passengers. They stop in front of you, usually excruciatingly close to your row, and spend about 10 minutes trying to shove their above-the-carry-on-size-limit suitcase into the overhead, before finally acknowledging that another bag couldn't possibly fit in the inch wide space left and finding another section of the locker to shove it into. Then they give you that casual apologetic there's-nothing-I-can-do-smile and every time I feel like kicking them.
A word for the wise: Find your row. Get in your row. Wait for a space in the progression down the plane aisle. Put your bag in an overhead locker, with the minimum amount of your body protruding into the walking aisle, so someone could squeeze past if necessary.
WHY IS THAT SO HARD FOR PEOPLE?
If i ran the world of travel, there would be one issue that would be more important to me to fix than any other. Children. I would ban them from flights. Unless they have no arms or legs and are physically incapable of making noise. I seem to be a magnet for children who enjoy kicking the seat in front of them and there's not much you can do about it. Unless you're Inspector Gadget, you can't kick their chair back. And you can't hit them because there's no such thing as "grounds for provocation" when it comes to child abuse. And then there's the screaming. Oh the screaming... Honestly, what are people with small children doing travelling anyway? I can't think of anything worse than travelling with kids. My parents took me and my sister to America when we were 7 and 11 respectively, and I'm grateful but seriously. They couldn't go to a Yankees game because I didn't want to. Do you know how much I hate my former self for that? Men in baseball uniforms!
If you haven't fled the plane by this point, it's finally time for takeoff. Which is when things get bearable for a short time. You get food and drink every 3-4 hours. There are a tonne of movies to watch, games to play, music to listen to and if you're well prepared, books to read. You may be lucky enough to get a window seat which not only gives you the view but it grants you the power to control the light in the plane. Oh yeah. You can blind that little screaming brat with the glares of the setting sun. On paper, flying is kind of like a lazy Sunday on the couch. You watch movies, you don't shower, you wear stretchy pants and take of your shoes. Anyone who has not flown internationally, you may think flying is great fun. Maybe it's a novelty- something you've only done a handful of times. You. Are Wrong. In reality, flying is worse than enduring "Friday" by Rebecca Black on loop for 24 hours. You're sitting up. For as long as 13 hours at a time. And often, you get to wander around an airport for 2 or 3 hours only to sit up for another 8. As soon as you find a position that makes sleeping possible (usually some sideways, upright foetal position with your head against the window- no mean feat when you're 5'8") someone near you invariably coughs. Or a baby starts crying. Or the annoying beep signifying the seat belt button turning on sounds. Or a child kicks your chair in one last attempt to drive you insane- they of course are slumbering peacefully.
If I could somehow skip the flying bit, it would make my life a whole lot more awesome. Unfortunately I don't hate flying as much as I love travelling, which means it's an evil necessity of life. It's amazing to arrive at your hotel though- you may be in an entirely different country, surrounded by different smells, sounds, sights. Sometimes, you get a cold drink on arrival, or a refresher towel. Then you get to your room. There isn't much I love more than the first steps into a hotel room. Even hostels are exciting. you get to test the beds, check out what free things they have in the bathrooms (if you get a sewing kit or a razor, you know you've hit the jackpot) see if there are any cushy extras like robes and slippers. If you're in a share room such as in a hostel, you get to meet your new roommates and find out if you managed to score a bottom bunk. (Side note: When you're a kid, you fight over the top bunk. Then you hit teen years and realise that top bunks are inconvenient and at times, unsafe. Suddenly it becomes a battle to secure a bottom bunk- even though you're in trouble if you're sleeping below a fat person, a toss-and-turner or a bed wetter).
Yes, arriving is lovely. Travelling is death.
So, somehow it's 11:32pm and I have to wake up for work in 8 hours which means it's my bed time about an hour ago so that's all for part one. Which is probably a blessing because I haven't my photos uploaded yet and the trip is probably the only bit you can talk about without needing photos! I'll try and get a couple of days worth into the next post, as opposed to 20 hours. I just had a lot of things to complain about in regards to flying- and there's still the flight home. Oh jeez... I'll just say it involved a combination of two things I hate, all in one evil demon child.
Oh and You may have noticed an absence of HAWPs so I'll try and post two this weekend so those of you who have nothing better to do on a weekend other than watch youtube videos on my blog don't miss out.