Vietnam; Scooter Madness and other Jetlagged Musings

I’ve arrived. I’m in one piece. My head is spinning and thats not just the jet lag and it’s not drink either. No my head is spinning because this place is much to take in. Traffic is like nothing else, there are scooters and motorbikes everywhere. Its loud, there are beggars and people selling tat everywhere you look. It’s like nowhere else I’ve ever been.

Lets stop and rewind and go through the journey and I’ll have a little peer back at my last couple of days in England to finish off.

I set off for Vietnam at 9:35PM on Thursday from London Heathrow’s Terminal III, the flight was one of the best long haul flights I’ve ever had, other than not having individual TV’s and not having a good view of the one big one. No matter, the guy next to had great banter so we chatted for a few hours. We started watching the Top Gear Vietnam Special on his portable DVD only for it to run out of battery ten minutes in.

After fancy pork curry that apparently “carminated” (answers to what that is on a postcard?) me I settled in for a session on Super Mario 64 on the DS, which in all fairness is absolutely superb. After a while of that my eyes began to droop and with the aid of the free alcohol I had a pretty plesant sleep for five or six hours. About triple what I normally make on a flight of any description. Though I did get a random nosebleed and that was a bit shit.

By the time I woke up and played a touch more Mario we were touching down in Bangkok, which has a really pretty airport. Which is all I can tell you about the place as the airport is where I stayed, chatting with people from the flight at first until their connection was called to gate and then getting back on Mario again. Tragedy struck as my connection to Ho Chi Minh City was called; the red light on my DS was indicating that it would soon die on me.

That led me to magazines and my ipod which was struggling for battery itself. Thankfully it was only a touch over an hour to HCMC and we arrived on time. After that I had the “fun” process of sorting out my visa, which you collect at the airport when you arrive into Vietnam. Lots of forms, plenty of shouting, the passport man arguing with various people of various nationalities and half an hour later a funky stamp in my passport covering a whole page in exchange for 50 US Dollars.

My bag was sat slinking round the carousel in a lonely fashion after all that palava and after I grabbed it I couldn’t see anyone sat around waiting for me, which wasn’t a good sign, thankfully round a corner and out some glass doors I walked out to see somoene holding up an A4 sheet with my name on it; printed no less. I felt quite important.

The guy who had come to get me was a Scot from the school I’m going to be teaching at, Lewis, he got us in a taxi to my hotel. Most of which I spent marvelling at the traffic and how it somehow managed to not hit each other when it seemed that was only possibility left available. He assured me that it can get much busier. Insane.

We got to the hotel and I staggered up five flights of stairs with my bags to my room on the top floor, dumped them and headed along the street with Lewis to a streetside noodle seller he had been to before. We sat at the most ridiculous table ever, the seats were smaller than those red ones you get in Early Learning Centre for 3-5 year olds. Our table was all of a foot high. It was proper epic.

I tried the chilis on the table as we waited for our meal, very hot. We were going to go on the hunt for some alcohol when the stallholder said he’d get some for us. A couple of beers; they arrived on ice a few minutes later. My brain said what the hell at first and then I consider the fact I was sweating in the middle of the street, doing nothing at 10pm at night and decided ice was nice.

The food came moments later, all cooked there and then infront of us and it was delicious. Thankfully my chopsticking isn’t terrible isn’t bad but I do expect it to get a whole lot better in the coming year. I also swapped some US dollars into dong at a store on the same road, 50 US became 925,000 Dong. Awesome.

After I picked up a large bottle of water from the shop after being advised against the local tap variety (suitable for brushing your teeth only apparently) I headed back here to the hotel and thought I would pop online for a short while. I called my Mum to let her know I’m alive and well and have checked out what happened in Kentucky’s game and in the general world of sports.

I promised earlier to take a quick peek back at my final week which will be all too brief for how great it was as I can feel my eyes starting to go on me and I want to get this posted before I hit the hay for the night.

I enjoyed my great ice cream adventure with Nicol, going round my Dad’s for Chili, making Jamie Oliver Burgers with my Mum, the Dilshad with my Mum, the Toby Carvery with Auntie Hazel and my Mum. I’m forgetting lots of things but it was great to see you all.

My leaving do was an epic as always, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made it out, especially extended to Spanky, Wanless, Dutoy, Lambert, Bower and Ali Hung who made it from far flung places to be there. It was a great night and a good parmo was had by all. I will definitely miss Hartlepool’s takeaway extraordinaire.

After a last night involving the finishing of a series of West Wing with my Mum and some running around the next day trying to finish off everything I had left to do it was time to jump on the Grand Central down to London.

I spent Tuesday night with my sis, enjoying a Nando’s before meeting her boyfriend and friends for a couple of pints. Which was lovely indeed. The next day I had a quick pop in to the Australian Embassy for a document I needed to claim my Australian pension back and then found my sis to play tourist for the day.

We went and saw the Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the fellas in red coats who don’t smile, Trafalgar Square (I sat on one of the lions), the National Gallery (where an idiot usher shouted at me, little egotistic maniac he was) and Leicester square among others. I got to catch up with Horny Rich for a couple of hours before he headed off and went to meet Steff and Manda in Camden Wagamamas. As usual Wags was delicious, I wanted to know how to make Katsu curry sauce!

We ended up in the World’s End, drinking wine and chatting to Frenchmen celebrating St. Paddy’s Day and then it was on the train, with a bottle of wine from Marks and Sparks with Steff, a nice bit of sneaking into first class led to a comfortable journey and some watching of rubbish TV programs before falling asleep on her couch.

An early start and being rushed on to the tube had me feeling a touch ill but I sorted that with a sausage and egg mcmuffin and the day got excellent from there, I went back to my sisters, sorted my bags out, finished my book and took a shower before one final Subway in Putney Heath led to my last goodbye of this trip home and onto the airport. My final phone call was to my Mum and you can scroll back further up to read what happened from there.

Oh and my blog should post automatically to facebook but if you could leave comments on the blog that would be great as facebook is a no go.

I’m off for a shower and bed, goodnight world I hope all is well!

Love and Scooters

J. Xx

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5 Responses to “Vietnam; Scooter Madness and other Jetlagged Musings”

  1. Sounds epic already dude! Looking forward to keeping up with these bad boys! Even if I’m not mentioned in them! haha! Also loved the Parmo reference (i overheard someone talking about them on Paddies night!) Have fun and stay safe fella! xXx

    • Its mental lol! Have you got skype by the way hun? Just I dont know when I’ll get to be a facebooker again lol! You did get a mention in this one, but you have to visit if you want more. Oh and you will get a mention for being the president should that happen of course 😀

  2. Hi john glad to here you mad it over okay. Sounds like your having a brilliant time over there already =]. I’d love to travel the world like, sounds so adveturous. Your blogs will soon end up as my reading material =]. Hope you enjoy yourself over there and keep safe mate

    • Thanks mate! The one thing I would reccomend to everyone is to go travelling, its an experience that will stay with you forever! I will do my best to stay safe though the traffic scares me lol! Kick ass in the Redcar game yeah?!

  3. Great Reading looks like the start of another marvellous adventure x mam


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