Sometimes Traveling isn’t What You Expect It To Be!
I didn’t expect to send a blog from SFO!!
After having our three week Bali trip cancelled due to the volcano eruption…that didn’t, …we stayed home for an additional 2 weeks before heading to the airport to continue the second half of that vacation plan…the Uniworld land/river trip that includes Angkor Wat and then a Mekong River cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam.
So we rebooked our flight to arrive in Hanoi a week earlier than our original schedule was calendared for, and I arranged a 7 day tour with a local Vietnamese company to visit the hill tribes in the northern most part of Vietnam up against the Chinese border and then a junket boat overnight on HaLong Bay. All good.
We arrive at SFO airport for our very long flight, first Taipei with a transfer to Hanoi. Reaching the front of the line at China Air, they look at our paperwork, passports and VISAS, and say “no good, no good”! Our 30 day reentry Vietnam vistas were approved to start on the day that our original trip was planned on…and here we are 6 days early and China Air will not let us board. Shit!
At first we were ready to scrap the entire trip and go home. This trip has been fraught with too many problems. But then reality set in and we realized we had thousands of nonrefundable dollars that we would lose (again) if we cancelled everything.
We decided to break up our flight tickets, fly to Taipei (no visa required) where we will have to spend the night, waiting for new visas to arrive and then continue on to Hanoi. Even with this plan (assuming it works and we don’t have to just turn around and go home if we can’t get a new VISA timely), we might be stuck in Taipei for several days.
Steve signs on to the Internet midair and applies again for a VISA, paying a high premium for a 6 hour turnaround service. We land in Taipei 14 hour later and no VISA in his inbox. They don’t work weekends! He then sweet talks the boarding agent in Taipei to allow us to board the Hanoi based plane with the understanding that if we don’t received veg our new VISA, we won’t get through immigration and will be turned back to Taipei. We arrive three hours later, Monday morning, in Hanoi and there it was in his inbox!! HORRAY for technology!! We are in!!
So the irony of all this? While thousands of Vietnamese, in the not so distant past, tried to FLEE Vietnam, here are we, jumping hoops and stressing like crazy, in order to sneak in!!
So I share this real screw up to show that, even when we think we are such fabulous travelers, with carry ons and all, painful and expensive mistakes happen if we are not careful to dot every i and cross every T, when planning out the execution of the trip.
Hoping that the balance of this blog report will be happy 😃 with lots of good things to report!