Friday, 1 December 2017

Here ... we ... go ..... AGAIN ! (YVR - TPE - SGN)

Wednesday.  November 29

I'm hurting.

My legs hurt.  My head hurts.  My energy hovers at negligible levels.

Drinking with Eda was fabulous fun but also was dangerous to one's health.  A bottle of wine each.  And then I walked back the 4 km to my hotel in the freezing cold at 11:30 pm.  And I wasn't feeling any pain. 

But I am feeling that pain now.

Doom & Gloom & Construction noise
By 1 pm I have completed the last shopping trip for Grandma, started the last load of laundry, and am preparing to visit Grandma, to drop off the rental car, and to completely empty my hotel room.  Same Same but different...

It's fucking COLD outside.  While there is snow on the top of the mountains, it's a miserable 7 degrees (feels like 2, the weather forecast kindly adds) in the rain and wind down here.  

That's OK:  T minus 8 hours.

Walking back to the hotel after dropping off the car, I witness again of how Vancouver drivers release that tremendous powerless frustration of being boxed in by rush hour in salvos of angry honking and squealing tires.    As if that really helps matters....

Is that the life we really want?

Hunger strikes at 6 pm and what better way to start this journey with some ruou vang trang in the restaurant around the corner.   I sit right next to the heater and eat some boiling-hot chicken wings.

I set my alarm clock for 8 pm, which should give me ample time to finish packing and catch my 9:35 pm bus.   The alarm clock wakes me, I kill the nasty sound, and the next thing I see is that the time says 9 pm.   FUCK!   RUSH!  RUN!  

I do catch my bus with 7 minutes to spare.

On the skytrain my cell phone informs me that I got more translating work.
China Airlines is code-sharing with Vietnam Airlines.  They accept my visa-approval letter and I get an aisle seat for both flights. 

China Airlines provides the most comfortable plane in which I have flown so far.  Oodles of legroom.  

 The food is only average but this is one of the most relaxed flights ever.

Let's hope Trump behaves himself; I'm too close to Pyongyang !
But I'm still glad when my feet connect to solid Taiwanese ground (HOW MANY Chinas are there?). There are no currency exchange booths and most stores are still closed at 6 am, so I can't buy any food or drink here, but there is a SMOKING LOUNGE. 

civilized !
I'm back in ASIA, where things make sense and the citizens' daily life seems to be less controlled by Big Nanny.
waiting at the gate
6:45 This flight schedule kind of works.  I left Vancouver 13 hours ago at just after midnight and now it is morning in Asia.  Yes, I'm tired but it doesn't feel like I'm in completely the wrong time zone.

A middle aged Viet lady from San Francisco seems to in a chatty mood on the flight to Saigon but I escape too much of that by dozing off through most of the flight.

I take a picture of the stewardesses while they are serving the meal.   Gorgeous faces in strangely gorgeous uniforms.   The stewardess is NOT happy with that and tells me so in an authoritative tone.  Yes, I usually do my utmost to respect people's wishes about being photographed.  

But in this case something tells me that the risk of being photographed is part of the job of a stewardess.

Half an hour to get my visa stamped into my passport, 10 minutes to get through immigration, and another 20 minutes standing at the luggage carousel (I swear to myself to NEVER travel with checked luggage again), and then:

I'm back.   

And I'm quoting Bourdain again, because I can't express it any better:

I'm back.

Back in Vietnam.
Shit-eating grin for the duration.
A giddy silly foolish man, beyond caring.

Actually, there is one better way of putting it:

My soul is at peace here.

I step out of the terminal building into the 29 Celsius heat.

Bus 152 is parked right in front of the door and half a cigarette later I'm the first one sitting in the bus.  Since the bus driver is still having lunch outside, I use that opportunity to shed my long pants and change into shorts.  Try THAT in your local public transit system, LOL.

I get to my hotel at 13:00 hours, collect the hot-water kettle I left here only 10 days ago, and WALK up to the 6th floor with FOUR bags.  

A quick trip into the street gets me a bottle of ruou vang thrang, noodle soups, and cookies.  I have arrived !

It's a small world indeed.  An e-mail informs me that I barely missed M, B & T, who flew out of Saigon this afternoon.

At 19:00 hours, I do feel peckish again.  Since I'm staying just around the corner from THE street food place, I decide to go.....
choices ....

GO and EAT here !

divine mackerel


I am dead tired at exactly the right time !

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