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Published: October 28th 2012
Standing in two places at once while I travel through time... I am one talented lady!
I got so caught up in my excitement for Vietnam, that I forgot I actually had to leave China first. It was pretty much exactly 12 hours before we were supposed to get on a train that I made this realization. I had just been packing up my things for the following travel day when I was like “woah! I'm leaving China tomorrow!”. There were a couple of loose ends I needed to discuss with Tyler so I grabbed a few things and headed down to the common room (where he was having a beer with James from Whales) and told him what I had just realized and needed to talk.
We went over the plan for the following day and went through a checklist in our heads to make sure we weren't forgetting anything. Okay! Everything was good. I put the battery in our little alarm clock, set the time and the alarm and off to dreamland I went.
Whenever the alarm goes off, I'm always worried I forgot to hit the snooze so I have to get up right away. I went over to Tyler's bed to wake him up before heading to the washroom to splash
bye bye Birkies
I had to leave my beloved Birkenstocks in China, they were pretty beat up and taking up space in my pack. I'm sad about it so I'm showing you a picture of my stinky old shoes whether you like it or not :D
some water on my face. We gathered all of our things and were off in good time. On our way to the train station we stopped to grab some fruit and snacks but it was still really dark out.
Our train was scheduled to leave at 7:40am and we had planned on leaving the hostel around 7:15 which I thought we did... turns out I must have set the clock wrong the night before. When we got to the train station it was 6:20am. Could have definitely used that extra hour of sleep! This is what happens when you don't have something connected to a satellite to tell you what time it is. We're really living in the 20th
century with out lack of phones and electronics. Back to basics I tells'ya!
Well, we were awake and at the train station at this point so we made some coffee and waited. It didn't seem like all that long of a wait before we were boarding the train. Both of us were hoping to get some sleep on the train but the hard seats are very hard and the car we were in was noisy. Instead of sleeping we watched people play cards, saw a heated argument that silenced the whole train and ate noodle bowls... oh China.
When we arrived in Pingxiang, there were drivers waiting to take people to the border so we hopped in a minibus and off we went. This is when I started to get emotional. I'm really leaving! Did I do enough? Did I see enough? Did I appreciate everything enough? I got a little teary-eyed but told myself that I did the best I could and I'm completely satisfied with what we have accomplished in the last 7 weeks.
After we got dropped off we had to walk along a little road before actually exiting China. Every 10 seconds I was like “Are we in Vietnam?”. There was no sign to say “Thanks for coming to China” or anything! Apparently China wasn't as sad to see me go as I was to leave 😞
Finally we made it through the China departure building and we were in limbo. I made Tyler snap a photo of me right on the border and I somehow made it all the way into Vietnam without any crying. The last clock I saw in China said 11:52 at the train station. When we got to the Vietnam border officials their clock said 11:20. I can now say that I have gone back in time! No big deal... just a regular time traveller, I'll add that to my resume when I get home.
The rest of our trip was pretty boring, we had to wait a while for our bus to leave for Hanoi and the ride seemed really long even though the views of the rugged North Vietnam mountains were pretty spectacular. Our bus made a stop for lunch and we had to get our obligatory first meal of Pho (noodle soup) in Vietnam. Remember, we have no way to tell time so when we got to Hanoi and the sun was setting it seemed like a very long day. Luckily though, our bus dropped us off right in the middle of the neighbourhood we wanted to stay! No random outside of town bus station for us 😊 Another happy surprise was that we got off the bus and the men trying to get us to go to their hotels spoke English!
As we made our way to a hostel, we saw so many westerners! There are probably more westerners in Hanoi right now than how many we saw on our entire trip through China. So! We've got English AND westerners... awesome. After China everything seems so much easier!
I'm over the sad bit now. I'm happy to be in Vietnam! This is the country that I have been most excited for since we started planning and I can't wait to get out there and see the whole thing. We have 30 days which is going to be weird since we had two months in Indo and China, but we will just have to adapt faster and make the most out of every day!
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