3 months after sending Ian off to new Asian pastures, I finally came to join him. Woohoooo!! The summer was great though, spending time with family and friends without the usual mad crazy rush, getting to know my beautiful twinkles who I’m going to miss heaps 😞 visiting old haunts in Leeds, finding new ones in London, working for a month on my terms, meeting Leo (congrats again Alex and Martin!) and enjoying a few home comforts – thanks Ma and Pa for putting up with me for what I am sure was longer than expected!
And while it had been 3 months I’d been home, I still spent the last few days rushing about trying to get my life in order, ready to leave. But I got there in the end, thanks to Mama Sood Taxi Service and got to bed at a not too ridiculous 1am on the Tuesday night after a lovely evening sharing a curry with my girls and Braden.
Zipped off to the airport with Mum and Dad and everything seemed to be going swimmingly, with the check-in guy barely commenting on my mildly(!) overweight bag, until the whole check-in area was evacuated due to a curious smoking smell. The whole area I say, apart from the one I was checking in at – apparently Cathay Pacific and American Airlines don’t fear something as trivial as a mild burning whiff. So Dad was stuck outside unable to get in, with me and Mum stuck inside unable to get out. After a few stressed conversations on the phone through the windows, they started letting people back in so we had time for a quick coffee before saying our farewells (not too emotional though as I’m back at Xmas!). I wasn’t looking forward to 15 hours on a flight without Ian, otherwise known as my travel pillow, leg rest, arm rest and snuggle monkey, but just hoped I wouldn’t be sitting next to anyone too horrendous...cue 2 Chinese guys, who did not stop talking all the way to Hong Kong, who had no apparent awareness of personal space, who didn’t smell too fresh and who somehow found some kind of porn to watch on the in-flight entertainment...nice.
But I survived, arriving in HK with a super-short stopover, meaning that I only just made my connection to Vietnam. But this flight was much more enjoyable as I was sitting next to a nice Vietnamese lady – we got chatting, her in broken English, me in a weird mix of English and Spanish?? But she was very sweet and gave me her card in case I needed anything in Ho Chi Minh City....where we arrived less than 2 hours later. But it then took me another 2 hours to get out of the airport – first I couldn’t open my hand luggage case as I didn’t know the lock combination (it’s Emma’s old case) which I needed to get into as my money was in it for my visa. I managed to figure out the code after a bit of a stress (just call me Cracker) and a guy walked over with my name on a piece of paper apparently there to sort out my visa for me, which was very nice. So I sat down and just waited while everyone else scrabbled for attention, and got into a conversation with 2 little girls on holiday with their Mum, who was in aforementioned chaos, and got told their whole family history while they pointed out my spots. Sweeties.
And so the Asian adventure began – found my lovely man waiting outside for me with a sign...and Ian of course!! The driver took the bags and we wandered out into the wall of heat – wow, hadn’t been in a climate like this for a while. Sweating immediately! Cruised back to my hotel soaking up the sights and sounds of Saigon, and then went for some lunch in Bui Vien, the backpacker district, to a place called Hello Saigon where we bumped into a couple of Ian’s work buddies. Had pho for lunch – had to seeing as it was my first Vietnamese meal but didn’t really need a massive bowl of boiling hot noodle soup in 35degree heat. More sweating.
Ian then had to go to work but it gave me time to sort myself out and have a snooze before meeting him and some mates for dinner and drinks at a lovely French place. Was great to finally put faces to all the names I’d heard and we then went onto Thi Cafe for more beers and some fab reggae tunes.
So less than one week in and I’ve got my first class sorted for tomorrow morning (so much for the few weeks to settle in!), met most of Ian’s buds, been bedridden with a bad tum, set up some apartment viewings, survived crossing the roads and ridden pillion on a fair few scooters – the only way to get around town. Have to be getting me one of those bad boys soon!!
Anyhoo, no pics as yet to go with this one but thought you’d like to hear the first instalment of the SoodPav Adventures Asia Stylies. (Well it only really begins now I’m out here, doesn’t it??!)
Big love to you all as always,
Missing you already!!
Lisa and Ian xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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