We moved to Kelowna BC and it did not like us - or perhaps we did not like it - so we are travelling across Canada with all our stuff packed up in a cargo trailer trying to find somewhere new to live. :)
Posted at 07:03 on Sat 28 February 2009 by Africanrose
I could feel the storm coming all afternoon as I sat waiting for my flight. And the trip had been going so well up until then. I had not slept very much on Friday, worried that I would sleep through my alarm and not get up in time. I needn’t have worried, having set two alarms, and knowing that not only would the lady who works in the hotel be bringing me breakfast but also that the OM and officer driver were coming to pick me up to take me to the train station. It would have taken deliberate effort to sleep through all of that and I had no intention of missing my flight. But still, I slept fitfully, waking up every hour or so.
At around , I decided to get up, have a shower and give my room one last look over, to make sure that I had not forgotten anything. Then it was off to the train station, where we sat and had coffee, having arrived about an hour before my train was due to depart. G met us at the station, and along with the OM and driver accompanied me to the train. Although I only have one suitcase, it is rather heavy, and I was very grateful when the driver carried it into the cabin for me, placing it at the end of the bunk, where it was easy to retrieve. I have generally been quite lucky with the trains here, and have not had to put up with people smoking in the cabins or being too noisy (the last time I took the train, I got a seat instead of a bunk, as it was only a three-hour ride from Hue to Dong Hoi, the same journey that I have done today, just in reverse. On that occasion, several men in the coach were smoking and after a few hours I was very glad to get away from the smoke). This morning the cabin was fairly empty; just myself, an elderly man and his daughter, who commented on my choice of book. D had given me “The Sorrow of War”, a story about the war written by a North Vietnamese soldier which was a best seller in Vietnam.
The train trip passed without a hitch and I got to Hue without incident. I think the driver must have said something to the conductor when he put my bag on the train, as ten minutes outside of the station he came to tell me that we were arriving and make sure that I was not asleep. He also helped me to get my bag down from the train and wished me a safe trip. From the train station I had to find a taxi to the airport. I was under strict instructions to only use a Mailinh taxi, as they are considered to be the most trust worthy in Vietnam (experience has borne this out, as although other taxi companies may have lower initial rates, on several occasions the meter has mysteriously jumped, leaving me with fees that literally amount to daylight robbery. On several occasions I have even refused to pay the amount shown on the meter, so blatant was the price inflation). I was able to find one just outside the station, having walked through the scrum of taxi and cycle drivers and hotel touts who usually greet passengers, especially in tourist hot spots such as Hue. When I first arrived in Vietnam, I found it slightly intimidating to walk through the crowd, but those days are long gone, and I simply walked straight through, smiling sweetly and saying “no thank you” to the constant cries of “taxi?”, “cyclo?” and “hotel?”
After the train, I had several hours to wait before my flight, but I decided to go straight to the airport as I had my bag with me, and could not face lugging it around town. The airport, initially busy as a flight was about to leave for Hanoi when I arrived soon quietened to the extent that at one point I was the only person in the terminal. I was able to watch a movie and read my book, whilst patiently waiting for the flight. At , a busload of tourists arrived and they opened the check-in counters. Everything went smoothly, and at it looked like we were going to take off on-time and there was an outside chance that our flight might even arrive early. I should have known it was too good to be true. Ten minutes before the flight was meant to depart, a voice came over the loud speaker, informing passengers that, due to the bad weather the flight had been delayed and a departure time would be announced shortly (which weather they were referring to, I was not sure as although it was slightly windy in Hue, and the sky was an ominous shade of grey, there was no rain, and although not an expert, the weather did not seem that bad).
Two and a half hours later, we are still waiting for the departure time, although we have now been told that it is the weather in Hue that is holding us up (I spoke to my god father in Ho Chi Minh City and he told me that they had had storms there, so for a little while I did wonder if the plane had been delayed there on its way to Hue). The plane is still not on the runway, and the airline has started to serve drinks (I am never sure if this is a good sign or not. Is it simply a gesture from, or a way of preparing people for more waiting to come?) Passengers on the next flight out of Hue have started to arrive and the departure lounge is really filling up, although it is strange, every time there is an announcement, everyone falls silent, straining to hear that elusive time of departure. There is still no rain, and the wind has not picked up, although it is getting dark. As much as I was not looking forward to the long wait in Ho Chi Minh City before my flight tomorrow morning at , I am now rather glad that I have the time. Otherwise, I may just be panicking right about now.