Getting to a place like Vietnam will oftentimes require some length of time in the modern miracle know as the airplane (or a ridiculously long amount of time in a boat, but we’re sticking with the flight for now), and is indeed where our journey begun.
We were up at 3am to brush our teeth, powder our noses and generally just get our shit together… fair enough… I guess. But only because that was the time we were required to be up to get our asses on the plane to Vietnam. Smiley faces all up in this piece. Slightly strained early morning smiles, but smiles nonetheless. I can imagine though, that had we not been leaving for Vietnam, the family may have been sporting the upside down smile of the mostly unhappy person.
My special imagination brain also encouraged me to believe that the sexual union, consensual or otherwise, of the rhinoceros and the pony, along with a handful of sparkle dust, would spawn the baby unicorn.
Back to the ever-elusive point.
As I sit in the departure lounge at the Brisbane airport I watch the people. I find something strangely humorous in watching them scurry by, blurry eyed and walking as though they are still wearing their pajamas and slippers. Week, helpless and disheveled.
Well, I guess it is 4am.
This is a good time to be at an airport. The queues are smaller and the… well, just the smaller queues is what it is about for me.
Now fast forward 12 hours.
I am beginning to resemble one of those zombie people from this morning. I feel like I have been hit about the head with a large stick – one with big knobby bits on it. I know what Tyler Durden was talking about in Fight Club, I start to truly appreciate his pain and it makes me contemplate the thought of hitting people around the head and destroying large buildings too.
The peeps that work at airports must get asked some damn stupid questions by unslept folks like me. It would make them question the human race for sure.
Anyway, we played a game of get on some planes, get off some planes and eventually we land on Vietnamese soil… or tarmac… where we are met by our ride. Which leads me to mention something of the driving I have witnessed so far;
•Every single person I saw driving any kind of vehicle in Hanoi was on the same performance enhancing gear as the last. These guys drive like they all want to be the next big thing to hit the amateur racing circuit, or there are no speed cameras or cops in Vietnam, or possibly a combination of all three… Plus they appear paranoid that there is a car trailing us – the black Toyota three cars back to the left
•If in doubt, use your horn. Also if you are driving through a crowd, use your horn. If you are driving a bus, use your horn. Actually, if whatever it is you are driving has a horn, you need to use it… often. It’s like the scooters and cars are conversing. If Hanoi was a musical the horn would be the soundtrack
•I don’t know if I was maybe just being a bit of a fraidy cat but I have to be honest; I did start to freak just a little bit when the driver put a DVD on… for himself to watch… while driving
•Obeying a red light seems to be more of a concept or guideline than an actual rule/law
•Road rules in general seem to be variable at best, but in the chaos it is possible to find order, systems and some kind of barbecued or fried pork product on every street corner and down every alleyway, so that pretty much makes everything OK.
Now I venture into the unknown. An unknown country, language and culture (except what I’ve seen on food docos). I am rocking the truly ignorant white man styles and hoping my nose will lead the way…