Keen to check in early and ditch my cumbersome baggage I rock up at the check in desk and am immediately asked for my Vietnam visa documents, which of course I do not have. I soon discover that these are only available from Vietnamese embassies or via an online process that takes two days. Bugger doesn’t quite cover it!
I should have investigated such things I suppose but after having been warned of the visa requirements of other countries when buying my round the world ticket if they were required, I incorrectly assumed that sorting one would be possible upon arrival in Vietnam like most of the other countries I have visited.
The upshot of this lack of key information in my planning was an extremely manic three hour period which entailed international calls, texts and emails, payments to an agency in Vietnam and a bloke screaming around Hanoi on a moped on my behalf (in a very unlike Jeremy Clarkson way) trying to get the necessary documentation together on the slim chance of getting it all done in time for me to board my flight.
Throughout my life I have repeatedly told bosses, family, etc that I don’t mean to be such a walking disaster zone with regard punctuality, but that in fact I am blessed with a talent for chaos in this field which has meant that I have missed planed, trains, boats, etc when really there shouldn’t have been any likelihood of me doing so.
On this occasion I feel that because I managed to get this document sent to me from Vietnam and printed off in Hong Kong in under two and a half hours I deserve a medal. That it was achieved communicating with people more familiar with two languages that are not my own is bordering on a miracle!
I run through the airport and get on board the flight with little more than seconds to spare. However all of this nonsense then means I arrive in Hanoi a couple of hours later not having had any opportunity to book a room or even know where I should be going upon arrival. I have no choice but to sit on my bags on the floor of the airport whilst speed reading my guide book and trying to factor in the arrangements for a wedding I am attending here next week. I manage to get a room and a cab to take me there, but by the time I arrive you could certainly argue my fuse has been a tad burnt down by the days events. I needed a beer…