Hoi An, Vietnam – the cutest town that there ever was is perfect for a (probably culturally inappropriate) romantic comedy with a budget big enough to travel. The hallmark of … Continue reading Situations in Vietnam that Would Make Good Meet-Cutes in a Romantic Comedy
“There is no one left on the train” said my father as my mother and I looked up from our game of cards.
We looked at him weirdly and then got out of our cabin to inspect the situation.
Indeed, the train was empty. As if Murder on the Orient Express had just happened en masse, and in the game of “whodunnit” the only suspects would be “Ms Short, and Mr & Mrs Parents.”
Luckily, before we could fully contemplate our fate: Vietnamese prison or endless days walking along a section of track whose GPS coordinates were stubbornly not communicating with Google – two men appeared.
They said something in Vietnamese, obviously we did not understand. They typed it into a version of Google Translate, “must get off the train here, take a bus and then get back on the train.”
“So that’s what all those announcements were” said the imaginary cloud bubbles above our heads.
Our rescuers smiled at us as what was happening dawned on us: either the train had broken down, or, part of the track needed to be fixed after the typhoon last week.
Two seconds later, another English speaking couple (the only other English speaking couple) peered out of their cabin. Our rescuers asked us if we would speak English to them and explain – it was like a giant game of Telephone being played with real telephones – a lot was lost in translation – the couple didn’t want to leave because they had small sleeping children with them.
Eventually, we all made it off the train, rejoined the rest of our fellow night-train travellers, waited for our bus to arrive, got on the bus and then made it to the next train, where luckily, eight hours later, someone knocked on our door and told us to get out – at, luckily, the right stop.
Where do Russians go when they don’t want to escape Russians, but they need a break from Russia? The beachfront town of Nha Trang, Vietnam. Transported by over six hundred … Continue reading “Russians Seeking Sun,” a Title Suggestion for Light Hearted Documentary
After a slight respite, I’m back on The Road. Welcome to Vietnam, a country of 91M people. Current location: Ho Chi Minh City, population, approximately 8M, number of scooters and … Continue reading How to Cross the Street in Asia: A Step by Step Guide
One of modern life’s great moments of anticipation: the luggage carousel, that familiar, “will they, or won’t they?” game your brain plays with you as you wait for your bags. You watch everyone else pluck their intended from the line and move on, to carry on with their lives. Sometimes, you’re one of them – one of the Lucky Ones.
And sometimes, you stand alone, beside nothing, pre-mourning your stuff. An Unlucky One.
Yesterday, I was an Unlucky One. I waited patiently, at a carousel that was unloading two flights. I watched everyone from my flight leave.
Head down in remorse, I went to the Baggage Claim Office.
My luggage, in it’s desire to see the world, had decided not to disembark the plane. It decided to carry on to the next destination.
Customer Service assured that me, if, someone at the next destination read the report she just issued, my bag would get back to me around 10pm. If not, definitely the next day.
“I’m travelling to Sydney tomorrow, if the bag doesn’t make it by then, what happens?”
“We can send it to Sydney, you would just have to pick it up at the airport.”
Okay. She handed me a WhatsApp number and told me they would text me if they heard anything.
Problem was, my bag was a bag without a name. The systems were down in Mulu, so, unable to print luggage tags, they just wrote on the destination (Miri) on a piece of paper, “MYY”. So, my bag was untrackable. It was basically single and ready to mingle.
I, on the other hand, was single and ready for a shower. My brain immediately went to thoughts of “how long will these smelly, dried-sweat filled clothes last – will they make it 24hrs?”, “Will they make it onto the next plane? And if they do, will the people next to me start to complain about holding their nose for eight hours?” Without my luggage I was a stinky-time bomb that no one would want on a plane.
Like most things, you don’t realize what you had, till it’s gone. But, like a good relationship, a break doesn’t necessarily mean a break-up.
At 10pm my bag showed up, looking a little naughty – but hey, what happens in Cargo Hold, stays in Cargo Hold.
*joke courtesy of my father. I’ve spent the last couple of days hiking through rainforest and climbing about some caves – with monks. They had road tripped for two days, … Continue reading Monkeying Around with Some Monks*
Three lucky things happened to me today:
1. I (accidentally) laundered some (luckily) very sturdy money – but not so much that the authorities would notice.
2. While taking clothes out of the dryer, I left behind a sock and a pair of unattractive underwear. When I went back, two hours later – still in the dryer!
3. A very nice anonymous person paid for my (as of yet, not poisoned) dinner.
It’s like I’m Irish.
The question is – what happens next?
“Can I please have the “Back, Shoulders and Neck” massage?
Now, in the US, at a similar establishment, I would be led to a chair, one where you sit facing forwards, head down, back slabbed-out towards its intended opponent.
Here, I was led to a bed.
Then, a man stood on me, then sat on me, then curled me up as though your back is supposed to curl into a semiscircle – as though he were attempting to turn my previously semi-straight back into a croissant – and not a good one, one that you’d find at Dunkin Donuts.
Getting a Thai massage is like getting a lesson in being a contortionist, and instead of getting a “congrats, you are semi-flexible” sticker when you leave, you just get some filtered water to rehydrated your kneaded out, but entirely inflexible body.
Other moves included the “squish your shoulder blades down until your head is buried in a pillow and you can’t breath.” Thoughts at this point included: “Did I put on enough deoderant to not be super embarrassing when the coroner comes to inspect my body and deems it too unfit to have gone through such rigorous exercise?”
In the end, I don’t know if my back is stretched out, so much as it needs to stretch itself over to a chiropractor.
Thai Massages: for people that want to relax on the cheap, but can’t really afford a bottle of wine (here) and then end up getting the wine anyway, to try and loosen everything back up.
“Have you guys ever heard of a volunteer getting mango worms?” Was the sentence I used as I went around asking authoritative-type figures who might know the answer. None of … Continue reading Mango Worms: How to Strike Fear into an Otherwise Semi-Logical Person
You know when you have one of those days with someone when you can imagine being married to them? But not one of those happy marriages, it may start out … Continue reading My (Work) Husband, the (Reluctant?) Saviour