I always learn new things when I travel. I see and eat things and have experiences I wouldn’t have at home. Overall it’s a good thing. However there are a few things I wished I knew before and will hopefully remember next time.
- An empty plastic water bottle is your best friend. You can re-fill that bad boy as often as needed for free from airport water fountains and save a buttload of money on bottled water. Also empty it, chug that precious water before going through customs or security.
- Bring favorite packaged food, for yourself and as a gift from foreign parts. This obviously applies internationally but regionally too. My brother-in-law brought a ton of Ale8 home to OK from KY. I wished I had brought protein bars and Diet Sprite to Saigon. Put chips, a muffin or anything non-liquid in your carryon, you will be glad you did.
- Consider using a backpack for your caŕryon. Not only can you stuff a lot into it but use it once you arrive at your destination. I used mine when souvenir shopping, sightseeing and just getting around, made my life easier.Best $3 I spent, bought on sale at Wal-Mart
- Wear comfortable clothes, especially comfortable shoes that come off and on easily. Important for domestic security (international didn’t care ). If you don’t have stinky sweaty feet you might slip off the shoes during a long butt numbing flight, as long as you put them on when you leave your seat.
- Neck pillow. You may look goofy wearing it through the airport ( I know I did) but it’s worth it, especially on long butt numbing flight. Coopmart, 99,000 VND, about $4.35 USD, best souvenir ever
- Backup earbuds/headphones for phone, laptop or tablet.
- Uber app, just in case. Cheaper than cabs.
- Depending on airline, a sturdy taped up box can qualify as luggage and be checked as baggage. As long as your name and address are on it in big, easy to read letters it’s probably a go. If I go back to Saigon I am so doing this.
- Thank everybody you meet or encounter along the way. A lot of people are jerks when they travel and good service often goes unappreciated so be nice.
I spent an extra day and uncomfortable night at Inchon airport in Seoul because I missed my connection to home. I ‘m still wired, on Saigon time so here are some pictures. My sister Kandi picked me up at the airport and I gave her some highlights. More highlights below
I got hooked watching this, it’s really commercials for designer clothes but has some great, off the wall “what the heck did I watch?” moments.
click on “fashion films”
The dreaded black egg. It takes 4 months to do this, it’s a delicacy. It tastes like a gummy egg, but I didn’t go for seconds
This was my room, the first night. Upgrade
My real room. Ptetty good, it had a mini fridge
From breakfast buffet
Good but no syrup
What I really came for
Tiger and Bear, Korean version
I think that’s spam but don’t quote me
Don’t know what it says but looks impressive Inchon airport
Book store, that says it all. Unfortunately no English language books
Welcome home, cart rental $4. Free at every other airport I’ve seen but in OKC? Nooo. I schlepped my bags instead
I came to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for my son’s wedding. It’s been worth it. I listened to my Wings lose to the Rangers, with ice cream flavored oreos in a nice hotel room instead of at home with plain oreos.
Traveling was rough, no matter how well planned when there’s a 13 hr nonstop flight in the mix. I have a flat Indian butt, like the Princess in Princess and the Pea, I can feel it no matter what. I squirmed and shifted in my seat over several countries and the International date line. It took me nearly 2 days to adjust to the time difference, climate and the idea my child was going to be somebody’s husband.
There was a lot going on, manoeuvring not just me but his 3 friends from OK. 2 of them have never traveled outside the US and none of us speak Vietnamese. When he took us out for bun bo hue (like pho) we recreated the cover of the Abbey Road album, all in line following Bear across the streets. He looked like a mama duck with 4 confused and slightly terrified baby ducks behind.
Tokyo Narita airport
Saigon jewelry store, took this before security told me I couldn’t take pictures
Indoor market stalls.
Oanh told me Bear got his hair cut here, blue sign with gold scissors.
The church Nha Tho Nguyen Duy Kang
Some of Bear’s friends, including the Oklahoma Three
On the road to the bride’s village
Food was good
Views from rooftop cafe and from my balcony
I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again.
I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex.
I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.
I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section.
Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.
My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.
Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos.
There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet.
Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB.