Friday 29th August
- 9am: Cab arrives to take me and my very heavy suitcase to St Pancras
- 9.45: Train to Gatwick
- 10.45: Check in with Vietnam Airlines for 13.10 flight to Hanoi, where I'll transfer to a Tokyo flight, due to arrive the next day at Haneda at 3pm Tokyo time (8 hours ahead of the UK).
- 12.10: Due to be given gate number for departure. Departure board changes to "next update 14.00" with no reason given.
- 14.00: No update
- 15.30: Told flight is delayed (no reason given) and we are being put up in the Hilton (really not as grand as it sounds) and they'll phone if we can take off tonight. Otherwise a letter will be put under our bedroom doors telling us what to do next.
- 16.30: Finally get to hotel after fannying about at security and collecting suitcase.
- 17.00: Still queueing to check-in at hotel, who want us all to share rooms.
- 17.30: Get to own room.
Saturday 30th August
- 06.10: Wake up, no letter under door. Call reception who give me a copy of a letter saying the airline is doing all it can to get me to Australia.
- 08.00: Get correct letter which says to check out at 10am and come back to the check in desks at the airport. Try to find a phone number to see what is going on and find Vietnam Airlines's offices are not open at the weekend.
- 10.00: Transferred to Ho Minh Chi (Saigon) flight, due to take off at 13.10. They refuse to book me onto a transfer flight as they cannot guarantee we will land in time to make the connection. They promise this will be sorted out when we get to Vietnam.
- 12.50: Gate number finally given, board plane.
- 14.30: Flight finally takes off.
Sunday 31st August (Vietnam time - 6 hours ahead)
- 05.00: Idiot english guy on plane has drunk too much and vomits 2 rows behind me. Plane smells of vomit and the shoes of the poor woman who was sat next to him are no longer wearable.
- 09.00: Land at Ho Minh Chi. Transfer desk is swamped - half the plane are there and irritable.
- 10.00: Told we are being taken to another hotel as there is no flight until 00.10, and that it is only going to the airport way out of Tokyo, not the central one scheduled. It will get in at 8am on Monday Japan time (2 hours ahead of Vietnam), but it will take me another 2-3 hours to get home.
- 11.30: Finally get to hotel
So here I am. I wasn't expecting to see Vietnam and I don't consider I have really, except some impressive traffic.
It seems like traffic lights are obeyed, but roundabouts are a free for all. No wonder bike helmets are being sold everywhere.
I just really hope the flight tonight does take off when it is supposed to. If it does I'll get back a few hours short of 2 days after I should have done.