Let the adventure begin! We took off from LAX at 1 am Saturday on China Air. We had a few stressful moments before we even got on the plane. When we went to check in, we discovered that China Air weighs your carry-on. Naturally, all my most important equipment is in that bag – camera, lenses and computer etc Thank goodness I bought a huge tote bag as my purse (to carry all I couldn’t get into my carry-on). It still didn’t get it down to the required 15 pounds but he didn’t say anything more about it.Probably, he didn’t want to deal with me! He wanted to check the bag but I said, “No way”! Later after the TSA check-in I just put the computer back into my carry-on and never had any more problems. He also mentioned that we had to have a visa changing planes in Ho Chi Minh City because he said it was Communist. I knew that wasn’t true. He finally asked his manager and decided we didn’t need one. Needless to say, the beginning of our trip was a bit stressful.
Unfortunately, we did not get the seats I chose on/line and I ended up in a middle seat. Shawn was in the aisle behind me. It was a miserable 13 hours as the seats were very uncomfortable. The guy on the aisle never stood up when I needed to get out so I had to practically crawl over him every time. Finally, we landed in Taipei and made our way to the gate. Because we were so far back in the plane and our schedule was tight , it was a bit worrying about getting to our flight on time. We had to go through security again but made it with time to spare.
After boarding our plane and looking around, we were surprised that the plane was so empty. We asked to move to other seats. Shawn and I each had our own row. The ride was quiet and stress free into Ho Chi Minh City. We had plenty of downtime and transferring in the airport to our next flight was so easy. It was enjoyable walking around and looking at all the Vietnamese stalls of souvenirs. While sitting at our gate, we noticed a young blond girl near us. She didn’t look very well. I started talking to her and she said she was with a college group from North Carolina. She had eaten something bad on the plane and had been sick ever since. Shawn went to buy her some sprite and she said it made her feel better. We felt kind of sorry for her because she was sitting all by herself and the rest of the group seemed to be avoiding her. This was her first trip out of the country.
Our flight to Cambodia was just one hour. We stepped off the plane into searing heat! As soon as we entered the building we had to fill out the paper work for our visas. Next, we had to wait in a long line and then hand over the visa info. with our passports. The officials were very organized. There were about six people all in a row. They took the passports and visa papers and passed them down a line. In the meantime, we walked to the last official and he handed over our passports with the visas inside. Then across the way, we joined a line and this time an official took our passport again and our fingerprints. Then stamped some more papers in our passports. In my line, there was an elderly Vietnamese lady and she couldn’t understand how to do the electronic fingerprints. The official got so frustrated with her that he ended up yelling at her. Then her husband went next and he was fine. Finally, it was my turn. I kept waiting for him to tell me to do the fingerprints as I had my hands hovering over the electronic gadget. He kept his head down and continued stamping paperwork and my passport. To my amazement, he never asked to do my fingerprints! I never could figure out why I didn’t have to do it.
Shawn was happy to report that our luggage had arrived. We headed for the exit and saw the driver holding a card with my name. Den was also there to meet us. He was the company person I had corresponded with. He kept us laughing all the way to the hotel.