Thursday, January 24, 2008

"What's up" from Hanoi!

We left Saigon this afternoon after spending the morning packing all of our junk up again--it took hours, again--and now we are in Hanoi, the capital city in the north of Vietnam. We had a little drama, after finding out the van didn't unload our carry-on bag that has all of our paperwork that we were told to bring and have shclepped halfway across the world and drove off with it!!! I almost had a coronary. Quoc says he doesn't think we need it, but I didn't care--that paperwork has been my life for the last 20 months, and anyone who got hold of it could probably assume our lives!! Crisis averted, though--they found it and the guy brought it, and another family's bag who was also left on the van as well, back on a scooter (of course) after some phone calls from Quoc. Whew--nothing like a little scare! We have kept a close eye on it, believe me, it was just some last minute shuffling to get people on the van, and it got stowed at the last minute--won't let that happen again, however that is probably the last time on this trip that all six families and all of their luggage will be loaded up at the same time. We are an unusually larger group than they are used to dealing with on these trips and we are quite the circus!

So far it seems really different than Saigon....much cooler,which is nice, and from what we saw on the way in from the airport, I think we are all in agreement that it just looks like a beautiful city. Saigon was interesting, but it was much more chaotic and crowded and while there were beautiful areas and the people were so nice and helpful, the city view we experienced does not compare to what we have seen in one drive through Hanoi. We have heard the attitude can be different here, and not quite as inviting, so we will see........we have our interview at the embassy tomorrow afternoon and Quoc says we should have visas by Monday! I will post more picures and update about the interview tomorrow--haven't really unpacked everything yet here and I am bushed! Gotta sleep some while the little munchkin drama queen is asleep--ordered room service again here tonight--
By the way, We went to the best vegetarian restaurant at one of the Buddhist temples down the street from our hotel last night with Dianne, Joe and their little Ben. Probably the best food we have had so far. (Em, Dianne said we will get you the name and address!--she has it written down--all I can remember is Viet Cay) We just let the waiter suggest things and we all tried everything. Very yummy! The temple was so peaceful, which was surprising since it opens up to a four lane road with honking traffic and neon. I wish I could have gotten pictures, but it was too dark and using the flash would not have done it justice anyway. The juxtaposition of things in Saigon is so interesting--there is definitely a melding of all kinds of culture. I am curious to see more of Hanoi in the light of day and close up--more tomorrow! I promise more pics too when I can get them downloaded....We are staying at the Horison, which is very nice, but we have to Pay for internet!! Bummer, man!

Also--Thanks for all your comments! I can't reply to everyone, but it is great to see all the support while we are on our journey! Thanks also to all of you back home keeping our fur-balls and keeping things in line! We just couldn't have done this without you and your support! Can't wait for you to meet our little Drama Queen! It has been confirmed, she is the loudest of all 6 of the babies here. Yay, us! :)

Love and hugs from Hanoi!


Cindi said...

This sounds like a very eventful trip.......I would have had a heart attack right along with you about the paperwork. Sorry she's the loudest but just think, maybe she's practicing to be a cheerleader later on in life. :) We were up twice last night and I feel old today. Can't wait until you get home.....Cindi

Terry said...

Our sweet little Buttercup has the loudest mouth? I don't believe it!!! Getting the visas by Monday mean you should be home soon??? I hope so. I'm getting ansy to hold my granddaughter and to see her mommy and daddy again.

Be safe. Love you.

Mom and Terry

Maddison, Bijou, & Bailey said...

We are being so well cared for back here in The States. Our watcher plays with us every nights and gives us treats to boot--Bijou gets a few less than the others...and Miss Bailey gets them if she chooses to come out from underneath the bed ever. We miss you and can't wait for you to come back so we can mew at the new baby in the house; we've heard she's precious!

Emily said...

haa.. i love it that M is the screamer. and, seriously, the thought of you with the van speeding off with your dossier..OMG:)

the veg place sounds awesome!
cannot wait!

Dad & Debbie said...

Well, it is always an adventure with you guys! We can just imagine the look on both of your faces when you realized the van just drove off with all of your life information!!! I would have probably thrown up.

As for the screaming.... maybe "Miss M" is just getting this out of her system so the plane ride to the US will be peaceful but then again....

Maybe that wasn't "Miss M" screaming afterall but you guys when you saw the van drive off.

Hurry home!

Dad & Debbie

Jenny said...

ahhh a screamer! Gotta love that.
our girls were screamers in hanoi as well. Enjoy and when you go to the opera house think of us staying at the hilton for 1 month!!! go to cafe moca and meditarenio and buy art!!! enjoy.

We can't wait to meet little M. CAN'T WAIT!!!
love-Jenny, Cams and Mimi

Mimi said...

I know how you had bonded with your "papers" and how you stress--hope you were able to hold it together until they reached your palms again! Hopefully some rest and exploring time for you all while waiting for the travel documents.

We are getting very excited about your arrival home and to finally get to see the little princess we have loved and longed to meet, you know, the loud one!

Had my retirement reception today and Terry announced to the group that the two of you were not there because you all were in Vietnam to bring your daughter Marin home. I thought the cheers and clapping would never stop...made me very weepy! Miss you guys!

Take care, be safe, and hang on to those papers!!!

Love, Mom and PJ

Chad said...

Wow, a Screamer and a Drama Queen! It sounds like you two are already rubbing off on lil' Marin. You guys are having quite an adventure. Too bad the Drama Queen won't get to fully appreciate all the sights, sounds and "quirks" of Vietnam. You'll have to take her back when she gets a little older! Here's to getting the family home safely (and quietly). We'll want a full account as soon as you get back!

Chad & Becki

Jen said...

Hi! I just hopped over from the message boards to check on you! It's great to see your trip is going well. All the best! Jen Pollock

Pamela said...

What wonderful stories to tell your "drama queen" when she is older!

Baby M sounds like my kind of girl~
LOL !! A drama queen and loud too?
Reminds me of someone else I know!! :)

So excited to see that you will be making your way home soon. Love to you all!


karra said...

Drama Queen huh? Sounds like we'll get along great! Kayli is so ready to meet her. Ayla is doing great and fits right in at the Hill household.
Can't wait to see ya'll. The pics are fabulous!!
Hugs and Kisses,
Karra, Rick and Kayli