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Ah, So

September 8, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

We made it back to MP’s mothers bedside 24 hours before she passed away and the funeral was on Thursday.  We had no indication that the end was nigh when we left and they only diagnosed liver cancer early in the week and she went downhill quickly.

The sequence of events and timing to get home was amazing.  We were in Siem Reip and had just finished our Cambodian leg of the trip and were just about to go to the airport for the 2 hour flight north to Luang Prabang in Laos when the email came from MP’s sister who had just hurried back from Paris that their mother only had days to live.

Vietnam Airlines have one rep at the small Siem Reip airport and we just struck him coming back from lunch.  It was now 12:45pm and he said he could get us on the only plane for the day going to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) at 1:30pm where we could get our flight to Melbourne.  Flights from Saigon to Melbourne don’t go everyday but our luck was in.

We had to fork out $1500 in cash for new air tickets, and after trying three faulty ATM’s, he took us through a secure door to a Currency Exchange booth where they were happy to give us the money on a Visa advance. 

We had 20 minutes to go for the flight and he raced away and came back 10 minutes later with boarding passes all the way to Melbourne.  This guy seemed to have some serious clout as he priority checked our bags through and got us to the head of security where they just hurried us through with barely a check.  He got us to the gate and bid us farewell and the plane, a spanking new Airbus A321, was parked right outside the door.  We sat down, wiped our brows and the practically empty plane was roaring down the runway. 

We landed in Saigon 40 minutes later, and as we had boarding passes for the next leg home, there wasn’t much point in checking in at the transfer desk but for some reason I did.  The lass saw we had a 6 hour wait and said, “Ah, so, you have long wait so I give you voucher for city tour”.  Then I remembered that our Vietnam visa didn’t start for another 3 days so she said, “Ah, so, that is no good.  You have long wait at airport so I give you vouchers for restaurant tonight”. 

If anyone ever bags Vietnam Airlines, they will be accountable to me. 

Fortunately, Saigon Airport has come a long way from the tin shed 15 years ago so it was a lot more comfortable place to wile away the time.  The plane was an old clapped out Airbus A330 and the food matched and was a far cry from the trip over, but what the heck, we were in that magical silver tube that can whisk you away anywhere on the globe and 9 hours later we were on home soil.

The lights were still on green because we exited the Melbourne terminal and I rang the off-site airport parking company to get picked up to collect our car when they told me to go to Bus Stop 2.  One minute later, the shuttle bus rolled up!  Seems he had just done a drop off so the planets were all lined up.

Two and half hours later, MP was at her mother’s bedside.

More on the trip and photos later.

  1. September 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    The planets certainly were aligned! My sincere condolences to MP,that must have been a terrible shock!

    She wasn’t in the best of health but the rapid decline was unexpected.

  2. june in florida
    September 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Angels were helping, major airlines should take note on how to treat passengers. My condolences and and a hug to MP and you.

    Thanks June and will pass on your respects.

  3. AZ
    September 9, 2012 at 4:31 am

    I’m glad that MP made it home in time for a final farewell; my condolences to MP, you, and your sister and brother, and extended family members.

    Thank you, Lola.

  4. September 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Wow! That’s an amazing trip and not one you’re ever likely to forget! If you PLANNED that – it would have never come off as smoothly. I’m so glad you were back in time. 🙂

    It was planned! All in about 30 seconds!

  5. MM
    September 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    So sorry for the reasons for having to cut your trip short, but always good to have you home xx

    Ah, shucks. Thanks.

  6. Ian
    September 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Sad reason to come home to but it sure makes you appreciate Vietnam Airlines. We have travelled with them a few times recently and I won’t hear a bad word… our own airlines could take a lesson or two. They bang on about economies of scale but, as you found, plenty of Vietnamese flights are sparsely occupied.

    Trust all is well otherwise… we’re off on a long planned trip back to the US and it will be sad indeed to arrive in California without the prospect of catching up with Wil.

    Cheers, Ian

    The highest the dollar got on our three trips to the USA was 58 cents. Enjoy the parity plus!

  7. MM
    September 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Looking forward to the next post about the trip and seeing some photos. In the meantime, new post on my blog 🙂

    Ok, coming up.

  8. Anonymous
    January 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Hi, Just read the news, sorry for the event,
    sending good thoughts and happy journeys your way.

    • Anonymous
      January 27, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      From Dennis & Terry (Colorado)

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