Friday, February 19, 2010


See that number right up there? It had me a bit stressed earlier today. I arrived at the airport in Luang Prabang with plenty of time before my 3:10pm flight. I handed over my passport at the check-in desk to get my boarding pass. . .and proceeded to wait for quite a while, not knowing what was going on or what the problem was. One guy called over a second guy and they peered at the computer and looked at my passport, then back to the computer. Still nothing was said to me and I was running through all the possibilities. Visa all in order? Yes. Reservation made? Yes. At the airport on the right day?? Yes, to that one, too. Finally, the second guy turns to me and tells me that my visa is supposed to start on the 20th and today's the 19th.

Wow. I've looked at that visa who knows how many times and every time I saw 02/02/10. I even showed it to others and asked why it was issued on 11/02/10, but the first date of validity is 02/02/10. When I filled out my application, the proposed travel dates I gave were 23/02/10 to 23/03/10, assuming that once I had the visa, my 30 days would start right away, regardless of what date was on the visa. Then when I saw the earlier (as I saw it) date, I figured I was golden.

In fact, there was no problem at all. A Vietnam Airlines rep called immigration in Hanoi and said I was good to go. I half thought that I'd get to Hanoi and be told that I couldn't leave the airport until midnight, but that didn't happen. Immigration simply told me that since I came a day early, I'd have to leave a day earlier than what was on my visa. No problem with that! Whew, disaster averted!

Ah, Hanoi. I know it's awfully early to make a judgment, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna love it here. I haven't been in a city of this size in well over a month, since I was in Bangkok. There's hustle and bustle and lots of shops and amazing food smells. Yay, I'm excited! I was also tipped off to what seems like it's going to be a pretty cool place to hang my hat for a couple of days. A British guy I met in LP the first time I was there told me about Central Backpacker's Hostel. It's right in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and opened less than six months ago, so everything's so clean and new. It's $5/night including free internet, free breakfast, and free beer from 8-10pm. Those are the kinds of tips I can use!


  1. Sounds great! It's pretty cool that they were okay with the visa glitch. Hopefully the free internet is fast so you can get all of your pics uploaded. Love ya!

  2. Can't wait to hear more. Sounds like it's gonna be a fun place.

  3. Free breakfast, internet and beer?! That's the kind of place I want down the street from me. For $5 a night I'd take vacations every week.

  4. that's a lot to offer for only 5 bucks!! so exciting and i love our pictures . . . xoxoxL