A Travellerspoint blog

Friday, June 6, 2008

Exit Manila, Enter Saigon

all seasons in one day
View Southeast Asia on kmpossible's travel map.

Ok ok, so let me just say, Manila airport isn’t THAT bad…just on arrival there’s no air-con, upon departure, there IS air-con. There seems to be a strange trail of paper we’re leaving behind us here…everyone likes to give you a bit of paper to sign – for instance when we got a couple towels near the pool at our hotel in Manila, the attendant gave me a receipt saying that I had two towels. So I signed it and he was happy…seems a bit unnecessary when they have the room number, but whatever.

So we left Manila airport at about 11pm on Cebu Pacific airlines – which must be the worst airline EVER. Upon first inspection, it looks and feels just like any other airplane, except the fact that it was colder than a meat locker (mmmmmm….meat!). When you sit down, you start to notice little things, like the exit signs that are just a little too brightly lit, and the arm rests don’t have the requisite channel change and volume buttons…there’s nothing there! Luckily, we thought, the seats do recline – no small feat of engineering for seats that are literally 12 inches apart front to back. Taking off on our 3 hour flight to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), we realize that our particular seats DO NOT recline. Oh well I thought, until the people in front of me reclined, putting my nose securely on the back of their seat. Hummph! Grrrr! Well, at least I can’t fall forward in the event of a “water landing”. I wonder if they really DO have the oxygen masks and floaty seat cushions, or if it’s all for show.

I somehow manage to sleep fitfully, waking up every 10 or 15 seconds saying audibly “Aaaaaoooooooooow(ch)” and then nodding off again.

Did I mention that we’re actually having a good time??? No really, it’s great, just some things – most things - aren’t exactly how I pictured them.

Arriving in Saigon was a treat. The airport is expansive and shiny, very clean, and immigration and customs were a breeze - possibly because it was 1am. Our bags came, once again, faster than they do at SFO. We were met by a boisterous man with a sign bearing my name, who prompted us into a taxi...our kite bags were put into a SUV type car, and we were taken separately in another car, which scared me a bit. My fear wasn't squashed when Mike said "That's probably the last time we see those bags." I didn't realize he was kidding, and went into panic mode until our car caught up with the other taxi containing our bags.

We stayed that night and the following night at Madame Cuc's in Saigon. We arrived very early in the morning, so the gates were locked in front of the hotel, and a very sleepy girl opened them for us. We stood there in the dark just inside the doors trying to figure out what she was saying (turns out it was "passport"). She was gesturing to us, but as it was so dark, we couldn't see what she was doing...it was very frustrating for all, since we were all tired. We finally got the passports out, which they hold at the front desk in a safe until you check out, and more importantly, pay. The hotel was very shiny and clean, and that was comforting. Following the empty-handed girl, we lugged our 50lb kite bags plus our backpacks up what seemed like 5000 flights of stairs, the lower floors having shallow steps. Each floor the stairs got steeper and steeper, which didn't make the climb any easier, and on no sleep and little food. Check out the photo, can you see the bottom floor? This photo was taken from the floor below us, so we were even further up:

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Finally, we got some sleep after turning on the air conditioning...ahhhhh.

Posted by kmpossible 21:51 Archived in Vietnam Tagged air_travel

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Comments

Ahhhh..... HCMC!!! Hey, look on the bright side.... at least there was AC, right? It could, I suppose, be a lot worse...!!!

Please keep telling me your adventures! I love reading them.

P

by phantastic

hehe sounds like you're having a good time. I saw the pictures and they're awesome.

miss yah.

by xcoldsunx

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