On paper it looked easy peasy. The goal was to decamp Saigon, grab a ride to the Saigon airport, fly to Da Nang Airport, grab a ride into Hoi An, check in and be comfortably ensconced, feet up, ready for the start of the Baku Formula 1 Grand Prix on Fox Sports. Of course we all know that paper will sit still for anything.
The Grab ride went off without a hitch, always a first class car with good air conditioning. Upon opening the glass airport doors the vibe was chaos. Screaming toddlers in various stages of despair clogged the aisles and I made a quick prayer to the flying gods that the whole lot of them aren’t going to Da Nang. We were flying Vietnam Airlines and after fighting our way to a departure monitor we found our flight to be one of the few that were still listed as “on time.” With a heavy sigh of relief we had two hours to wait, but first let’s find an area free of mama’s little helpers. Oops! I stood up and several rug rats scampered into my seat.
While having a bit of a nosh, Marce thought she heard something about a flight to Da Nang. Sure enough, checking the departure monitor we found a short delay. In Vietnam there’s no such thing as a short delay, especially on Vietnam Airlines whose speciality seems to be confusion. Whoa, that was a nasty half gainer into a full face plant for the screaming little duffer. Yes the feet you failed to notice were mine. Doesn’t anyone own you? I noticed our gate no longer listed our Da Nang flight. Now he’s pointing Yours Truly out to his mother.
We waited in several long lines only to be kicked out at the last minute and told to wait over there. The monitor over our gate never changed but our circumstances continued to evolve. Now he’s shooting me with a transformer action figure. Frustrated fellow flyers started to ask me what happened to our flight as the delays began to stack up. Squeak squeak squeak, my god the little angel has shoes that light up and squeak with every halting step. Is this necessary?
Our two hour cushion evaporated into deficit and while hope springs eternal I began to make peace with not seeing the Grand Prix. We moved a good distance from what we thought was our gate due to screaming seemingly unsupervised little darlings running roughshod over the airport. A message flashed on the departure screen stating that there may be delays due to the lateness of our plane’s arrival.
Here’s another little screamer but this one is dressed up like a crying lady bug with antenna sticking out of its head. The time continued to slip until we noticed our gate had been changed. Finally our plane arrived and we lined up for a jam-packed nuts-to-butts bus ride out to where they’d parked it. I couldn’t help but check the time every few minutes.
When we landed in Da Nang I think we made it clear to our Grab driver that we were in a hurry to get to Hoi An. The traffic was bad but he did his best, tapping out a more or less constant staccato rhythm with the horn button, but then so was everyone else, which blended into a caucalphony of noise that we’ve learned is the soundtrack of Vietnam.
We did make it for the last half of the Grand Prix. For this weary traveler, Hoi An will have to wait until tomorrow.