Day Of Departure
We have to be at the airport by 1130am. To my astonishment, Dan has agreed to the two youngest playing for their school netball teams’ final game this morning at Pinehurst school which is about 20mins away from where we live.
He needs to be at the courts with the girls by 815am……I just can’t believe he thinks this is manageable…..but maybe nothing should be shocking to me at this point,
I still have my usual washing to contend with, and this week we’ve had dismal weather. I’ve tried to keep up with it, but its a job that I can never seem to finish. This morning it brings me to my knees, I shed a few tears when I walk into the laundry to find this on the floor
That’s four loads I need to do; I’ll never get through it all.
I wash the essential clothes we’ll need on our return, like school uniforms, and I’ve no choice but to leave a load to come back
We manage to get away on time. We have 3 suitcases to check in and 4 carry on bags, not too bad for a family of 7 I reckon!
Jake takes the opportunity to update us every 2 minutes on how he is feeling. For those of you that know Jake, you will be aware that I am not exaggerating. He is into feelings in a big way.
Turns out he is feeling super anxious, he keeps asking how many people die in plane crashes every year. He keeps repeating a mantra
“Plane rides are not scary, use this time to relax’.
At one stage he whispers in my ear ‘I have a gut feeling this plane is going down’
I confess I physically pushed him away from me, which left him looking hurt and confused.
Dan has used vouchers to get us into the Koru lounge. We enter the lounge and I can feel peoples eyes on us, I can read their minds…
“ugggghh kids! I hope they don’t sit near me”
There’s a buffet, and the kids go straight for the cookies and dessert, I head straight for the beer.
Here’s what you need to know about kids and flying
They DO NOT sit still.
Up down up down, up down
“What does this button do”?
“I’ve spilt my drink”.
‘I need to go to the toilet’.
‘How do you get my seat to go back’?
‘How do I get this movie to play’?
‘I need to get this from my bag’.
‘I want to take my shoes off’.
It’s relentless! To put it into perspective, I’m trying to watch a movie that should take about 2hrs and 10 mins to watch…..it takes me 4 hours to get through it.
Dan has found an empty row of seats away from us and is pretending he doesn’t know us.
I order more beer.
As soon as we can order food and drink from the cabin crew, the kids discover which items are free and start ordering drinks….I have to put a stop to this as they keep needing to get out of their seats to go to the toilet.
At dinner time Pearl tells the air hostess she only wants to eat crocodile meat, but unfortunately for her thats not on the menu. She then gets locked in a toilet and no-one realises she’s missing until a stewardess brings her to me, she’s shaking and sobbing. Apparently she was stuck and screaming for help for quite a while.
When you have headphones on you tend to speak at a louder volume than usual. Every time the kids talk to me they’re yelling at the top of their lungs, which causes me to yell back “SHUT UP!”
Jake’s appointed himself as the seatbelt policeman, If the seatbelt light comes on he’s anxiously checking we’re all belted in, every time the plane bumps a bit Jake exclaims loudly TURBULENCE!!!!
Everyone can hear this, which elicits a few chuckles from surrounding passengers.
We are definitely THAT family.
I order more beer.
We arrive at 1 am NZ time, not one of the kids has slept. When we line up at passport control I thank the good lord that we got our visas before we arrived.
The cracks are starting to show..the kids are super tired.
We exit the airport terminal and our senses are blown away by the sights, smells and sounds of being in a foreign country. It’s bustling, and humid at around 30 degrees.
My children have no shames and are shouting every thought that enters their minds.
‘THIS PLACE STINKS’
‘I’m so hot I feeling like I’m gonna die”!
‘EWWWWWW YUCK did you see that man spit mum”
Dan and I catch each other’s eye. We travelled extensively in our twenties; there’s nothing like the excitement of landing in a foreign country. If only we were twenty again!
We are staying one night in Ho Chi Minh, then catching an early flight up to Hoi An the following morning. Dan has booked us a hotel near the airport, it’s around 1km away.
He wants us to walk the distance. I contemplate walking 1km with tired children in the heat and come to the conclusion that its a bad idea. We catch a taxi, and just as well we did because we would’ve had to navigate our way across a busy main road.
Have you seen how the traffic system works over here? Basically, scooters, vans, trucks and cars point themselves in the direction they need to go, and just go.
To cross the road, we would need to take a blind leap of faith that traffic would stop for us and just walk out. Wilder-beast crossing the crocodile infected Masai Mara river springs to mind.
As our taxi drives up to the entrance of the hotel the kids start whispering to me
‘Where has Dad taken us?’
What has he done’?
‘Is this prison?
I can see how they might think that. Neon signs light up the alleyway, the surrounding apartments are barricaded by barbed wire and steel bars, men are smoking in the hotel reception lobby.
During our travels when we were young and carefree we travelled to Venezuela, Dan booked us into a room in a brothel the night we arrived (It was a legit safe option at the time) I’m reminded of that time now.
The room is small, a street light directly outside lights it up like daylight. The kids need to share a bed. I wear a pair of my bikini bottoms over my head to cover my eyes as I didn’t bring an airline eye patch. I fall blissfully asleep to the sound of the kids fighting about whose feet are touching whose….they stop arguing when I threaten them with sitting downstairs in the lobby with the smokers.
Sometime during the night Izzy climbs into bed beside me and proceeds to kick me in the back until morning.
If I can handle this I can handle anything.
Can’t wait to get to Hoi AN.