Asia Trip Day 1 (and Day 1 Again) – In Transit

Well today is a nail biter. Will my visa come through in time (or can I pick it up in Japan)

My elusive Vietnam Visa

I had applied on Thursday with 2 day processing fee. By Monday morning it had not yet arrived.

Pre COVID you could get a Visa on Arrival (VOA) but COVID changed it like everything else. I should have checked the visa requirements much earlier. This is a problem of my own making.

It was rainy and dreary when I jumped on the Airport bus at 8 am for a 2pm flight. The flight was delayed by 2 hours for maintenance but that still doesn’t help.

Air Canada won’t let me check in without a Vietnamese visa (even if only to Japan). I’m snookered.

The Concierge suggested they could sever the flight and then I could get my visa in Japan and then continue

But the Gate Agents said they couldn’t do it. They told me how to find the rebooking phone and I called the Reservations Department

The agent said to re-do the ticket, he would have to book a last-minute fare at $6,600. We explored alternatives and finally I asked if he could re-book me tomorrow. He was able to re-book me with two stops (Vancouver & Seoul) through to Vietnam.

Now I arrive on the same day (Nov 2) but at 11PM instead of 12:15 AM.

Asia Trip Day 1 – Continued

I e-mailed the hostel and I think I am back on track. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Wash, Rinse Repeat. I woke at 3:30 and showered/ dressed again. Woke Lori at 4:30 and made it to the bus on time.

Checked my phone at 3:30, 4:00, 4:30 and every half hour until 7:00 when my Visa arrived!

I checked in and after 30 minutes being checked and re-checked because of cameras and cables, I made it to the lounge. My friend Brian had provided me with an upgrade so I could have breakfast and relax before the flight.

In the lounge I met a woman on her way to Churchill to see the polar bears. I don’t know her name but I admire her spirit. (And I am envious).

Leg 1 – Toronto to Vancouver

The plane was delayed 45 minutes for “catering and grooming”. That makes our connection in Vancouver pretty tight. Boarding the plane was a zoo with people getting to the gate and THEN looking for their boarding pass/ID.

Pro Tip: Do this while you are waiting in line to avoid irritating me 🤬🤬🤬

Leg Two – Vancouver to Seoul on a 787-9

We finally closed the cabin doors and climbed to cruising altitude. The cabin crew assured me that they would deplane us first and we would make out connection. (Apparently there are 20 people going onto the Seoul flight)

Landed in Vancouver. The in-charge on the flight apparently believes that passengers will not stay in their seats until connecting passengers disembark.

I exited the plane at 12:10 and Air Canada had texted me my next gate. D58 approximately 1 km from the gate that we landed at. At least there were a few more gates (up to D64)that they could have used.

Leg Three – Seoul to Ho Chi Minh

With the Asiana mascot at Incheon Airport in Seoul

They were boarding as I arrived and it was fairly efficient. I had my Passport, Boarding Pass and Visa all in hand surprising the gate agent.

My seat was 45A – the very last row. Apparently it does recline (a bit) and if I am lucky there will be no one in the seat beside me. (Edit – No such luck but at least she is petite). 11 hours and 20 Minutes for this leg.

I was off the flight and went through another security screening (I am always puzzled – I just got off a plane where I had to be screened to get on it. )

Everyone must wear a mask at all times in the airport.

I was directed to the Asiana Desk where they checked my documents and then issued a new boarding pass.

The lounge wouldn’t let me in as I was not Gold status (regardless of the pass 🤷‍♂️). Dinner was in the food court but was really tasty.

Asiana doesn’t much care about partner preferences. I am here in a middle seat of 4 (2-4-2 configurations) despite my preference for Windows.

This flight is 5 hours. I slept most of the flight sitting straight up in my seat. I woke once for the dinner which was a chicken and rice concoction which I left after a few bites.

All in all, not a bad flight but certainly not the space of an Air Canada plane. I need to pay more attention to seat assignments and see if I can get exit rows.

Pro Tip: Exit rows are assigned at the airport by gate agents as they must be sure you are capable of opening the door if asked.

Stopped in the airport to download Google maps and found out that the last shuttle bus to downtown had just left two minutes before. I had to buy $30 cab ride to the hostel. (433,000 Dong). Somehow I think I probably got scammed but at least I am in the hostel and after checking the beds – I am pleased to announce that there are no bugs.

So approximately 24 hours of travel and I am in Vietnam.

Vy Da Backpackers Hostel in Ho Chi Minh City. My room is clean and bug free. Construction across the street might be an issue

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