My flight to Hanoi from Hong Kong was delayed, which gave me time to change all of my USD and HKD for VND (Vietnamese Dong). Eventually though we all shuffled onto a small plane where I fell asleep instantly, waking up only to be fed the worst in-flight meal I have ever had. Like, it was really bad. Fast-forward to 30 minutes after my plane landed and I was the last remaining passenger watching an empty baggage claim carousel circulate. My bag (the one that we had paid so much money to get onto the flight to Chicago) never arrived in Vietnam. I spent the following 30 minutes trying to break down the language barrier that separated me from the poor souls working at the ‘lost baggage’ counter. It didn’t help things that I mysteriously had 2 baggage claim tickets for the same bag. But eventually I felt satisfied that they had clearly understood my information so I left.
I walked out of baggage claim to a tiny, exasperated Asian woman holding a sign over her face that said ‘Mr. Peter.’ She had been waiting for me for 2 hours because my flight was delayed and my bags had been misplaced. We took a crowded, hot, stagnant bus an hour from the airport into the city. Hot air rushed past my face as I looked out the window, watching an alien world pass by and wondering what I had gotten myself into. Eventually we reached the office of my employer where I was deposited into a classroom that was empty but for a hard mattress in the corner. At least there was an air-conditioner. I turned it on and fell asleep. I was to begin teaching full-time the next morning.
So here I am, luggage-less and alone. The next things I need to do (other than recovering my luggage) are as follows:
- Get an apartment
- Get a motorbike
- Open a bank account