Monday, July 07, 2008


We arrived in sunny seaside Nha Trang shortly before nine this morning. I do not know why our itineraries start so early lately. Ever since Việt Nam become part of the equation, whether traveling to here, from here, or even around within these national borders, every time we've boarded a plane I've had to wake up before dawn. Well now: we did have an afternoon flight home from Hà Nội back in January. This morning's flight was the second-latest, however: our flight took off around eight am; we left the house around six thirty. If that sounds like complaining let me undo it really fast: I love flying Vietnam Airlines almost as much as I like flying Royal Thai Air. Check-in is so swift and easy that I barely know it's happening to me (I'm still asleep). I never have to take off any clothes at the security check. Flight updates are broadcast bilingually, the English announcements seemingly recorded by a very prim-sounding Australian woman aping a posh Londoner. This morning, those announcements were broadcast too loudly for any conversation to happen during the thirty minutes we waited in the concourse. During the subsequent thirty-one minute flight, I was not only served a drink, but that drink was refilled. I cannot even imagine this happening on a US carrier. Shortly after, we were banking rather harshly out over the South China Sea before being delivered into the unbelievably small Cam Ranh Airport, about forty minutes south of Nha Trang.* The airport is so small that the luggage carousel takes up the whole disembarking lounge. People waiting for luggage pretty much wait outside. The airport in Imperial Huế was so small the departing gate was listed as "back door" on our printed tickets, but this one is even smaller. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

* National flights no longer use the small airport right off the bay in downtown Nha Trang, operating instead from the small hamlet of Cam Ranh, twenty-odd miles south, where the US built a larger military airbase to serve an important Navy dock during the Vietnam War. This is an annoyance, having to drive about forty more minutes after touching down. Looking over the satellite images of town today, I felt a little cheated that there was another airport so close by (which is also, I gather, a US construction leftover from the war). Sunshine and I conjectured that these downtown runways were part of a military base now, but so far I can find no evidence of that and the one small jet Sunshine has seen landing there was a pretty inconclusive datum.

Saturday, July 12, 2008 4:42:00 PM  

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