You are only lost if you have to ask directions…… with tomtom in Saigon !

At Kuala Lumpur’s ‘Low Cost Carrier Terminal’ … designed to generate air rage, even before you board your flight!
23rd December 2012 Perth to HCMC via KL’s LCCT ….. don’t ya just love the way south east Asians like to use arcronyms ….

Up REALLY early his morning, 2:30 am! As you cannot trust the taxi service in Perth ( Swan Taxi’s, god bless ’em) I had pre-booked a pick-up for 3:30 am! ( we had to be at Perth airport by 4am for our flight at 6am) Our chauffeur driven people mover van turned up precisely on time, to people move Yineka Mou and I, daughter and her boyfriend, and Son and his girlfriend, plus all our luggage…luckily our driver had the foresight to attach a trailer behind, for all the luggage….Son’s Girlfriend (SG) has packed a case the size of a steamer trunk…when quizzed as to the contents, she says she had 8 pairs of shoes….and 3 sweaters…( 3 Sweaters!!!!….we are going to South Vietnam fa-chris-sakes! )

As we were boarding our AirAsia X flight, I realized that the check in girl had stuffed up our seats, and instead of all being together we were split up…and this after paying to choose our seats…Son had real mix up with his seat…someone with same name as his was already sitting in it…they had both been allocated the same seat number….! If that want bad enough, from the moment we sat down, until the moment we landed in KL 5 hours later, the half dozen brats scattered about nearby decided that a screaming competition would be a good idea..to see who could scream the loudest…and longest. I plugged in a set of phone buds to my iPhone, and selected my playlist..’ rolling stones stuff’ …turned up the volume to LOUD, and kept it going until we landed…. But even Jagger couldn’t completely drown out the noise… Are their parents deaf? A bloody good whack outa shut ’em up…( or a dose of Velurgan…look it up) but I believe it’s not allowed these days… ( memo to airlines…ever thought of installing a sound proof cage onboard for screaming or badly behaved kids… if I was making that much noise they’d restrain me… and ban me from flying )

We all had about 2 hours to kill at KL’s LCCT (low cost carrier terminal) …which although obviously designed as a budget terminal, and is pretty awful, is something you are used to if you have arrived from Perth Airport!!!

Though how they have the gall to charge almost $10 for a bottle of Tiger Beer in the bar there beats me..And the Mumm champagne I bought in the Duty Free was $65 a bottle….( in Dan Murphy’s liquor store in Perth I bought it for just $37 duty paid…robbing duty-free ba#%ards ! ) The huge signs scattered about promoting the duty free shops, had the motto ‘ priced to please’ … Obviously priced to please the management, not the customer!!! (actually a good slogan… I could have used that one myself in my DF shop !!!)

In the departure lounge, curiously a good 15 minute walk from the main LCCT terminal, we met up with Brother-in-law and his Girlfriend who had arrive from Penang after 5 nights there….so now there are 8 of us…

flight delayed by 30 minutes but apart from that, a quite uneventful and even enjoyable 90 minute flight to HCMC ( Saigon from now on) airport…no screaming kids…half empty plane so plenty of spare seats to move into…

Saigon airport a really pleasant surprise…modern, clean, efficient…I had doubts about the ‘Visa on Arrival’ business, but US$25 seemed to do the trick…but I’d hate to arrive at the same time as say a new 380 plane…there were only about 30 of us foreigners waiting for the immigration to do the processing, and it still took about a 20 to 25 minutes wait.

Surprise surprise , all our bags arrived safely, and waiting for us at the arrival gate was a smartly dressed young guy from the Hyatt, to escort us to our waiting transport, another Merc people mover, though considerably bigger than the one we had in Perth. I’d read about the traffic in Saigon, but nothing adequately prepares you for the reality of it! O M G ! Disorganized chaos sprang to mind..

When we all disgorged from the van at the Hyatt, some 30 minutes later, we were met by a small army of staff, who immediately took us to our respective rooms, where they completed the formalities….no hanging around a check-in desk at this hotel.

No complaints from Yineka-mou either about the room…or rather, the suite. We’d decided to book a suite for ourselves so that the rest of the gang could use it as a meeting place, for drinks etc. all I can say is it was fantastic…it was a corner suite, with one very large lounge room, with 3 big windows overlooking the square, a large bedroom with a HUGE king-king bed, and two big windows overlooking the square from a different angle, and a spacious bathroom with shower and bath, separate toilet and Jacuzzi.

I think I’m gonna LOVE IT here !

We have 3 nights at the Hyatt, before heading south west to the Mekong Delta , to board the good ship L’Amant for a 3 day Mekong cruise.

Look who we met at the ‘LCCT’…
AirAsia scam

When I made the original booking online, I presumed that all four of our seats would be together. ( Rule one, neverrrrrrrr, everrrr presume! ) When I started online check-in, 3 were together and one (me) was sitting a few rows ahead on the opposite side of plane! The AA website then offered me the choice of selecting my choice of seat for additional $20…. so I took them up on this offer. ( This seems to be the way that AirAsia can generate extra dollars, splitting up families so that you need to pay extra to sit next to your wife/kids/husband etc) When we were boarding the plane I then noticed that my sons seat had been changed, and to the exact one that I had previously been allocated and had changed. When I pointed this out to one of the AA staff, she replied that seats were changed for logistical reasons. ” But I paid $20 extra to change my seat” …. ” yes Sir…and you have the seat you paid for” ….” Yesss…but you have now negated the reason i changed my seat in the first place, which was to be seated together” …. ” Yes Sir…but as i explained ( said in such a condescending way, much like the tone you’d use explaining Unix to a Mac-user!) it is for logistical reasons… if you’d have paid $20 you could have selected his seat so that you would be together…too late now…. have a nice flight…” WTF!!!
The Grand Hyatt Saigon. Arguably, Asia’s BEST hotel….I think so.
Welcome to Saigon…. outside the Opera House
How’d ya like to own a Honda Agency in Saigon?
Son of Uncle Ho? I guess he’ll be marching with the VV on Anzac Day now…
Cruising the Mekong Delta aboard the ‘L’Amant’
Happy Hour on the L’Amant..
Anyone for a ‘piddle’…
The cast of ‘Miss Saigon’ at rehearsal in the Mekong Delta
disembarking at Sa Dec.
In the market at Sa Dec, a small town in the Mekong Delta
Nice haircut eh? In the market at Sa Dec.
Why you no like…is good…is tasty…is rat!
At RAC headquarters, a bloke waits patiently while the mechanic fixes a small problem with his motorbike…
Ahhhh…I got it! A de-lousing service in Sa Dec.
I love this pic…such happy children.
The two policeman don’t look too happy at having their pic taken!
…unlike this lady….who’s really happy….and shows it!
Street Scene in Chao Doc
Street urchin in a temple…
The girl in the temple
getting to school is not easy in the Delta

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