Preparation

gone back

Leaving in an hour or so. I think I'm packed, but I'm sure I've forgotten something. I just added a feed from my brother's new travel blog, kind of like a sister site - but brother? Nevermind. Anyway, him and Roxi are doing their thing over there, but it's a very ugly blog, so prepare your eyes for BLACK! If you wanna just go there on your own link-clicking merit then make your mouse button useful.

I know it's going to be hot in Hanoi, but it's so cold here right now that I can't imagine not taking something with long sleeves. I'm going to strip off the instant we leave the airport. My afro is going to boing into existence after a whole year of having manageable hair. I was going to cut it, but forgot - at least I shaved. Even my sideburns are gone.

Bec, I want you to email me between 500 and 1000 words of prose every day. Any more and I won't have time to read it (hour blocks you know). Anyway, I'll update from Hanoi tomorrow.

Leaving the Nest

Ah, shit. Claire is at it again. No time to even post an 'I'm off' blog. Packing an entire house of hoarding into a few flimsy boxes, I (bec) ask her how she plans to disappear it all before her flight in 24 hours. 'aw . . . my parents will do that'. Ah Claire. Stick around sai-gone and wait for some words of wisdom from Bangkok, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Bangkok, London and Manchester, as our little girl grows up in football kicking, warm-beer drinking, bed-linen manufactring capital of the world.

Tạm Biệt!

Look at that title! Accents and everything! I'm hoping that means goodbye, as that's what I'm trying to say. I'm having trouble prying myself away from my computer - i have to wake up in four hours - so I must remind myself that they do have the internet in Vietnam. That lovely resource, we'll be relying on it heavily. To check train times and such. Isn't Earth wonderful!?

So what to say other than holy crap I know i've forgotten something!

- Bec

Flight 134

My alarm is set for 4am tomorrow. Right now we are finishing up the blog's design, it's looking kind of alright, but blogger is having some problems. I should really be getting some sleep. This time tomorrow we'll be in Ho Chi Minh, in a guesthouse, boggling at the sheer craziness of being in a completely different country to the one I've spent my whole life in so far. Yes, it will be weird. None of us speak a word of Vietnamese, so hopefully there'll be enough people that speak English a little bit, otherwise we'll be pointing to our phrasebook a lot.

We've now got a new point on our itinerary. Peter has given us a letter to pass on to his uncle in HCMC, which means we'll be meeting some of his relatives, and I guess they're my relatives too... I'm not sure what that is, second or third cousins? Who knows family tree stuff? Anyway, that will be interesting to see if we'll be able to navigate our way to them succesfully.

It's hard to prepare for what I'm going to wear tomorrow. It's going to be effing cold when I wake up at 4am, absolutely freezing - but I have to dress lightly as it's going to be in the low 30's (celsius) when we arrive in HCMC. It's going to take a while for me to adjust to monsoon type weather (hot, humid and very wet).

Bye, see you all in a month.

- Paul

sleep is for chumps!

Holy crap. I just stayed up all night for the Pulp Faction 24 Hour comic competition. I managed to finish an 8 page comic... available here, or go to pulpfaction forums and sign up to view my working thread. Well, it's a shitty one anyway. Now I am delirious, but I can't go to bed. I have to go to the shops before I can go to sleep. Agggh! And I didn't do any cleaning!

DEETcore 2006

It must be the festive season in repellantville! I stumbled apon (and purchased) an insect repellent containing 80% of the mysterious chemical 'DEET'. Super heavy duty stuff! Together with our 'permethrin' impregnated attire and 'RID' drenched bodies, just a passing waft will be enough to wipe out a whole insect eco-system.

The first annual Permethrin festival

So begins the task of cleaning the house so it can be left in a reasonable state, and attempting to weasel out of my last shift at work to create just a little more preparation time. It doesn't help that I slept insanely late today. I'm just looking at it as premature jetlag. In fact, I'll probably already be in sync with the clocks over there.
This weekend we're going to hold the first annual Mass-Permethrin festival in which we get all the clothing that we're taking with us and wash it in poison. This will kill any mosquitos that land on us. As well as that we've got non-scented deoderant and copious ammounts of tropical strength repellant with that mysterious ingredient 'DEET' that I know nothing about, but apparently we need it.
I just realised that I'm not going to be with my music collection for a whole month, I won't have a DVD player to watch, and my PC is going to be collecting dust. This country better be rich in culture, because I'm going to need plenty of distractions to keep me occupied without my 'media'. At least I can bring a couple of books for the long train rides and I'll get a big ol' sketch book. I've also managed to procure a video camera for the duration of the trip. Bec has her Digital SLR too. We'll basically be recording the entire trip in every possible way, which is going to take up a lot of time. So I guess it's a good thing that I won't be able to waste hours on the internet, or playing Half Life 2.
One thing is certain though. By the time we return, I'm going to be in total withdrawl mode and I may go crazy once I get my computer back.

- Paul

What's goin on?

Viet ... what? ... oh yeah, we are jetting off on our four week asian extravaganza. There isn't much I can say for the minute as my main priority is my inability to execute a 3D render in illustrator without crashing my obsolete excuse for a computer. It is indeed folio prep time for us budding TAFE artistic types and nothing can break the concentration. (except for the prospect of being seated in restricted economy ... restricted? ... restriction! ... eek!) So with dye-stained hands I shall bid you farewell, for now.

shit i'm going to Vietnam in 5 days!!!

-Claire

Class S

Dear Family,

They call it restricted economy. What the hell does that mean? I imagine there will be ropes and reef knots involved, so that we can't leave our seats. The seats right next to toilets, or the ones whose leg room is taken up by the coat cupboard, and you have to rest your head on your knees in order to sleep.

But don't knock it, it's cheep! We're looking at a nine and a half hour flight, then an all too short transit in Hong Kong - that's China, right? - then a two and a half hour flight, then a car ride. We don't know how long the drive will take, but it will cost $10US.

I organised said car ride with our humble guesthouse, whom I emailed yesterday to confirm our reservations - 3 persons room 3 nights. I wrote this email in my best English, with all the polite frills. They have yet to reply.

- Bec

Preliminaries

Dear family,

In about a week the three of us, Bec, Claire, and I will be leaving on a jetplane to visit Vietnam for one month. Bec is already panicking, and preparing for anything that might go wrong and I respond by acting as though everything will work out fine no matter what we do. I can only assume Claire is coping in her own way.
This will be my first time off the mainland of Australia unless you count wading out into the water about 100 metres. So yes, I'm nervous, but I don't think it will really hit me how exciting this all is until we're sitting in our class S seats ascending into the sky.

So I created the blog, mostly to give me an excuse to write again, but also to replace any emails or postcards I was going to send. I'm going to try to post something every day, from now until we return, at least. Hopefully the others will join in and make this a success. Of course, I'm not sure how many internet cafes there are in Vietnam so there may be delays, but I'll always have a pencil and some paper with me, so dear family, check back regularly.

-Paul