So the conclusion for the Sapa portion of this trip is that it really is a remarkable place that one should see. But today I am writing about just the stuff I have been thinking about for the past 10 days. Many of you know that while in the US I am never mistaken for an American, and in Vietnam I am never mistaken for a Vietnamese! So as I was visiting the old village where the temple in Hanoi was located I could hear people saying out loud in Vietnamese – she must be Korean. I generally just ignore these comments and laugh. It’s always been a part of my Vietnam experience. So I asked one of the foundation staff members, “do you think that if i dressed more like a Vietnamese person, people might think I’m Vietnamese?” he said, “No.”  A few minutes later as we were walking and taking pictures we passed two women who were sweeping the street. One said very loudly, “OH I thought it was two boys, but one of them is a girl!” (mind you I am currently sporting a ponytail! So I said to my companion, “so now I’m neither Vietnamese nor a woman!” He laughed. People have often asked me how often I am “abroad” and my stock answer has been, “Always as I’m never a man!” I guess that’s not true, eh?

So this morning I arrived at the airport directly from my overnight train from Sapa. We are catching a flight to Da Nang where we will spend a few nights in Hoi An. The issues are many. I had booked a flight on Jet Star (the new economy airline from Australia). That flight and my subsequent flight have both been canceled – oh lovely. So I had my husband rebook our flights from his computer in NY for me. Got here and they wanted that credit card to verify the purchase! really? So they were like isn’t this the person you are traveling with? the answer was NO! This white guy I’m traveling with is not my husband. Seeing how I did not take my Irish American husbands name, things were not adding up. So next thing you know I have to go to a separate counter and buy two new tickets for my non spousal companion and myself (and they tell me it will not be a problem to get our already purchsed tickets refunded later – suuuuure). So fine, two new tickets, go back and check in the luggage.

What? what’s the problem now? Can’t check me in? What? My name on my ticket doesn’t match the name on my passport? what’s this? But I just got this ticket from you counter just 30 feet away! They were
responsible for inputting my name! Oh, it’s just missing the middle name? And this isn’t good enough???


Finally the supervisor smiled and checked both of us in.

After everything got checked in I had to go back to the ticket counter and buy another ticket for the other Jet Star leg that got canceled. I decided to tell the woman that the checkin clerk tried to reject the previous ticket that she had issued me because of the name issue; and that although my travel partner’s middle name was missing it wasn’t a problem. So she says, “That’s because most foreigners don’t use their middle name when they buy tickets like these.” I said “so why am I being hassled” she said the same thing. So suddenly I’m vietnamese with my AMERICAN passport?? I just can’t win. Oh the joys of a celebrity travel photographer.


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