Clouds In The Head

My hands are falling off
24 March, 2014, 7:13 pm
Filed under: travel versus unravel

My hands are falling off. Travelling overseas, it turns out after a ten year hiatus, has changed. Instead of underlining half your Lonely Planet or Rough Guide, then going, and hoping there’s a loose fit when you get there, nowadays you go on the internet three months earlier and you stay there until the flight attendant tells you to turn your computer off, the captain wants to take off.

Photo on 24-03-14 at 8.05 PM

At least I assume that’s what will happen. So much choice. So many questions. Do I even bring my laptop? Do the kids bring their devices (an iPod, an iPod Mini, a phone)? Where did I put my under-shirt passport wallet and will it fit four passports in? Are the folks looking after our house and chickens well enough versed in the strange ways of both species?

We’re only going for four weeks, but what about all the things we meant to do before we left? I was going to restructure a script, help plan the educational program for the new film fest in Dungog, start a blog at the community college, make a short film. I think I’ll do this blog instead. (Hidden agenda: I may be teaching a short course in Blogging Basics just after I get back.)

Do I take the laptop? If I do take my laptop it will be so I can write this, and upload my photos. If I don’t, it will be so I can have peace of mind and a real break while we’re away. Can I do the blog anyway – use my younger son’s iPad Mini and take it from there? Eek, I don’t know the technology. I’m a fogey!!

More questions resound as my fingers type and internet exploration continues. Have I booked the train tickets to Sapa? Is it essential to pre-book transport to Cat Ba? Do I need earplugs? Do I need to pre-book the cooking school at the Red Bridge? How much cash do we need in US dollars and do we let the lads have any of it? Everyone else is bringing shorts but I’m scared of mozzie diseases.


Well, either this blog will briefly be turned over to a short series of articles on how I decided not to do a blog on my holiday – or it will record the journey of my particular family.

Giovanni Guareschi’s family was more fiery (fierier?) but we have our own peccadillos (peccadilli? Are we a peccadilli circus?).

Donna is the relaxed one with the small pharmacy – an expanding pharmacy as any suggestion from anyone has her rushing off to the chemists to expand her dispensary. Someone today said maxi-dosing on vitamin B discouraged mosquitoes. A magic bottle of mega-B just appeared.


The 15-year-old is just going to go along in his unworried way and see what the rest of the world is like. He’s laid back but I suspect that a love of architecture and military history will surface. Oh and he’ll have to find somewhere to store his retainer for nine hours a day.

The 13-year-old who may or may not be taller than me (I’ve refused to be measured for a month) wants to do rock-climbing, kayaking, motorbiking. We haven’t mentioned that trekking is really just a Dutch word for bushwalking, which he’s semi-allergic to. Oh, and that the locals put green-coloured plant materials in many of their dishes.


And me? Well I need a holiday. I need to renew, reinvigorate, relax. Ah, but who is the boss of the timetable, the king of the map, the smith of Cam-An Rak-Ngieu and other travel phrases, the maestro of the next day’s activities? And who is thinking of taking his laptop so he can do a blog on the trip?

Photo on 2-02-14 at 9.55 AMI dunno yet. Possibly me. I’ll tell you when I get there.



2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Mozzies are not a huge problem. B vitamins are a waste of money. Cat Ba is great. Make sure you climb the mountain. Have a great time. Vietnam is a huge delight.

Comment by David Simpson

We’re really looking forward to Cat Ba. Trouble is there’s just too much to do in the Nam!

John & The Gang

Comment by John O'Brien

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