Sunday, January 29, 2012

Vietnam Trip (1), The flight and first night (29th Jan 2012)

It all started when i received a visual art dairy and a set of pencils for christmas. It was blank. I was able to create my life. The first thing I drew was "TRAVEL, a doodle dairy for when I am on the road, living out of a bag". I had spent the previous 3 years attachment parenting my son. I had committed to breast feeding on demand, cloth nappies, baby wearing and cosleeping. The attachment was successful. I was happy. I have a secure and loving little boy. He was sensitive like me, and I have also committed to honoring that quality as a positive gift, not something that needs to be changed about him, or something that he "needs to get over". However, taking him with me to the places that I want to explore will mean a massive assault on the senses. How am I going to find a way where he and I and my husband can all be happy?
I came up the brilliant idea of flying direct to Saigon and staying indefinitely in South East Asia whilst my husband stays at home and continues to work. brilliant idea (I say with rolling eyes an a smirk), (because it was not India, where i truly wanted to go), I decided that it would be safer and easier in Asia for some strange  and obscure reason.
I had accidently left my boys shoes back on the front porch of our farm cottage in Australia, the taxi dropped us off 15 minutes walk from our hotel, I had a 18kg backpack and a 16kg boy to carry after a 14 hour transit, I am 41 years old with a bad back from years of standing as a chef. We arrived at our guesthouse to find i had 4 flights of black marble stairs to climb (via brail, because i could not see them too well), and in the alley right outside the guesthouse entrance was a food stall cooking pigs blood and using large amounts of fish sauce, it was hot, crowded, noisy and hectic. I was excited. My boy was...well I dont know actually....
Lucky I still had some cheese sandwiches left from the flight. I was hungry, and the thought of going down all those stairs again with a map and  a sleeping 3 year old in the Ergo (baby carrier) into unknown territory, narrow alleys, dodging motor bikes and with a currency i didnt understand to a food place with no prices was well..not feasible. I had to sleep when toddler sleeps. otherwise he will wake up in a guesthouse room that is most likeley not at all childproofed. I had no husband to help me. It was me, the toddler and a backpack on the 4th floor of a guesthouse in Saigon. Cheese sandwich, cable tv, and a view of another guesthouse that I could almost touch whilst looking out through the grill covered window. Just had to check my money belt was securely straped on, my backpack was locked to a piece of attached furniture, and that all the compartments were locked. I slept with the light on. I put a row of pillows down the side that toddler was sleeping on, and I stared at the ceiling till I woke in the morning.

 Vietnam Airlines has a 9 hour direct flight from Sydney to Saigon. Little messyfish watched movies most of the time. I was extremely anxious about him screaming to get out and generally disturbing people. He was an amazing traveller, and did not inconvenience anybody. He ate some of the noodles and loved the chocolate cake. I brought heaps of food with me from home, but he did not eat any. He refused to go to the toilet until he REALLY needed to go. We were lucky that there were no queues.
I had packed a series of small toys that little messyfish had never seen before. The things that he liked most were when I was "acting out" a character and we were interacting. In hindsight, I would just take one small light stuffed animal for play and an Ipod touch. (I would also take in my checked in bag some wool felt and a small sewing kit to sew animals and add to the collection as we travel).
I had believed that because the toys would be cheap in Asia, we could easily pick them up as needed. What actually happened, was that Little messyfish wanted lots of things, but most of them broke within half an hour of purchase. He refused to leave them behind or give them away, which meant I carried a whole heap of broken plastic toys around and even had to buy a new bag to get them all home!
(About a month into the trip we both agreed that the plastic toys were easily broken and that we should stop buying them. Most of the time he was ok with this....he then had his eye on the very big and heavy rusty farming tools on display along the streets and in the markets...again I tried to explain why we could not have them either....fortunately his love of beads and hair accessories was well nourished in Vietnam as they are aplenty!)

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