giovedì 5 giugno 2014

Vietnam P I: Abu Dhabi - Saigon

What a MAGNIFICENT holiday my Vietnam trip was. I could not have wished for a better way to spend 9 days with Louise, some old friends and new ones.

My Etihad chauffeur arrived on time (yes, one of the many perks of travelling business) at 6.15. At the airport I was greeted by Etihad Staff who made my check-in as quick and smooth as possible. 10 minutes later I was having a sumptuous breakfast in the Etihad Lounge. I was so excited to meet Louise that I was smiling to the walls…

In no time it was time to board. I was escorted to my seat and greeted by many smiley Etihad attendants who rushed to take my food order for the flight, not before offering me a glass of Champagne. My business class inexperience transpired as soon as I asked when food would be served. The very professional attendant smiled and replied: “Whenever you like”. I knew I was bound to have the most relaxing and enjoyable flight ever. I could not stop giggling throughout the flight: I was going on holiday with Louise – in Vietnam (let alone the silly pampering on flight): How bloody lucky I am!!

Several glasses of Champagne later, a state-of-the-art dining experience (for god’s sake I had a steak!), a movie and a nap later I arrived at my destination: Saigon (today’s Ho Chi Minh).
My partner in crime was delayed, so I find my way to Matteo’s house (a friend from Genoa/Arenzano who migrated to Vietnam a little over 3 years ago). My timing was off, as he happened to be in Bangkok with his better half for the week-end (bad timing though given the curfew).Matteo and his lovely friends deserve the medal of best hosts of the year. ZE BEST!

Matteo took care of everything: booked our tours, sent me details of how to get to his house, including expected cost of cab. Left me cash, adapters, mosquito repellents, guides, directions for where to eat, drink and party, a basket of fruit, milk in the fridge and his entire house! If it was not for the better sense of Hoang (his adorable neighbour) I would have found flowers too. Thankfully, H. thought that was a bit too much and decided to skip that gallantry (that would have been so much pressure). He was also kind enough to come and check on me soon after I arrived and I felt at home in no time!

A quick shower and I was off to meet Diego, another of Matte’s friends who is from Genoa (yes, we are indeed gente di mare- sea travelers!). Had my first Vietnamese beer, soup, and a nice chat before I go home to meet and greet my bella.

After catching up with Louise on the last 1.5 month in which we hadn't seen each other (although thanks to Whatsapp it was more about the last two week's events) we fell asleep excited for the days ahead!

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