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Friday, September 2, 2011

My solo Vietnam voyage

It was with great  excitement  angst that I farewelled #1 Hubby and the sleeping children.  No, really.  I actually felt sick to my stomach as I jumped in a taxi at 5am.  Add to that feeling like I was going to vomit every time I saw a family with small kids at the airport.  I was seriously concerned that I was not going to enjoy the 2 weeks of freedom that I had been so excited about.

I got over it.  Eventually.  But not without regular moments of severe homesickness.  Honestly, I was shocked about how guilty I felt for being there, and how much I missed my kids.  I was quite disgusted in myself, for not recognising and enjoying the 2 weeks free of all responsibility for the one-off opportunity that it was.  Because it is not likely to ever happen again.

Except for the week next year when I go to the Digital Parents conference, that I have told #1 Hubby lasts for a full week.  Ahem.

So here's a quick recap on my all-partying, no-responsibility 2 week Vietnam vacation :

1st attempt at an alcoholic beverage thwarted.  No spirits in my Kuala Lumpur airport hotel.  At all.  Not one single bloody drop of spirits.  Tantrum averted when I remembered the litre of Vodka in my suitcase.

Close-up view of Vietnamese labourer working hard on himself on top of roof next door.  He was quite enthusiastic about it, but kept stopping to check if anyone was looking.  Except he never looked in my direction, where I was pointing, laughing, and repeatedly shrieking "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod...".

I may or may not have consumed bulls balls while going all Bear Grylls and eating the local staple soup, Pho, at a street-side restaurant.  I realised half way through my bowl that I may have ordered the wrong dish, when I had a few round and chewy objects that were not tender slices of steamed beef rump.  Had to smile and chew through it, as the owner was standing over me, smiling intently at the crazy lone Western tourist at his little street-side local's restaurant.  The item on the menu below my regular beef soup was beef soup with bulls balls.  Enough said really.

Bucket cocktails for $5 US!  After overcoming my initial disappointment that it was not your regular household bucket, more of an ice bucket, I did enjoy me a number of these.

Got all excited with a mega casino win.  I was all woohoo! at my 1,500 credit win...until the Chinese guy playing the machine next to me looked over, grunted, and told me that each credit was one single cent.  So I had won $15 US.  Then he laughed like a maniac.  I went from rich to pathetic in the 12 seconds it took him to explain this.

The Housekeeping cart was left outside my room in Hoi An.  This resort was so fancy-pants, that their free toiletries were more impressive than the ones I buy myself at home.  So, I did a quick check for security cameras.  It was the biggest adrenalin rush of my life dashing outside and checking up and down the corridor before pocketing an extra nail file and shampoo.  It was making me giddy after I'd returned to pillage the cart 3 more times.

Crushed to realise the very same Housekeeping cart was regularly left unattended in the permanently unlocked Housekeeping room located next to my hotel room.  This totally killed my buzz when it was all there for the taking, 24/7.  Also, I only found this out on the day we were leaving the hotel.  Bummer.

Booked myself into a dodgy hotel in Ho Chi Minh City by mistake (similar name to the fancy hotel next door that the rest of the family was staying in - that I had triumphantly teased them about paying over double the nightly rate I had secured...ahem).  It was so dodgy that two Japanese girls ensured they took close-up photo's of their food before eating it.  Very wise.  Probably pre-empting the questioning when they were hospitalised for food poisoning.

There are no shoes in the entirity of Vietnam that fit my Aussie size 8.5 - 9 feet.  I know this for a fact, because it became my personal mission to find some.  The only thing I was offered up by a crusty old lady in some markets, was second hand hotel slippers.  Really.  They were bald in some places, had grey and brown stains in others, and were mine for the crazy cheap asking price of $5 US.  I resisted.  Just.

I only found out on the last night, that the fancy hotel casino provided free food and drink.  Totally free for anyone gambling.  Which means that I could've sat on a 1 cent machine and downed Vodka cocktails and burgers to my heart's content.

I spent my last night downing Vodka cocktails and burgers for nix.  All for the sum of very slowly placed 1 cent bets on a pokie machine.  That is, after I got over my total outrage and disgust that I'd wasted the previous 3 nights paying for food and drink at bars and restaurants around Ho Chi Minh City.  It's probably for the best that we didn't find out about this any earlier, as I would've had absolutely no chance getting my Dad out of there if he'd known. 

I spent way too much time trying to make eye contact with random strangers, in order to start a conversation that I could steer towards whipping out my mobile phone to show them the old, grainy pics of my kids.  Before then explaining that I'm really not a shit mother for leaving them at home with #1 Hubby.

I was in bed by 10pm nearly every single night.  Don't get me wrong, I still partied like Britney did in her crazy head-shaving days - but I did it all by a responsible hour.  Once a parent, always a parent.  There was no way my body clock was going to let me stay out any later, because it is so accustomed to partying hard but partying early.  Disgusted in myself.  Vowed to do better "next time".  As if there'll be a next time...

Slightly annoyed #1 Hubby and the kids coped so well without me.  Expected apocolyptic conditions to have ensued following my departure.  Expected to return to a war zone, and #1 Hubby suffering from PTSD after the 2 weeks of solo-parenting.  Instead, he was decidedly more well-rested than I had been following his 2 weeks away.  Also, he didn't use many of my frozen meals, which means I wasted a shit load of pre-holiday time preparing them, and he was well-rested and calm even after cooking meals on a regular basis that did not consist of 2 minute noodles or tinned spaghetti (I know this because I counted the supplies in the pantry on my return, and they had not been depleted).


  1. I say he used and restocked those noodles!!!
    Glad you had an awesome time and OMG the labourer? Classic!

  2. As much as I would love a break away by myself, I think I'd need to adjust to it too.  Sounds like you had a great time!

  3. We all end up missing our families but at least you still had fun eh? I would've too ;)

  4. I'm useless on holidays without the kids.  I spend half the time going "Oh so and so would love that!"  "I wish so and so was here to see that!"  "I need to take a pic to show so and so!"

    Ugh, what an idiot.

  5. Mmmmmmm, beef soup with bulls balls. Doesn't get much better than that! It's good to know that #1 Hubby and the kids can survive without you for a while. You should get away for those bucket cocktails more often! xx

  6. ahahaha! brings back some memories of my time in Vietnam - although i never saw a guy servicing himself! thank god!
    really quite rude of #1 hubby to have coped so well and the kids not to have put on a real show for him!

  7. How rude they coped so well without you! Is there any chance #1 hubby outsourced any of these achievments? Oh the upside, you know you will be fine to get away again in the future.
    Still giggling about mates rates deal at the hotel - bummer!

  8. I never thought of that - outsourcing is something he'd definitely do!  And yes I have already advised him I will be in Melbourne for a week early next year.  He smiled weakly.

  9. So true. I was expecting to come home and have him collapse on me, totally in awe of what I do every other day.  I'm not sure if this is better or worse than that.  I can leave him with them, but he isn't totally in awe of me, only semi-in awe...

  10. I totally agree. I showed your comment to #1 Hubby and without a word he led me to the laundry, pointed at the bucket in the sink, and said "no need to go overseas for that.  You can make your own here at home"....

  11. I never ever wanted to be one of those mothers who does nothing but talk about their kids whenever they're away from them.  Because, you know, I have sooo much else to talk about.  I think I never had a stranger sitting next to me at a bar for more than 5 minutes before they made an excuse to leave.  That's how much I went on and on about my kids.  I'm very disappointed in myself.  Will do better next time.

  12. I partied like Britney.  If Britney had a 10pm curfew.

  13. I think I need more practice to really get good at being without kids.  So I am planning on doing it again, many times, until I perfect it.

  14. You are a genius.  I bet he did too. I should've put a mark on the packets somewhere he wouldn't notice.  Now I really do have to go away again, so I can do this and try and catch him out.  It's an elaborate plan just to catch him out on a little fib, but I think it's worth it...


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