Benitakaren Goes to Asia

Old Dec 23rd, 2019, 04:41 PM
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Benitakaren Goes to Asia

I am going with the Kimball's next week to Vietnam and Thailand. I went with them two years ago and enjoyed it immensely. My family told me tonight that they want me to blog again daily as I did as Laurel and Hardy do Paris several years ago. This is a good way for me to have a reference of what I did since I could never remember day to day activities.

A little background about me - very tall, large, 71 year old woman who enjoys the simple absurdities of traveling. This time I am going to room with the Kimball's friend P - we have never traveled together but she is lovely and I know we will have a good time, especially with Karen and Bobby. The worst part of travel for me is what to pack. I want to take everything-you know, all my pills and lotions and potions, Actually, I could cure or kill an entire city with what I take. It is something like taking my teddy bear, it's a comfort for me to have my stuff. It would be easier with the teddy and much lighter.

And now lets talk about shoes. My family made me buy a pair of sneakers to wear - I hate sneakers, I want high heels but those days are long gone. I find that with the aging process comes the unexpected surprise of never finding comfortable shoes. I must have ten pairs of black flats trying to find a comfortable pair to wear. Last time I had a pair of Sketchers that were wonderful. Tried to order them again but were discontinued. Why do companies do that? What is wrong with the old tried and true? Do not reinvent the already great wheel!

If you are interested, I would love to have you travel along. I will keep you updated on last minute stuff as I get closer to take-off.
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Old Dec 25th, 2019, 07:06 PM
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Coming along for the ride.
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 06:34 AM
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Me too
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 11:03 AM
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Leaving for Bangkok tomorrow, at one point my husband and I are meeting bob and Karen for a meal, we will be staying at the same hotel, looking forward to meet you.
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Old Dec 28th, 2019, 03:15 PM
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Great, looking forward to meeting you.
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 07:53 AM
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Just a test to see how to add inf
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 03:51 PM
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With the help of my daughter and her mother-in-law, Nancy, they took out many of the clothes I had planned to take and even managed to pack a suitcase in a suitcase. So now I have an empty suitcase to bring stuff home that I buy. They have warned me to not buy so much that I need another suitcase. Time will tell on that one!
In case you do not know, I have names for my suitcases. Big Bird (bright yellow) is packed inside Blue Bird (bright blue). I also have a roll aboard and bag which is aqua and French, so name is Frenchie.

I will work tomorrow and leave from work at 2:30 or 4:00 pm - I am watching the weather as we are expecting ice, snow and rain.

I am not a particularly good flier. I usually fly with some alcohol, dramamine, and an ambien. Pretty much never really remember the flight, Two years ago when I went to Bangkok, they upgraded me to Business Class to Hong Kong. It was wonderful and I decided if I was ever lucky enough to go back to Asia I would pay the price for Business Class. I will report what Business is like to Hanoi. Even though I wear support hose it will be nice to lay flat and get the legs up.
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Old Dec 29th, 2019, 11:14 PM
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I am trying to decide whether to be “funny” or kind here... Hummmmmm.

Ok, BK is a hoot, fun to be with and fun to travel with. We first met some years ago at a Boston GTG. We had a great time two years ago in SEA. We keep on her about her purchases—- common sense. Buy the 2 carat stone not the 15 carat one... Rubbing alcohol, who uses that for mouthwash, clothes washing, or birth control....?

We are already in Dubai and hope she and Pat will not be held up by the snow... We meet Pat at the Dubai airport on the 1st in the wee hours of the AM—- flt is at 0330 AM. We rendezvous in Hanoi early afternoon of the 1st at the JW Marriott, Hanoi in the club lounge.

LET THE MADNESS BEGIN....
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Old Dec 30th, 2019, 04:05 AM
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I will follow, too. Benitakaren, I laughed when I read your comment about the number of black shoes. I think I also have 10 pairs of black flats - so hard to find that perfect pair. My husband says he knows a trip is near when the shoes start arriving in the mail! I'm not a fan of sneakers either, but they've saved me more than once and as I age, I realize that comfort is more important to me than how my feet look.

I'm envious of you being able to blog in real time. I've only done that once as I'm usually exhausted by the time we get back to the hotel. It certainly does help with remembering details, though! I hope you got out of your city with no problems. Boy Voyage!

Ellen
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Old Dec 30th, 2019, 05:36 PM
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Left Portland at 3:30 pm-- Bus was full - We made the first bus as my friend Patience was traveling to Boston with husband and brother on a trip to Africa. She was the first in line, found me at the back and escorted me to the head of the line. Don't you just love when "family" takes care of you. Weather was terrible, snowy and icy. Saw a jackknifed tractor trailer and car accident on way down. Lighted signs said ice but we finally just encountered rain. I sat with my friend on the way to Boston-we were watching the road as the driver weaved in and out of cars. Made it here but she and I were exhausted. Everyone clapped when we drove into Logan.

Had about an hour wait for Qatar to open. Talked to a nice gentleman who was going to Thailand since his parents retired there. He grew up in Thailand and speaks Thai but lives in New Hampshire. When I got up to go to the Business Class line he stood up and helped me out of the chair. Maybe there are some benefits to being old with grey hair!

The girl who checked me in was so nice (was that because i paid so much money for a seat - I don't know). Gave her my passport and then she wanted my Vietnam visa. I found that and she said my visa was no good. It said It had expired. Of course, I panicked and went weak in the knees. I looked at the papers and she was looking at the wrong name. I showed her my name and she apologized for her error. Good thing I am not drinking yet - you have to be on top of everything.

As i requested a wheelchair going thru security was very speedy and was brought downstairs in the basement to the Club Room. Fairly comfortable chairs, drinks, two kinds of soup, salad and sandwiches. Had a salad and soup and lemon and cucumber water. The water was delicious, I think it must have had some sugar in it. I have an hour before boarding. Think I will go upstairs and people watch before boarding.
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Old Dec 30th, 2019, 05:39 PM
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While I was waiting in line, my bunkmate, Pat, came up to say hello. She is on Emirates and will meet Bob and Karen in Dubai and then me in Hanoi.
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Old Dec 30th, 2019, 05:49 PM
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Oh, I forgot when I got down in the basement the fire alarm went off. Everyone seemed rather calm, the announcement that the fire department was on the way to see what was happening. I thought, I am in the basement, no window to jump out of or where is the staircase. All the while the alarm is blaring (in a rather small area) second announcement, fire dept is here and checking. Alarm turned off- still flashing light and then nothing. No one missed a sip or spoonful of anything.
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Old Dec 30th, 2019, 10:02 PM
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I can see you struggling with the window sill...
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Old Dec 31st, 2019, 08:50 PM
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Let's talk about Business Class with Qatar - unbelievable. As I usually ride in the back of the bus, this was a very special treat for me. When they see the old lady with a cane they give me special attention. Carry my bags on board and put in overhead compartment. Start with this lemon and mint drink which is wonderful. Followed by champagne and warm nuts. Then take your order for food. Set table with linen cloth and napkin with a tea light. I did not have any dessert but presume it was delicious. Oh, forgot they offer either a hot or cold towel.

11 and one half hours to Doha- slept for about 5 hours - then watched movies. I had my own compartment with a sliding door. When bed time comes, they give you a bag of pj's with slippers. Oh and a box of Godiva chocolates after your meal. And a very nice bag with some amenities.

Let's talk about the bathroom. Very spacious with a magnifying mirror and full length mirror. The last time I traveled to Minneapolis in the cattle car, the bathroom was so small I sort of wedged myself in and did not look at the toilet just started to pee and very quickly realized the toilet seat cover was down - note to self- always check position of seat cover. Anyway, cleaned up as best as I could and got out of dodge. Bathrooms were always clean and tidy on this trip. Probably because there was enough room to turn around and took at the seat.

Went to Business Class Club Room in Doha. Very spacious- soup, salad, coffee. Then took a shower. I have never taken a shower at an airport before. There is always something new to learn and do no matter how old you are.

About an hour wait for flight to Hanoi. We pulled away from the gate and sat there for at least 20 minutes. Then captain said there was a medical emergency and we had to wait for medical team to arrive. I only saw one person leave the plane but maybe the other door was open. We were over an hour late arriving in Hanoi. I made arrangements to have someone meet me in Hanoi to take care of paperwork. You have to get a visa beforehand, two pictures of yourself, fill out another form and give them $25.00 Cash. Only want US dollars. Gave the girl my $25 and she said I needed to pay $50.00. When the man behind the counter with a red star on his jacket says he wants more you just do it. I just gave him some Dong and he gave me back change in dollars. Never did find out why I had to pay extra money, but if I wanted to get into the country I had to pony up and pay. They tried to explain why to me in broken English but was easier to pay.

Bobby made arrangements to have someone pick me up at the airport and after about 45 minute trip am here at the Marriott Club waiting for my room.

The plane from Doha had a smaller bathroom, about 30 seats in Business with only 6 people. I had the seat beside me vacant. But every time I went to the toilet (drank a lot of water) they had a paper seat cover on the toilet just waiting for the next recipient. Also they fixed both rolls of toilet paper with a little v so it could easily be pulled off the roll. It made me think how at the office I work at they have those gigantic tire size rolls of toilet paper in the dispenser. I hate it when they are replaced and you can never find the beginning of the roll and have to continually spin the roll looking for the break point and in total disgust just start ripping anywhere just hoping to find a square inch to use.
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Old Jan 1st, 2020, 02:03 AM
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You never told me you have bathroom issues...

We flew coach on Emirates leaving Boston, Dec 28. The Boston to Dubai leg, on an A-380, was perhaps the best flight we have ever had. Karen worked her charm with the Purser and we had a spare seat between us. Same thing 2 days later on the Dubai to Hanoi leg, but on a 777.

We relaxed in our suite (on points) in the JW Marriott Marquis for two nights. I never left hotel, but K walked outside twice. BTW, it is the tallest 5* hotel in the world. For today, I’ve broken in enough.
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Old Jan 1st, 2020, 05:03 AM
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Had dinner tonight in the Club- lots of snacking. Then to Bob's suite for Birthday cake the hotel gave him. Everyone is tired. Bed early.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2020, 05:06 AM
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First full day in Hanoi. Breakfast in Club the took taxi to the old town in Hanoi. Spent most of day shopping. Some lovely clothes, scarves, jewelry, etc. Lunch downtown at Mom and Pop restaurant. Soup for me as I am having some stomach problems. Took taxi back to hotel. There were hundreds of motorcycles on the road. Went to club and snacked for dinner again.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2020, 05:24 AM
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Forgot the best part of today - the four of us stopped for leg and foot massages. First we were given peppermint tea while they were gathering the therapists. They were probably upstairs watching Wheel of Fortune, sleeping, etc. Although Karen thinks they went to another salon to find them. First soaked our feet in warm water with flower petals in the water. Then rubbed the petals on our feet. Massaged our hands and arms. And then massaged our legs and feet for an hour. It was absolute heaven. When they finished they got hot towels and washed our feet and legs. Then came behind us and massaged our shoulders, back and head. It took over an hour and for the entire procedure, it cost under $15 including tip. Then they serve more tea- great experience for so few dollars. I could have that experience every day.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2020, 05:50 AM
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Benita had the only male massargist
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Old Jan 2nd, 2020, 05:50 AM
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Spell often?
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