Walking

That is what I have been doing for the past couple of days. Monday was rainy and a holiday here, for what, no one seems to know. So, I stayed pretty close to the apartment.

Tuesday, I had errands to run. Have I mentioned that I am going to Vietnam soon? My cousin, Mark, is adopting a beautiful baby boy, Adam, and has asked me to travel with him to help him. What an adventure! So, over the weekend, Mark e-mailed me that I needed a travel visa to Vietnam and would it be possible to see if I could get one issued here.

I found the address for the Vietnam embassy on-line (thank goodness for the internet!) and Tuesday morning, headed out to find it. I arrived around 11:00 AM and it was closed. So, I asked a taxi driver when the embassy opened. He told me 3:00 PM….mistake #1, not following my “ask 3 people” rule!

From there, I walked to the Spanish school I found on-line and sat in on a class. The class was very good….all Spanish, no English! There are various classes one can take. I am signing up for the one week/4 hours a day and start next Monday. My head was spinning after one hour…I can’t imagine 4 hours. I took the assessment test and I am a “high level” beginner.

From the school, I walked back to the Bellavista Neighborhood as it was still too early to return to the embassy. Then, from there, I started heading back to the embassy. When I arrived there, it was 3:30 and I had walked 12 miles (according to my pedometer). My little legs were a little tired!!!

There were workmen at the building who told me that the embassy had moved to a street about a mile away…..so, I started walking. Fortunately, I found the embassy. It wasn’t anything like I expected. It was behind a large gated yard and I had to be “buzzed” in. Once inside, the building appeared a little run down. The receptionist area was a small room with a chair and a desk….the receptionist didn’t speak much Spanish and no English. She made a phone call and someone who could speak English appeared.

He gave me the one page application…all in Spanish. So, I proceeded to fill it out there, with his help. Now, my cousin was telling me we needed an itinerary that matched, etc. So, as I was filling out the application, I told my helper that I didn’t have a passport size photo…no problem, I didn’t have an itinerary….no problem, I didn’t know what city I was flying into….no problem, put Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, I didn’t know when we were going….no problem, put anything down. So, on a positive note, things are more easy going here!

Now, you must wonder how I am going to Vietnam when I don’t have any of the details. Well, we do know that the baby was born in February and they have sent pictures. The delay in not having an itinerary is due to the Vietnamese government and the adoption process. Mark is in contact with an agency and we will get a couple of weeks notice as to when we will actually make the trip. Now, I do know that we will fly into Ho Chi Minh City where Adam is and we will be there for about a week. Then, we will fly to Hanoi where the consulate is, for more paperwork, and then fly home.

After filling out the paperwork and leaving my passport (scary), I headed back to our hotel. I stopped in to see David at work and also got a Dunkin Donut coffee. It isn’t like DD coffee in the states, but it was very good. I like it better than the Starbucks coffee here! I arrived home at 6:30 and had walked 14 miles!

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