Posted by Marisa
Marisa's picture

 Sometimes I like to imagine what I would do if I was Dumbledore as I travel. Well, mostly I just think about the puter-outer that he made and think about what I would make. At this point in our travels my mind is firmly decided that I would make a de-honker to be used in the following situations:

Situation 1: Crossing the Street

A very small Marisa-Dumbledore goes to cross the street. Giant, fatty SUV comes barreling down the road, feels threatened by Marisa-Dumbledore and makes a very loud honk. Right now my only response as Marisa-with-no-Dumbledore-skills is to jump and scurry across the road, much like Farah used to whenever she saw anything. However, Marisa-Dumbledore would zap the giant, fatty SUV with the de-honker and the offending vehicle would suddenly find itself de-manned and de-honked, never to be rude again. Marisa-Dumbledore could cross the street without anyone making obscenly loud noises.

Situation 2: The Bus Ride

Marisa-Dumbledore is on a long bus ride to the middle of nowhere. The bus ride is long so I/she/we are listening to the iPod, maybe sleeping, or at least trying to relax. However, every five minutes or so, right after I/she/we have been lulled into a safe quiet, the driver (who thinks he is driving a race car, not a giant bus) lays on the horn for about a minute until the motorbike/bicycle/cow gets out the way. Marisa-with-no-Dumbledore-skills just has to sit there and try not to relax too much because then the horn is extra loud. Marisa-Dumbledore would just zap the driver's horn leaving him to take a more leisurely and relaxing pace behind the motorbikes/bicycles/cows he can no longer scare and intimidate out of the way.

I have been contemplating seeing if I actually have Dumbledore-skills by standing in the middle of the traffic and seeing what happens when the horns don't work. Sure you may think you are a big, tough, fatty vehicle with a loud, vile horn, but I am Marisa-Dumbledore and will not be cowed by obnoxiousness. However, since we're in Cambodia, the Wild West of South-East Asia, I'm a bit loathe to test out my skills. Things didn't work out that well for Dumbledore afterall anyway.


It's said that the best way to cross the street is to find a monk to tag along with.


Not such a good day for the chickens to cross the road. 


Posted by Marisa
Marisa's picture

Getting around Vietnam has been somewhat more eventful than getting around in Taiwan. Not really more eventful I guess, just less enjoyable. We've done most of our journey by train, which was fine. The train cars are rather run down, but serviceable, and we still have a romanticized idea of train travel despite the long hours in not-the-newest cars. 


A train ride is always romantic, even if the toilet stinks.

Our first venture off the train however, was less than ideal. 

We were worried about being able to take the train south from Hue because Tet, the Vietnamese super-holiday, was getting started and we weren't sure how full the train was going to be. We tried reserving tickets through our hotel, but they wanted to charge a somewhat exorbitant commission, and were informed by several agencies around town that taking the night bus south was the way to go. The ease of booking tickets across the street and my imaginings of the Harry Potter night bus conspired to see us booked on a bus the next day, with the limitation that we would only take the 16 hour trip to Nha Trang rather than the 24 hour trip straight through to Ho Chi Minh City. Since this experience and a few after it we have since learned that if anyone says, "I can arrange such and such a tour for you at such and such a price" you should say "It is likely that that is a terrible deal, and in fact you should be paying me to go on this tour."


Me and the only person on the bus who actually fit in the seats, and thus the only happy one. My smile is fake.

Needless to say our bus ride did not fulfill my hopeful imaginings from Harry Potter. Unless you've always wanted to be driven around by the crazy driver who doesn't really understand the notion of a brake pedal and consequently get your face splatted up against the glass. I spent most of the night trying to cling to my seat, which was suspended in the air, as our bus driver swerved, yanked and stopped dead whilst leaning on his impossibly loud horn. At one point he accompanied his honking by singing and lighting up a cigarette. But it all paid off in the end, as we reached our destination an entire hour early.


Now imagine a stranger in between.

Not that anyone knew. 

The bus pulled over to the side of the road and sat there for 45 minutes, before I finally got up and enquired about our location, 

"Nha Trang?"

"mumble mumble"

"Are we in Nha Trang?"

"mumble mumble"

"Yes, we are in Nha Trang?"

"mumble mumble"

It should be noted that the bus was mostly entirely full of poor, unsuspecting travelers like ourselves who didn't know the joys that awaited them on the 16 hour trip. But everyone's heads came up when I was up front shouting with the bus driver about our location. 

"You mean we've been here for 45 minutes, but you didn't think to mention the fact?"

"mumble mumble"


Jordan never had a chance.

The entire experience can be summed up as going to a sleepover with complete strangers where you are given a bed that is neither long enough nor wide enough for you to actually fit on. Not that anyone mentioned this to us when they were selling our tickets. They should maybe say, "This is a ticket for hell." At least then you would be prepared. 



The ticket may be for hell, but the destination isn't.