Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting past the visa to Vietnam

“We refuse to process visas for Africans. I trust you will understand.”

This is the reply my German friend Susi receives from Vietnam after making an express visa enquiry for both of us.

She writes back: “If Lize cannot get a visa neither of us can go and spend money in your country, as we are on holiday together. I trust you will understand.”

One day later we both have our visa confirmation and I even get to pay the European fee of $40 at Noi Bai airport instead of the African fee of $80.

Our good luck lasts as we find a great budget room at Hanoi Stars Hotel in the Old Quarter. The rooms are clean, furnished in dark wood and fitted with a small safe, while the lift is certainly an asset as I over packed and carrying my suitcase up the narrow stairs is not an option.

Susi and I are both tired after all the visa stress and travelling, so we decide to grab a quick bite down the road and make sure we get a good night’s rest before hitting the city in the morning.

What a great surprise to find fresh and flavourful food at an unassuming little restaurant late at night. Good food is always a good start to any holiday.

“Susi,” I say before I fall asleep, “if I don’t find love I will marry for a European passport.”

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