Day of Travel
Day of Travel

A Big day of Travel, 35 Hours, Danang, Vietnam to JFK, NYC USA.

A Big day of Travel, 35 Hours, Danang, Vietnam to JFK NYC USA.


Hello friends

So, after 2 years, 2 months, and 23 days, or 815 days living in Vietnam, it was time to venture back across the seas, home to see the parents and Grandma, and dogs and drink from the waters of my homeland in CT USA.

On 12/10/2021 I set out at 4 pm from Vietnam to return back home. Here is my post from 2019 when I left home for adventure (HERE). Today, I will regale you with the story of my EPIC 35-hour trip back home.

Here is the last view I had of my puppy @kooza as I sat in the Grab car and headed towards the airport.

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In the car, it was exciting and sad, as we drove through Danang, driving past the places I have called home, the places I have eaten at, the streets I have driven on. It was sad and exciting, and a bit of dread, as I realized that 35 hours was in front of me till my destination…

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Getting off at the airport, it was quiet, just a few families standing around. This I thought would be the run of the day, but later on this trope would be challenged and change.

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At the counter is when I ran into the first issue… while I did my First Shot and Second Shot, along with my COVID-19 test the day before, so I thought I was okay to fly…. HOWEVER, you needed your second shot 15 days before your flight and not 8 days. SOOOOOO, the counter told me that I may not be able to fly on from Saigon.

“WHAT” is what I said, and after some banter back and forth, Vietnam Airways went to work and called Saigon, then talked to like 5 or 6 different management people. About 45 minutes later, they came back and confirmed I could fly. They also took my photo and said a ground team would assist me when I touched down to get to my next flight, as I had a quick lay over (1.30 Min).

I took a photo with these nice people and headed towards the security check in!

The lady in the middle would find me 3 more times before the flight to get additional information from me, and move my seat up front, so I could disembark faster to get to my next flight.

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Here you can see just how empty this airport was. Very quiet. Again, I thought that most of my trip would be like this… but, later on, I was proven wrong by that thought.

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Getting on the flight, it set in… that it was happening… that travel was happening, and the great journey had started.

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On the flight, it was rather quiet. No one sat next to me, I had a window seat, the flight was mellow… so nice.

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This is a blurry photo is of Hoi An from the sky as we flew over it. I find it fun when you recognize places from the air. This flight was about, 1hr and 25 min.

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As soon as the flight touched down, and the first class passengers were left off the plane, they ran in and grabbed me by the arm and said “Come with me”. Where they stuck me on the VIP shuttle bus to the airport station

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A person met me with a note with my name on it and said, come with me, your next flight is boarding. So, we had to run about 400 yards from the domestic terminal to the international terminal, me with my 2 bags and Uke, rocking a set of sandals.

The person then handed me off to a security guard who pulled me into a back, white room and asked me to pay the fee. (* I had overstated my tourist Visa and needed to pay a 4 mill fine), so I paid that fine, and felt a little weird in the back room. I could see how it can be intimidating to be pulled into one of these rooms for questioning.

But with the fine paid, I was back out and again in the exit visa line. Then on to the security check. That was not too bad, but weird when one of the guards demanded I show them how much money I had with me. I was quite taken aback by this, They said in quite a bossy voice, “WE CONTROL THE MONEY, SHOW ME”. So I did… and that was that.

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I was at the terminal for my next flight. It was also rather quiet but more busy than my first flight.

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Emirates, flight EK201, Saigon to Bangkok, then onwards to Dubai.

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Walking down the Jetway, looking at the terminal, I started to miss my life in Vietnam.

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It was a bit of an intimidating sight to see the full medial regalia of the flight crew at the door, I was hoping that this would not be the style for the whole flight. I was happy to see that this was just at the door and inside, the crew were more in standard dress.

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The flight was quite nice, the seats were plush, and the in – flight TV/COMPUTER thing was good. It was neat that they showed camera angles of the flight as well. Like you could see from the cockpit, wings, or landing gear. That was a new thing I had never seen before.

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Here I am looking a bit worried at the attendants as they walked on past.

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The in – flight mean was a mozzarella and tomato sandwich that was rather filling, along with a tinny cut of water… I would get one of these with each of the meals.

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After about 1 hr 50 Min, we touched down in Bangkok. But as the flight was going on to Dubai, we stayed on the flight and the crew changed over. It was another 1 hr 35 min on the ground before we took off again.

So, I explored the plane a bit like the first class cabin. Such plush seats.

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I also talked with the crew as they were restocking. The re stocking crew moved fast, just in and out, no talking, just slamming boxes and carts. Its almost like they have done this before.

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After a hot moment, we took off again for the next leg of the trip. This was a 6 hr and 55 minute flight to Dubai… 6 hours… argh… so I took half a Diazepam and passed out until the staff woke me up for the meal.

This chicken thing with another little cup of water.

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This thing also kinda made me confused. We all know that there is no smoking on flights, it has been this way for such a long time. So, WHY do you need an ash try on the bathroom doors? Do some flights still have smoking and some dont? It makes no sense to have an ash try here. Anyway, I saw this, and it got my goat.

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After just about 7 hours, we touched down in Dubai. Exiting the plane, I thought it was time to get some work done… but… We will talk about that in a moment.

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After the security check, I was on to a tram and to Terminal A and waited the 4 hours 30 min till my next flight.

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The terminal was nice, it felt like a large mall and that was it… some airports looked cool, this was just like… okay. Sorta normal. Nothing to write home about, but I did find this camel looking cool.

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With 4 hours to go, I thought I could do some computer work and write my article for @dbuzz, but my laptop was dead. I found a nice lounge and sat down, pulled out my laptop, mouse, and stand, then went to plug it in only to discover it was not the standard plug I use… *FACE PALM.

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So, I spent the layover walking around the terminal, also exchanged some VND in to USD. On my phone app with up to — date exchange rates, 7,400,000 VND would get me $193 USD, however the exchange desk traded me 7,400,000 VND for $230 USD. WOOT! I am not sure why the difference, but hey… that’s great!

With the sun starting to come up, it was time to get to the next flight. The next flight was the long flight…

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This was one of those BIG planes with 2 stories.

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Walking down the runway, I just kept thinking about the upcoming 15 – hour flight looming ahead. But, can’t turn around now… just go forward.

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And kept going forward down the narrow boarding ramps and into the belly of the beast that was to be my new home. I guess it must be like Pinocchio in the belly of the whale.

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This photo does not illustrate the scale of this engine. It must be about 15 feet if not 20 feet in width. That was MASSIVE! Again, the photo is not to scale, and it looks normal-sized, but in person, it was WAY more massive.

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Again, boarding the flight… it is always an interesting moment to cross the threshold and into a plane. You never know what will happen or whom you may meet.

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Again, I documented where I was sitting and would be sitting for about 15 hours… 15 long, long, long hours of travel.

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After taking off, I put on Dune (the movie) on my tablet and started to watch it, and they brought my first meal. It was some sort of Venetian food thing, along with a little cup of water. Again, a cute little cup of water.

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Then I said okay, only 4 hours had passed, I needed to sleep, and I took a full Diazepam and drifted off for a long length of time until the flight crew tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I wanted to eat lunch. So, yes, I said yes. And they placed this try down with turkey. :/ They were out of vegetarian options, so… meat it was. Sorta a bummer, but, okay.

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Before I left Vietnam, my friends gave me a little box of cookies to eat while on the flight as well. I decided to eat them somewhere over the North Atlantic Ocean while watching “Lost in space” season 3.

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Finally, after what seemed like forever, and several other random naps, we arrived at JFK and touched down at the airport.

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Disembarking there was a bunch of police randomly checking people. I seem to get by without any stops on that point that was down the walkway into New York City.

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The immigration line was also super light. The visa agent looked at me and asked if I had anything to declare or any fruits or vegetables, to which I answered no, and I was through that gate pretty quick.

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I did however have to stand for about half an hour to an hour waiting for my luggage to come out… But eventually came out, and I exited to meet my little sister for the 2-Hour drive back to Connecticut.

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On the way back we stopped at a gas station for cup of coffee. I hadn’t played scratch off lotto tickets in two years, so I bought 2, $2 dollar tickets. I didn’t win anything but my sister won $20, We then said okay let’s get to $10 tickets. The second ticket my little sister didn’t win anything, but I won $50. HAHAHA. That was a fun way to come back to the United States.

So now I’m back in the US slowly getting adjusted to the time zone difference, and getting caught up with all the things that may have missed.

Thank you for joining me today for the story, I hope to regale you with more tales of my homeland over the next few days while here. My journey back to Vietnam happens on January 14. Or at least I hope…

Have a great day and carpe diem!


Tim on a Rock
Tim on a Rock
Roaming Sparrow is a project by Tim Mack. It is a life on the road, an adventure to gain knowledge and share genuine experiences.
Find some great experences, check out Viator!

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