From the Frying Pan into the Fire

We managed to circumvent Aunt #6’s duplicitous plotting with some counter-plotting of our own. Part of how Aunt #6 manipulated us into going on this trip was by convincing us not to buy return plane tickets. She promised that return flights were cheap and plentiful and by not booking them in advance we would have flexibility to return whenever we wanted. Turns out that flights from Da Nang to Saigon during the holiday season were neither cheap nor plentiful, and the only way to get back within a reasonable timeframe was by bus. However, the roads in VN are so poor that a one hour flight is a THIRTY HOUR bus ride. Kids ride for free but aren’t given their own seats, which means that the five of us would have had to cram into three seats for THIRTY HOURS. If we had known this ahead of time, we definitely wouldn’t have gone, and we wouldn’t have been roped into paying for Aunt #6’s vacation. The day before our planned departure, my poor girl got food poisoning and started vomiting all over the place. She couldn’t hold anything down, not even water, and also had diarrhea. Obviously we weren’t about to take her on a THIRTY HOUR bus ride. We wanted to stay behind and figure out another way home, but worried that my retired aunt and uncle would volunteer to stay with us. So we hatched a plan to visit my mom’s friend in Quang Ngai, a few hours from Da Nang, and then do overnight stays in multiple destinations to break up the trip back to Saigon. We were thrilled to be rid of Aunt #6’s family, and the disappointed look on Aunt #6’s face when we paid for the car rental but didn’t include money for their return bus fare was priceless. If we had traveled with them it would have been awkward to hand over only enough money for our own bus fare and not pay for their fare since we had been covering all of their costs up until that point. Aunt #6 surely would have asked for the difference. But since we were no longer traveling with them, she didn’t have the nerve to ask. Victory! Until we arrived to Quang Ngai and saw where we would be spending the night. My mom’s friend’s house ended up being the most uncomfortable night we’ve spent in VN thus far. It was dirty, dusty, and teeming with mosquitoes. I don’t know how it’s even possible for soap to be dirty but her bars of soap had black spots on them. We had to sleep under a mosquito net in a hot, muggy room that hadn’t been used for years. By 2am the kids were crying and we were all awake because we were being devoured by a couple of mosquitoes that had gotten trapped inside our mosquito net. We didn’t have any luck trying to kill them but didn’t dare open the mosquito net because there were far more mosquitoes outside of the net. It was an awful experience and I hate seeing my kids covered in mosquito bites. To top things off, the boy got food poisoning the next day and projectile vomited all over the kitchen floor. We did not enjoy Quang Ngai.

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A former corporate attorney who is now happily retired and does whatever she wants.

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