I meant to post this about a week ago. Above, you can see the rabbit with her boyfriend, Tin Tin. I’m glad she’s bigger than him. She clearly wears the trousers in that relationship.
I had a frustrating morning. I planned to go to the Vietnam embassy to collect my passport and visa. Then, I was to get the passport scanned so I could send a digital copy to the travel agent who is arranging my North Korea visa, and then I was going to go to the Cambodia embassy to get yet another visa there.
However, despite having told me to return today, the Vietnam embassy was closed. The notice on the door said it would be closed until yesterday for the National Day holiday, but the doors were still locked and there was no sign of life. So, with that, all my plans fell apart and I will have to return tomorrow and probably wait until Hong Kong to get the Cambodia visa.
I didn’t want the morning to be a total waste of time, so I tried to buy my train ticket, only to be told that they’re not available for purchase until four days before departure. Four days! How does this country function if you can’t even plan a 1000+km trip until four days in advance? I’m worried about my return trip to Beijing and onward travel to Xiamen. If I can’t buy tickets far in advance, I may end up wasting several days waiting for tickets to become available. That’s not so bad in other cities, but I’d hate to have to hang around for days in Beijing, a city that I have had quite enough of for the time being.
So, defeated, I went home and watched ‘Wolf Creek’ – an Australian horror film about backpackers being crucified and having their spinal columns severed. It got me in the holiday mood.
I’m almost ready to go. Other than visas and tickets, I just have to organise travel insurance, sending my suitcase home (which Chris is kindly going to help me with), a bit of cleaning and a bit of shopping. I’m happy to be leaving, but I feel poorly prepared, ill-equipped and plagued by pseudo-existential questions about why I am going, what I hope to gain from it, what’s it all about anyway, etc.
I also don’t quite believe that everything’s going to happen. Am I really going to North Korea in nine days? It doesn’t seem real, and probably won’t until I’ve handed over the cash, and I’m on my way.