On Scaredy Cats

I almost didn’t go.

I almost didn’t go on this trip to Hanoi with J and D which happened all the way back in the summer…a good five months ago now. A trip that we’d talked about on end since J’s graduation in 2011, then mine and D’s in 2012. It was all still talk up until May of 2013, when we finally got our act together, booked, confirmed, and paid.

And what almost kept me from going was frustration paranoia uncertainty  simply the scaredy cat in me.

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Our flight was scheduled for a Saturday morning, and it was around 4.30pm on the Friday before that it suddenly occurred to me – would we need visas to enter the country? I googled “do australian passports need visas to vietnam” (I ask google everything he’s my best virtual friend) and idly started scrolling through expecting reassuring answers…

…or not. Turns out all three of us had to have applied for visas well in advance.

To cut a long story short, what we did was pay triple the amount it would have to get a “letter” from “some Vietnamese authority” saying they would “approve” our visas upon landing.

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Overexposure and extreme behaviour. “what if the letter is fake what if they lock us up what if we’re detained and denied food is this going to be a real life version of Taken oh no im guna dieeee.” Ohhh I was so close to chickening out – and backing out of a promise from two whole years back. What a scaredy cat.

And I’m so so glad, even though I was fretting all the way to the airport and on the flight (much to the amusement of J and D who tried, and failed to convince me everything would be fine and we would not get eaten alive just because of a visa issue), to say I spent four days and three nights in Hanoi.

Where we basically, spent four days and three nights eating in Hanoi. Lots of pho, grilled fish, and the best chicken congee ever.

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Oh, and yeah, scenery of some sort…

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I take that back. Halong Bay was one of the breathtaking moments on the trip, the moment where we sea kayak-ed though a cave and being greeted by sheets of limestone that seemed to descend from the skies…I felt for a split second I’d been transported into a wuxia novel…and of course dreams from my overactive imagination were rudely interrupted by threats to throw me into the water if I didn’t keep weighing down the kayak. The joys of going on a holiday with bullies boys..IMG_2701

Other scaredy cat moments? I was convinced I was going to get run over any minute. People on vehicles just went whenever they wanted and in the end I gave up comprehending the order-within-disorder in this city, stepping out onto the roads with my eyes closed and pray that they’d avoid me.

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There are too many things that I don’t understand, such as human beings, such as  what is wrong in this picture.

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Some people say there’s light at the end of the tunnel, others say the light at the end of the tunnel is an approaching train coming along to run you over. It’s often the case that along with pessimism, the unnecessary fretting and being a scaredy cat holds you back from reaching your full potential. Limitations are brought by apprehension and fear,  and life is about identifying these limits then challenging them to reach places you never imagined you could.

“and in that moment…I swear we were infinite.”

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