Our first week in HCM (Ho Chi Minh) City has come to an end. The departure and the flight went well, Schiphol Airport was not chaotic for a change. To reclaim VAT, Customs in departure hal stamped 2 large invoices without any objections.
And Emirates is an efficient airline. Baggage immediately labeled to HCM, you only have to walk km in Dubai from one side of the terminal to the other end. We flew a B777 and an A380, lots of legroom. That makes me happy.
The queue for immigration in HCM City was long. 2, 3 classes of American teenagers were called to order. They had to line up behind each other and shut up. They were indeed joking around and tired of waiting. In Vietnam, a green uniform with epaulettes and stars on it, means that you have to listen with respect and do what they say.
All of our luggage was there, undamaged. We walked to “Declare Goods” with an English / Vietnamese letter with an explanation etc.
Customs kindly helped to put the items on the scanner belt and without any action we passed. Taxi, hotel, sleep.
We used the first week for a combination of sleeping in, factory visit and shopping. From crockery to cushions, to pots and pans. A bit of walking around, eating out, etc. Life is relatively cheap, if you eat locally and you don’t drink cocktails or wine, you will pay € 20 per diner. Prices can range, a pair of Skechers costs € 60, a pair of Bitis €12. I think they are made in the same factory.
We have a cold from the air conditioning, they are turned on everywhere. Outside it is 32 degrees. According to an old Surinamese custom, you don’t walk directly in the sun and in the afternoon you just have to rest instead of … In Vietnam, also on the northern hemisphere, it is ‘winter’. On a cloudy, windy day you see people with an extra hoodie for the cold (25 degrees)
We have been to the factory and had a conversation with the owner of Seawind. He is very interested in our adventure and the North Pacific crossing. And he has pledged to help find solutions if we experience further delays.
There is a delay on SV Kiskadee, as we learned from our second conversation, with the Line Manager and Customer Services,.
We discussed the daily schedule and concrete dates. But also seen that ~ 10 parts are still missing, 9 of which are due to arrive on the 28 of February and one part of the watermaker even a week later.
There is no slack in terms of planning for favorable sailing weather and my wish to visit Gabriella’s graduation ceremony.
Our two crew members also have to rescheduled their journey. We are now waiting for 28 February for a conformation of the planning, before we start re-planning again.
Our next serious date with the factory is the 20 and 21th of March to do an technical inspection of SV Kiskadee. On 24 of March they launch & rigging started. And from the 27 of March we start sailing from HCM to Nha Trang, a 270 NM journey together with the factory people. Formal delivery in Nha Trang around the 2 of April and then departure, provided the weather forecast is good.
In the week of March 2 – March 8 we will go up the Mekong river and via via to Phnom Penh and then Angkor Wat, both in Cambodia. A real holiday trip and the easiest way to activate a new eVisa for Vietnam.