News From the Embassy

A couple of recent emails from the NZ Embassy in Hanoi have injected some urgency into my languid bones.

Things change quickly, of course, but it’s on the cards that there’s an affordable route back looming on the near horizon. Late August, according to the emails below, which is sooner than I bargained for.

On the upside, it would mean avoiding some ongoing costs, i.e. rental + electric etc ( ~NZD 330 / month ), and Visa renewal ( ~ NZD 175 / 1 month, ~ NZD 278 / 3 months ).

On the downside, it gives me that much less time to prepare. And for

  • Securing the insurance payout I’m due for the bike accident. The company will only pay a Vietnamese bank account. So if I left before they cough up, I would need to rely on a Vietnamese friend – yes, Henry – to launder the money through his account, and send it to my NZ account.
  • visiting Dalat, as I’d always told myself I would do after the end of school term, June 30.
  • Enjoying the beach, which I can’t do now with my leg in plaster. It’ll be 8 weeks, and time to remove it, near the end of August.
  • Sampling more fully the beautiful Vietnamese food.

So I’m torn between episodes of loving it here ( most of the day, and especially early morning ), and wishing I was home ( for example overnight, especially at the infamous four in the morning – thanks Leonard Cohen ).

So without further warbling, here are the emails from New Zealand’s fantastic Embassy staff member in Hanoi. She’ll remain nameless.

Email August 8

If a flight is going to go ahead generally we will have some idea 2 weeks out. That is plenty of time to organise a ride from Nha Trang into HCMC.

In regards to transit through Sydney. You can apply for an exemption to the 14 days in quarantine. If your transit time is over 7 hours and less than 72 hours then you will be required to leave the airport and go to a quarantine hotel during that time and it is payable, though not at the same cost as 14 days. You would not be permitted to do that because you cannot enter Australia.

There sounds like there may be a couple of options on VN Airlines coming up late this month so we can see if Air NZ has resumed flights from Sydney to Auckland by then. I will keep you posted.

Email August 10

The last flights that were going from HCMC to Sydney were around $1100-1300 NZD and then there was the onward flight from Sydney to NZ which fluctuated depending on what baggage you had but I think they were around NZD 400.

This sounds promising. But given the wild fluctuations in flight prices, that price is far from Gospel. A day or two ago, I found a flight listed on Google for around $1300 NZD, and found that the airline website, through which I had to book, was charging $11,000 or so.

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