After leaving China, we were planning of going into Vietnam and visiting the city of Ho Chi Min. We hastily brought our tickets while in Washington D.C. getting our Chinese visas. China will not process your initial visa without proof you are leaving their county. I didn’t know that when I gathered everything for our visa trip, so we ended up buying the cheapest flights we could find that fit our timeline without doing much research on the actually trip.
A few days ago, we started thinking about our next stop after we leave Hong Kong. Previously, when we went into Vietnam we could do a visa on arrival for about about $45 per person and was ready in about 3 days. That rule changed on September 1 of this year. Now you have to bring your visa to a consulate and pay over $150 per person. That is more than our plane tickets combined, so we decided to skip Vietnam (since they won’t even let us in), and go directly to Bangkok and reset there.
Shaq went onto Air Asia to buy our tickets to Bangkok. They were pretty cheap, like less than $80 each and gets us there in less than 3 hours.Unfortunately, he spaced out the fact that I changed my last name after we got married. So yes, ladies, even a year after you get married the name chance process is still a HUGE pain!
In the U.S. if a name was booked incorrectly it’s easy enough to call customer service, explain what happened, and make the correction. Here we don’t have a way to make a phone call. The next obvious choice is email. Air Asia doesn’t list a costumer service email. They answer what they call Live Chat. The fastest wait we ever had to Live Chat was 20 minutes, the longerst over an hour.When you factor in our itinerary and the fact the internet doesn’t always hold, especially in the evening when we have free time, it was nearly impossible to even get onto Live Chat. And we were supposed to fly out in 4 days! We were literally getting ready to buy a new ticket the other morning because we were stumped on what else to do…but the internet kicked us off before we could get all the way through the process. Things were not pretty at our breakfast yesterday morning!!
We decided to text my mother (hero) and asked her if she could PLEASE help us. After she spend over an hour waiting to get on the chat all she found out was she needed a case number associated with our form and by the time we get her text saying that it was the middle of the night in the states. I was getting pretty worried I might be taking up residency in Hong Kong while my husband ran wild in Bangkok. Perhaps he put my old name on purpose?!
I was getting worried and he was pretty frustrated with the mistake, as well as, the difficutly in getting assistance. To top it off Shaq has a little cold, which I might be getting, and we slept on a bed that I’m fairly certain was cement with a sheet on top. Finally yesterday afternoon we got decent internet, a short wait on the Live Chat, and help! My name got changed and we didn’t spend $150 buying a new ticket for me! Now, if I can just get my tickets cancelled from Jetstar Airways it would be great.
I share this story just to show travel isn’t easy. We are very fortunate so far to have had an easy trip. We have also seen some truest amazing sites. Little problems quickly become much bigger problems that grow into frustrations. It’s a challenge and a skill to be able to take things in stride, not make the situations worse by getting in a fight or taking out your frustration on the person you are literally spending 24/7 with, and find a solution.