Day 3 Oct. 28 (Sun) Saigon additional due to typhoon Son-Tinh
Our flight to Danang was cancelled due to an impending typhoon. This is a disappointment since China Beach is eliminated from our tour. Now we have another day in Saigon at the Park Hyatt and Classic Journeys came up with a "Plan B" which included an early morning visit to the market where we saw local vendors with their vegetables and other produce including live frogs and other exotics. Then, many of us headed off for an authentic cooking class were we made spring rolls, salad, and pho soup. Our own efforts became our lunch. Our guide was working behind the scenes to work up a plan C to get us back on schedule and up to Hanoi tonight via Vietnam Airlines which was now flying.
After lunch we organized a temple tour where we visited a Cao Dai temple, a Buddhist pagoda, where we witnessed, and some of us made, incense offerings and were able to return fish to a temple pond for good-fortune. Along the way we passed though a fabric market where you could buy wholesale bolts of cloth for making dresses or other garments. We headed off to the airport right after our temple tour and kept our fingers crossed that the plane would take off and land in Hanoi.
At the airport, we boarded Vietnam Airlines and the plane did take off for Hanoi. After the 2 hour flight, we made two attempts to land at the Hanoi airport in a typhoon. Neither worked because of strong crosswinds ("beyond the design parameters of the Boeing 777"). These landing attempts were especially terrifying because the plane had a live video feed in the nose of the plane for us all to watch our impending doom! The plane was diverted back to Danang, and landed without incident. But then we we forced to sit on the tarmac in the plane, for 3-4 hours while "operations" decided if we would try Hanoi again (yeah, right!) or get off the plane and wait until morning. By the time they decided to let us disembark, our clever and resourceful guide had already reserved the Furama Beach Resort at China Beach for two nights! OK!!! We were now in paradise at the beach - that part of the trip that had been previously cancelled due to the weather was now restored! The trip from hell had a good ending. We slipped between the sheets around 3AM.