Having spent two years in Korea I have decided that it’s time for a move.
I spent many months looking at the options . I seriously considered Russia as I have always wanted to spend some time there, but having survived the last winter in Korea, the coldest one since they started record keeping, the thought of another long, cold, and dark, winter just didn’t appeal. Russia will need to be a holiday destination rather than an extended stay I think.
I also thought about Saudi, but for lifestyle reasons I elected to delay that option. I haven’t ruled it out, although they may rule me out, they have age restrictions and Menopausal Misses may not get a look in!
So I decided that the next move needed to be somewhere just a little warmer and Vietnam quickly became a short-listed candidate. After having done a lot of research it then rose to the number 1 spot. I leave Korea in April to begin the next adventure.
Of course the days of being able to pack a small suitcase with the bikini, sarong and shampoo, and just go, are well gone. Actually, I’m not sure I was ever able to do that but why spoil a good story with fact! It’s now a logistical nightmare and takes weeks, if not months, to organise myself. So after endless emails to shipping companies, most of whom never replied I might add, I have finally managed to find a way to ship all the things I don’t think I can live without to Vietnam. Yes, its costing me an arm and a leg to ship all those pairs of shoes but what can I do – I just might need them. The shippers will be here at 8 am on the 29th of March!
Then there is the little dog to consider – little Lady Fleur. Fortunately she can travel with me in the cabin because she is so little. I am taking a Vietnam Airlines flight as they allow pets in the cabin as long as you book a business class ticket, and there is not extra cost involved to take her. You do have to talk to the airlines and register the fact that you are taking a dog with you, for some reason this cannot be done when you booking via the internet. They have special requirements sections, but pets are not included in this and so you have to call the airline. In South Korea that can always prove to be a challenges as the level of English is usually so poor that it is hard to get the information across and ask questions. I made four calls initially to the Seoul office and then ended up calling the Head Office in Vietnam. After a further half dozen or so calls I eventually managed to get some assistance and ensure she was register on the flight, but that is always an issue if you choose to live in a non-English speaking country and you get very used to finding other ways to get things done once you’ve lived within it for a few years.
There are, of course, additional costs in regards to paperwork to relocate her. I need her vet to fill out, and sign, all sorts of forms to get her Puppy Passport. Her vaccinations have always been kept up to date and that certainly eases the process as you have to supply a full list of all vaccination including the date and dosage. Rabies is the big one, the last vaccination has to be within 12 months of the leaving date and no more recently than 30 days prior to travel. If your vaccinations are up to date the cost is not huge, and there is no quarantine period to go into Vietnam. The whole process is a little onerous and time consuming, but worth it to be able to take my little girl with me.
Interestingly I have to jump through some local hoops to take her out of Korea and this information is not well publicized. I spent a number of hours researching this on the net and have yet to find a place that actually says you have to do this! She has to be seen by a vet at the Korean Quarantine Office with 48 hours of travel and this can only be done at the airport or a shipping port. Their offices are only open from 9 am until 5 pm and the process must be completed at least three hours prior to travel. As my flight leaves at 10 am I am going to have to do it the day before I travel. Its not expensive, about 10,000 won, for her to see the vet and have the paperwork signed off. Its about a four hour round trip to the airport for me so its a bit of a drag to have to do this, but I’m not leaving my girl behind so we will hop on a bus and do the trek.
There are restrictions on the type of bag that she must travel in but I already have a suitable one and its a very short flight so I am hoping she copes well with it all.
Hotel booking was the next challenge to be faced as I need a place that’s pet friendly. I thought I had better book in advance, I just couldn’t face the thought of being in Hanoi with nowhere to sleep, at least the first night! Surprisingly it was actually very easy. I contacted a few places that looked OK over the internet and asked the question. Relying on the Pet Friendly filter on hotel booking sites is never a good idea. I got a positive response from tall the hotels I contacted, so the first weeks accommodation is booked.
Hmmm, better get on to thinking about packing ….