Monday, January 3, 2011

Where's Justin and Dana?

(PICTURE: From left to right: Me, Dana, Adam, Zev, Hannah and Justin.)

Some of you might recall my blogs from a couple of years ago about my cousin Justin. Justin and I had an amazing road trip together and he is personally responsible for finding some of my favorite spots around Hanoi as he seemed to explore every nook and cranny while he was here. However, as I wrote then, the one downside of traveling with Justin is his propensity to be late for things. Or as we like to call it in my family, "Justin Time."

This time around Justin was traveling with my cousin Dana who is definitely more punctual than her brother. Having Dana as Justin's travel buddy made me feel like things would run a little bit more smoothly and we wouldn't have to delay any of the wedding festivities to look for my often wandering cousin.

Well, things were going as planned when my Uncle Barry got a voicemail message from Dana around 1PM saying that they had arrived in Hanoi. As Justin, Dana and I had discussed they would meet everyone at the Water Puppet Theater at 3:15. Conveniently the theater was just a two minute walk from their hotel so it would be nice and easy for them to get to after having checked in and relaxed for a bit. Well, sure enough, things didn't go as planned for too long. At 3:15 our tour group arrived at the Water Puppet Theater but didn't see Justin and Dana. Huyen immediately called the hotel to see if Justin and Dana had checked in. They had. She asked to be transferred to their room but there was no answer. As the clock began to countdown for the start of the show, everyone began to make their way inside. My mother volunteered to say outside with my cousins' tickets in case they showed up. Sure enough, about fifteen minutes into the water puppet show, my mother walked in alone -- no Justin and Dana.

After the show I went to the hotel to rest for a little while. When I got to the front desk, the receptionist said that Justin and Dana were in their room since their key wasn't at the desk. I went up to the room to find that all of their stuff was their but they weren't. I then attempted to rest for thirty minutes before dinner; a foolish attempt since my phone rang every minute or so with different relatives asking me different questions as well as a student of mine asking to bring me a gift (another future blog). After giving up on a power nap, I went downstairs to email Justin and Dana the schedule for that evening. About two minutes after hitting "send", a bunch of family and friends descended into the hotel lobby to go to dinner. Sure enough, just as the bus pulled up to the hotel, Dana charges in and says, "Everything is okay but Justin is with the police." Well, that's at least what, later in the evening, Dana told me she said. What I heard was, "Justin is with the police." As frightening as this might sound, everyone stayed very calm. In fact, my mom's cousin Pat (my first cousin once removed) was so calm that she said, "Hey Dana, what are we chopped liver? You don't say hello?".

It turns out that Justin had left his camera at a cafe, only to realize his gaff a minute after leaving. He and Dana then went back to the cafe but the camera was gone. They had then gotten the police involved and well, in the end, shockingly, the camera was gone for good. It was a sucky way to start their Vietnam trip but if anyone can let it roll off their shoulders it is Justin.

Now all that said, I've got to give some praise to my cousin Justin. I don't know who gave him a pep talk before the trip but he was constantly on time (or within a few minutes) and was always by my side to give me some help if I needed it. So in return for Justin's punctuality and help, I'm going to post my all time favorite photo of him. This was from my bar mitzvah: