Hanoi 3: Last day in Hanoi

After my usual breakfast. Two eggs scrambled, and two mojitos, – don’t judge me, I’m on a low carb diet, so no beer, and the hotel coffee is only average – I sat in the hotel lobby going through the photos I had taken. Some good, some bad, some terrible, and none of them straight. I’ve just got a new camera and its very, very, light. The weight of the camera, plus my general tremor, brought on by my advancing years, and possibly by my choice of breakfast beverage, has resulted in a certain amount of camera shake. I’ll fix the pictures on photoshop. Continue reading “Hanoi 3: Last day in Hanoi”

Hanoi 2: Mai and the Blue Dress

Raining again. The locals tell me that it’s usually sunny this time of year. Oh well. At least it’s warm. The hotel gave me a umbrella I told the receptionist I would try not to lose it. But you know how it is with brollys.

I have sent all my tee shirts to the laundry. I had one clean one left last night, but chopsticks … Well… y’know. At least the laundry here uses machines. Unlike India where they knock hell out of your stuff on a rock. Continue reading “Hanoi 2: Mai and the Blue Dress”

Hanoi 1: Sorry Officer

Once again no transport problems. Oh, the plane had a radio problem, cost me an hour. No biggie. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is a beaut. I liked the fact that it is finished. I’m not kidding. Think about the last half dozen airports you were in. There is always work in progress on the airside. ‘coming soon’, ‘for your future convenience’. Not at BKK. It’s all done. And there’s enough seats.

Straight through immigration at Noi Bai airport Hanoi. No visa required as I was in Vietnam for less than 15 days. Just produced my onward flight reservation. Changed some money and became an instant millionaire. £200 became 5.4 million VN Dong! Hanoi millionaire.JPGRolling in it. At the cash desk I met a nice couple from Manchester and we decided to share a cab. A tenner each. Continue reading “Hanoi 1: Sorry Officer”

Bangkok: The Kao San Road, Sven and the Other Dane.

KS Road is the backpacker area of Bangkok. It’s super friendly and super cheap. The under 25s, Europeans, Kiwis, Aussies, and Americans all stay around here. The dress code is double scruffy, dreadlocks optional. I’m not sure if Bob Geldorf has ever been here, but if he has then you can guarantee he would have been the best dressed guy around. This is where a group of 10 in a restaurant ask for a $15 check to be itemised and split. Everything is cheap and everything is available. Continue reading “Bangkok: The Kao San Road, Sven and the Other Dane.”

The Big Buddha

The population of Bangkok is 9 million. By a happy coincidence there are 9 million shops. One each. I went in search of mine. I needed tee-shirts and because I had seen two people at Zurich airport with eye injuries, I had decided to buy an eye patch. You never know.
Of the 9 million population, 8 million had decided, just coincidentally, to take the same route as me, at the same time, and on the same train. As there were 8 carriages the maths was simple. One million to a carriage. Continue reading “The Big Buddha”

Bangkok Beginnings

Arrival at BKK was a breeze. Money can be changed at almost the same rates as in town. I took the ARL (airport rail link) to Makkasan Station. The map was in my head. I should know by now that that’s not a good place to keep anything I might need to refer to again. So a ten minute walk turned into two hours. I missed the very 1st turn which plunged me into a labyrinth of dead ends and switch back corners. And it was hot. Fierce hot. I asked the incredibly helpful Thais in the street, none of whom had heard of the hotel, but all of whom knew, if it was them, where they would have built it. They directed me accordingly. Exhaustion eventually beat stubbornness and I hailed a passing motorcycle. 5 minutes later and at a cost of 10 baht (24p) I was at the hotel. Continue reading “Bangkok Beginnings”

Camino de Santiago: Preparation

Seashells Religion Symbol Spain Europe Shell

 

You Can’t Take That.

I finally decided to walk the Camino de Santiago this year. It’s been on my radar for several years now and I’m getting older. There were two things to sort out after the usual travel arrangements.

1) Training

2) Equipment.

 

The training would consist of three elements.

1) Walking long distances with a fully loaded pack.

2) Brushing up my not-so-bad Spanish.

3) Drinking a lot of red wine and a bit less white.

I would get my equipment appraised by my sister and brother in law. They spend their lives outdoors. They trek through the Alps for months on end. They fight bears just for fun. They can suck venom from people’s snake bites. Even Ray Mears rings them up for advice.

I, on the other hand, am more at home in the cocktail bars, restaurants, and nightclubs of trendy Harrogate and have never even seen an Alp. So I went to see them… Continue reading “Camino de Santiago: Preparation”