So. The Long Winter break without work is drawing to a close. I’m off to Vietnam & Cambodia in 11 days and then a busy season lies ahead. I’ve used the two month break to reduce my sleep defecit, catch up on TV box sets and remind Mrs TimOnTheTrain that she has a husband who sometimes lives at home (although I think she may be ready for me to get back to work now, since apparently I sometimes get under her feet and am a bit messy around the House!) .
Yesterday I travelled to Olympia in London and did my on-stage talk about USA railroad travel to an audience of about 150 people – no photos available, sorry. I was pretty nervous, but managed to get through it without drooling, tripping over or talking rubbish. The audience seemed to be engaged and the GRJ Marketing people seemed happy enough (although Marketing people always do) so I guess that’s job done. Six of the audience were previous clients of mine from various Tours and they came and said Hello. I thought this was particularly kind, so a big Thank You goes out for their support (You know who you are).
I’ll be doing my prep for Vietnam in the next few days, and then phoning my clients to introduce myself and answer questions. I’ll be posting daily blog updates on the blog as we move around on Tour, so those of you who may be interested in this part of the world can get an idea of what it’s like. I have done the Tour twice before, so that means I can relax slightly about the logistics, although this part of the world tends to throw you curveballs from time to time. I’m particularly looking forward to staying at the Victoria Hotel, Cần Thơ the only hotel in the world where there is a resident Water Buffalo, my mate ‘Bravo’.
Later this year I’ve been allocated 2 China Tours – more may follow later in the year, but they haven’t got that far in allocating Tours yet. Given the ongoing Health situation in China, I thought that I’d let you know where I stand in case it is helpful.
The Corona Virus outbreak came at a quiet news time and the various News Media organisations have gratefully accepted it and run with the ball in a somewhat hysterical fashion that in my view, is unhelpfull. The outbreak is serious and terrible and needs to be managed and controlled promptly and efficiently, which by and large is being done. I still have two months to go until the first China Tour of the season and I think there is a strong possibility that it will run, although possibly on a modified itinerary. If you are interested, or concerned about the progress and nature of the virus, may I suggest This Website which provides the facts in a short and easy to understand format.
To provide some perspective, the common flu kills around 35,000 people a year in the US and between 350,000 and 650,000 people worldwide. The SARS outbreak in 2002/2003 had a mortality rate of 9.6%, which is 4 times higher that the present day Corona mortality rate of 2.4%. The MERS outbreak in 2012 had a mortality rate of 34.4%. Things may change if the virus mutates, so this doesn’t mean that we should be relaxed about this tragedy, but I am suggesting that we might do better by understanding the context of what is going on and seeking to avoid a disproportionate and emotional response.
I’ve been in touch with all of our Local Guides in China. They, and their families are healthy, which is good news.