Sadly, my upcoming China Tour has been cancelled (No guesses why). I’ll still be going, but a little later in the year. This leaves a rather large hole in my Tour Roster for the Summer, and an equally large hole in my finances. That’s a rather selfish viewpoint, given the suffering of those who are unwell, so I’ll just grit my teeth and get on with life. The good news is that all of our Local Guides and friends in China are healthy, if a little restricted in their activities. They will feel the financial pain far more than I will.
In the meantime, today is Sunday, and on Tuesday I’m off to Vietnam & Cambodia. I’m rather fond of this Tour. By and large they are lovely peoples, and the train journey on the Reunification Train from Ha Noi to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is quite an adventure. There are 36 in the group and I’ve managed to make phone contact with almost all of them (There are always 1 or 2 who have booked through Travel Agents which makes communication complicated). They seem like a nice bunch of people, as Great Rail Journeys (GRJ) clients usually are.
Here’s my interesting fact of the day. Did you know that Vietnam is the largest Coffee Bean exporter in the world? Me neither, but they are. More than Brazil or anybody else. This may help to explain why the coffee that they drink is essentially Rocket Fuel. Think double esspresso, mixed with double ristretto, then add sugar and condensed milk, or sometimes, whipped egg. One of these in the morning and your heart gets going like an olympic sprinter! They often drink their coffee cold, a habit that I just can’t acquire.
There’s also Phở – a sort of rice noodle, meat and herb soup that is now enjoyed all over the world. There’s just one thing that you have to watch out for. Phở is pronounced more like the English word ‘Fuh’ and not as ‘Foe’. ‘Foe’ translates as ‘prostitute’ in Vietnam. Now, maybe you actually want a bowl of freshly seasoned prostitutes? (TimOnTheTrain doesn’t judge) but you are unlikely to get them from a street food stall.