Thursday, 13 November 2008


Our journey through Asia has brought us into contact with many different forms of public transport.

From local buses that drive at crazy speeds as you sit in the corner trying to look relaxed (the white knuckles of your clenched fists holding on for dear life tells another story) to the big expensive tour buses with their lovely leather seats, reclining of course, that glide you through the Vietnamese scenery.

Trains have a similarly wide variation. We've had the 'soft bed' and the 'hard seat' between which is a world of difference, particularly when travelling overnight. Indeed, the hard seat option has led me to call the Northern Vietnamese town of Ninh Binh 'Numh Bumh' for obvious reasons.

So, we have decided we are not backpackers after all. We are 'Flashpackers'. Travellers who can afford just that little bit extra while on the road.

We will be choosing soft beds over hard seats and tour buses over local buses from now on, language permitting. Heck, if we don't want to walk we'll just hire bikes. Or a scooter once we've worked up the courage.

For example, today we are in HuĂȘ, a former Imperial City of Vietnam close to the former DeMilitarized Zone of the American War. In the hotel room, we have satellite tv (Last King of Scotland has been passed over for the local Eastenders/Ugly Betty series.), we have internet in the room and our laundry is being dry-cleaned overnight. Dinner tends to come with those extra spring rolls, or that banana dessert, or a 3rd (or 4th) beer.

We may be living cheap but with every dirty, tired, dreadlocked backpacker we pass living in $2 a night dorms, we appreciate it could be a lot worse!

No comments: