We’re back. Hurrah! I have to say I was worried about the journey home (from Hanoi, via Seoul to London, via Hong Kong).
The cheapest way to fly long distance is ‘return’ so, to and from east Asia we booked London to Seoul, and back again. We did that with Cathay Pacific because they were the best value, provided we flew via their hub in Hong Kong (about £700 each if I remember rightly … BA was £850 direct). That was fine on the way out as we had just under a week in Seoul before we flew one-way to Singapore. But, getting back was complicated in that we had pre-positioned ourselves in Hanoi. We had to get from Hanoi to Seoul …
… in time to catch the flight to London (via Hong Kong). You’re confused now, right? I looked at all the flights and eventually chose the late evening flight from Hanoi with Viet Jet (Vietnam budget airline) which would get us into Seoul three hours before our Cathay Pacific connection. Three hours. Come on, that a lot of hours? What I hadn’t told C was that Viet Jet have a reputation for delays … and a series of other issues (none of which, thankfully, involved the aircraft getting lost, or an engine falling off). But there were plenty of ‘I’m never flying with this carrier again. In the end we left exactly on time in a reliable Airbus 320 which arrived with all its engines, and in which I was given extra leg room because I’m taller than your average Vietnamese.
C was not allowed in the emergency exit aisle because, when asked, she told the girl that she was over 60. And that was not allowed. No sirree. She was to be at the back where she could be trampled on by much younger people dashing for the exit. But, when we sat down there was a spare seat next to me and the guy had no problems allowing her to take the seat. Although he did ask me my age – clearly I had gained a decade in the four hours from booking in to getting on the aircraft. Cheeky so and so.
Anyhow, we landed on time and made the mad-dash scramble through Hong Kong airport to meet our next connection – another Cathay Pacific flight which left an hour later than our arrival. Phew, that worked as well. As you have learnt, we don’t travel without a fuss.
We were aircraft-seat shaped by the time we got out at Heathrow, with my eyes as dry as a camel’s flip flop. But we had survived. And now, two days later after a night at Mary’s, a trip to see my mum (who is in remarkably good form, thanks for asking) and then a military, 25th anniversary black tie dinner at Staff College – which was fab – we are home. And, wow, it’s a good feeling. It’s a good feeling to be able to go outside without leaking. It’s a good feeling to walk across the road without fear of being run down by a tsunami of scooters. It’s a good feeling to know that tonight I’m not eating chicken and rice, and having the left overs reheated for breakfast. It’s a good feeling.
More of the post-trip review later. It was fab. And now we’re back. Good.
And I am already halfway through the final ‘Rosemary the proofreader’s’ edit of On The Backfoot To Hell. Without a hurricane or flash flood I should make the 1 August deadline for publication. Am I excited? Yes. Is it going to change anything? No, probably not. Not without some marketing. That’s definitely going to happen this year. I’ll believe it when I see it, I hear you scoff.
Anyhow, it’s nice to be home … and I’m so glad you could join me. I hope you enjoyed the trip.