Our Vietnam Blog
January 1: So our Air Canada plane lifted off from Toronto and suprised us by heading North East. So we did theoretically experience New Years Eve multiple times, but alas the plane was silent on the matter. Monica and I did get to kiss in the New Year in an approximate fashion. Food on Air Canada was decent and wines were pleasant enough. I had the black cod accompanied by a spanish red. The two whiles were a california chardonny that was too raw and a Phelman Sauvignon Blanc. Monica went right for the red meat and was satisfied. She too had the Spanish red. Poor Monica's TV was on the fritz and they were unable to get it right - So I valiantly switched seats - after all you dont need a great picture to watch "Cowboys and Aliens" or the "Help" . We both watched the latter and give it postive reviews.
Sleeping was great. Our flight being 13+ hours we had time to lay flat and sleep for 4-6 hours, aided by "mothers little helper". Woke up around 3pm, had omlettes for breakfast and landed in Beijing only a little late. The Beijing airport was modern, well designed and AMOST EMPTY. We lined up a few times to be inspected and had to go through security once with no problems. Duty free had chinese products that were different, but most items were expensive. We found the China Air First class lounge and had a few dim sum items before boarding our BUS to our plane.
Now just figured out that Beijing is one hour ahead of HCM. So the plane flight we thought was 3 hours actually is 5. We are on a 777 with a 8 seat business class. Only 3 of us here and we are being treated well. Our wine selction to go with our seafood rice dinner was a Chateau Sun God 2008 from China. Now lets see what Dean can find out about that. Our tasting notes describe it as somewhere between a cheap Greek wine and an inexpessive Niagara wine (from 10 years ago). It was straw coloured with a bit of sweetness, a hint of saviagnon blanc. We enjoyed it. The food started with a brown nutty tasting tofu on one plate; dried fish with tamarind taste and that was followed by a dish of sizzling spicy shrimp in a sweet sauce accompanied by mushrooms, wilted green beans and soem type of fish - perhaps Albone. Dessert included fruit (dragon and others), chocolate cake and tea.
Our flight attendant is attentive. It is our first experience on the trip where language is just a bit of an issue. But we are getting by.
So now our challenge is to stay awake until we get to our hotel sometime after midnight. We figure if can do this the shift in time zones may be less dramatic. BUT tomorrow's blog will be the test to see if we are groggy - or even show up!
Before closing we also want to observe on the existential experience of flight into the unknown. Our plane flew completely across the North of Russia and then swooped south towards Beijing. Outside we saw mountains that were not as rugged as our Rockies, but certainly a challenge to travellers. As decended into Beijing we saw many rows and rows of apartment like buildings and similar factory structures. Also saw the lights of many super highways with cars racing about - few traffic jams perhaps because it was January 1st. Most of our planemates were asian and that was even more so as we negotiated the airport. We are in a different part of our world, but strangely it is not too distant or strange yet. Son David pegged me as looking like a rich tourist, but be assured our asian co-travellers looked much more prosperous and decked out than either Monica or I.
HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL!