We started out at a disadvantage.
Most travel guides recommend allocating at least three months to explore this region. Unfortunately, we were limited to one paltry month; not nearly enough time to fully explore everything. This meant that we had to be selective.
Instead of slowly winding our way from south to north, we had to leapfrog across the country.
We made arrangements to stay in
When it was all said and done, we had taken a total of 14 flights.
Lord knows I love to travel. And that I love airplanes. But at
However, I must say that during one flight, I had one of the most exhilirating experiences of my life. On the way to Bangkok, I frequently looked at my passenger in-flight navigation display. At one point, we were flying over Afghanistan. Granted, we were some 40,000 feet above it, but what a rush. As I've read a lot about Afghanistan's sad history, it was oddly fulfilling for me to be in somewhat proximity. Yes, I was at just about the safest distance. But nonetheless, a cool feeling.
After as much research as we could muster, we were confident and ready for Vietnam. The anxiety dissipated and we were excited to get on the ground and explore.
We had made two resolutions. One was based on the prevailing exchange rate. The other was due to a recent development.
Since one US dollar was equal to 16,000 Vietnamese Dong, we resolved to get a massage every day. Do the math. This had the potential to be an amazing bargain.
Also, bird flu had recently emerged in Vietnam.
With that in mind, we had decided to eat as much chicken and pet as many wild birds as possible.
(I can't take credit for the bird flu joke. Thanks Roger.)