When we get to Hue tomorrow, I'll try to post about the trip here; I've been working on a post (with photos) along the way. It was a long but good trip. All the flights were on time, and I have a new airline to recommend highly. Already there are some good stories.
First impressions after only 90 minutes on the ground. The airport was a contradiction. From the runway side, it looked like something out of the 1960s, an impression helped more than a bit by the empty Quonset huts lining the runway and a crumbling wall emblazoned with a peace sign. At the same time, we landed in an Qatar Airway airbus 330, followed by a Lufthansa 747, and another 747 of a third airline. Fortunately, our plane's passengers were first to immigration, baggage claim, and customs.
Okay, I'll admit that it was something of a thrill to see a driver holding up a sign with out names on it. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I might be able to get used to that. We were underway to the hotel about a half hour after we landed. The driver said that at midnight he could make it from the airport to our hotel in 10 minutes but at other times it might take an hour. I can see now why none of the guidebooks recommended renting a car here. There were almost no private cars on the streets; most were commercial vehicles or taxis. And the number of little motorbikes? If you've been to Italy and seen the motorbikes on the streets of Rome, well, that doesn't even come close. And despite the almost total absence of traffic lights or stop signs, traffic flowed. There was honking and stopping and starting, but it flowed. The driver said one reason was a lack of bullying on the part of drivers. He explained that in the event of a traffic infraction, he would have to give the policeman his document folder, which would be returned to him with a smile but without the 15 US dollars folded into the paperwork.
Yeah, it's a different place, but there's wireless, and there's bottled water in the fridge. I don't think we need dinner having been fed quite well by Qatar Airways. I'm going to send e-mails now so folks know we got here and can look for something on this blog.