Before the Trip
There were tight deadlines and uncertainties right up
until the departure date. This is a blog entry posted just a couple of days
before the beginning of the trip:
"All of the visas are finally complete and in hand, five
days before departure for Eric, three days before for Will.
"Will's passport had be delivered to and from Canada. Russia, China, and Belarus visas were all obtained from Canada,
with the passport sent directly from one consulate to the next by
"Eric's was able to stay in London, but he also had to get a Vietnam visa.
The good news is that the Vietnam visa no longer needs to be so specific.
The visa is good for one month and it is not necessary to leave on a
specific date. Border points are also not required to be specified any more.
"This is good because Eric's return flight from Hanoi to Europe is not very
secured. Vietnam Airlines' UK and USA offices appear to be staffed by people
who know nothing about the airline business. A call directly to Hanoi was
able to produce a reservation number for a one-way flight from Hanoi to
Paris. The good news is that their one-way tickets are true prices, that is,
one-half of a return flight price, in this case US $775. The bad news is
that they do not accept phone payments; Eric must pay in the office in Hanoi
in person, complete with passport and signatures. Furthermore, they can only
hold the seat until January 6. He cannot call before then to extend the
reservation, but must call on the 6th, from Beijing. Apparently, there
"should" be no problem to hold the seat the extra few days. Eric is sticking
with this plan because the next cheapest flight options cost at least an
"Most other travel arrangements are complete. Winter boots and coats will be
purchased in Moscow, cheap ones that can be traded away as they head further
south through China. These are not available or very expensive where we
"It's starting to get exciting. The coolest thing for Eric is how the
journey will begin. He regularly takes the Tube all over London. This trip
will begin the same way. It will be an experience to ride the subway as
usual, but this time knowing that the destination is Hanoi rather than
Leicester Square. Even the second train is a fairly routine Eurostar journey
under the English Channel, made more exciting knowing the final destination.
"Eric - from London"