Waiting in the aisles


  • Oh to travel first class, just once. But for the time being, all most of us can afford to do is to pick our preferred spot in economy class. To help you visualise the plane or get your tactics right before checking in look at this link with an interior map of a Vietnam Airlines jumbo — the kind that flies to Paris and Sydney and so on — via Hanoi/ Newcastle blogger Gasenngo (currently on a blog sabbatical). You are recommended to “avoid rows 59-65 at the back of the plane, since the seats are slightly skewed and narrower due to the curvature of the fuselage” as well as the ones marked red  — that’s red for “danger”!!! Rows 10 and 20 look like winners but they are in fact half yellow (beware!) and half green (good) I guess ‘cos of the wailing babies, queues for the toilet and impromptu tai chi exercises that go on these days as everyone is afraid their legs will fall off mid-flight. Anyway, it’s given me an idea… I’d like to suggest to VN Airlines that you get to see the map when you check in, like in the cinema, so you can choose your seat, AND! — this is the good bit — it would be coded with different colours and symbols representing different kinds of classic customer profiles (of people who have already checked in that is)– Flashing red for mad drunk, purple for old people (Half red and half purple for mad or drunk old person), red heart for young single females, blue heart for young single men, pink question mark for sexually amiguous male individual, pink thumb’s up for definietly gay, flashing dollar sign for businessmen, beer glass for carousers, wine glass for bon vivants, flashing piece of tofu for vegetarians, a cross for Christian Missonaries…  and so on so forth. Then you could mix and mingle with the people YOU want to rather than have a frosty and solitary ‘hello’ with your random fellow passenger when flying long haul.

  • I tell you the old Hanoi Hilton or Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi must just be loving McCain’s campaign to be El Presidente of the US with all the worldwide and absolutely free publicity it’s getting. The septuagenarian war veteran as EVERYONE knows had a stint in the Hoa Lo and while in the capital tourists are now flocking there McCain’s former jailers, prison guards and warden are all enjoying the limelight and apparently also all rooting for him to pip that young upstart Obama to the post in the world’s greatest popularity contest. Or perhaps, should we should say, they’re ‘endorsing’ him (people like that word when it comes to US presidential campaigns): “If I had a vote in the U.S., I would choose McCain,” beams retired Col. Tran Trong Duyet, the camp’s former commander. “I want him in the White House.” Meanwhile his former cell guard, now a retired general, even suggested McCain owes him and Vietnam one: “We saved McCain’s life and treated him well,” he insisted with a broad smile. “And in return we think McCain will do something good for Vietnam.” Pictured above is the late Mai Van On with the former fighter pilot. On is said to have pulled McCain out of Truc Bach lake (with the help of others — see pic below) when the pilot parachuted in there after his plane was shot down in 1967. On then protected McCain — he already had three broken limbs — from an angry mob who were ready to, presumably, knock seven shades of shit out of him and toss him back in the lake. But thanks to On, he survived, though McCain, despite meeting On in 1996, never mentioned him in his autobiography, which means his widow will be endorsing that lovely young go-getter Barack Obama. Well not quite but kinda. From an old Daily Mail article: His widow, Bui Thi Lien, 71, said: “In his last years, my husband was very sad sometimes. He would say, ‘Mr McCain has forgotten me.’ Mr McCain would be dead if it weren’t for my husband. He would never have returned to his family and he wouldn’t be in the presidential race today.”


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