In all truth, I was too excited to be going back to Vietnam for the first time since 2006 to get a whole lot of writing done on this Emirates flight. It’s a long jaunt from West Africa to South East Asia. I left Dakar late afternoon on 19 October and landed in Saigon late evening, local time, on 20 October.
Between Senegal and Dubai, I was surrounded on all sides by colour-coordinated pilgrims heading to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj.
However, this does (just) qualify as a desk I wrote my book on. Even though I’d planned this trip down to what I was going to do each hour of each day, months before I’d even bought the ticket for this journey. Even though I had several sheets of paper with that plan all worked out, with yellow highlighter marks. As the plane started to cross the Bay of Bengal, I felt a little guilty at not being more writerly during the long, long flight, so I got my notebook out.
I did get at least one sentence out of it. Plus, I managed to scrawl half a page of last minute planning notes to myself for the three weeks that lay ahead of me in Hanoi, Saigon and Tay Ninh. The good news is, by the end of the trip, the notebook you see in the picture at the top was completely full. But, more on that soon.