Nov 22, 2006

No more needles - yay

That's right, we are finally entering the home stretch and the Vietnam trip start-line is in sight. Leading up to this we have done a few days of shots, all of which generally leave a person feeling a bit run-down. Influenza, Typhoid, Hep B (don't ask about Hep A, I contracted it in Peru and I am now "lucky" enough to have developed lifetime immunity) a booster shot for Polio/Tetanus/Polio and Dukoral, an oral anti-traveler's diarrhea/cholera treatment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining (well I could complain about the outrageous costs involved) its just that the shots run you down a bit and I just don't get run-down very often so I will be glad when the needles are a distant memory.

More travel prep stuff. I went into two banks the other day, looking for a good exchange rate to switch some Cdn dollar over to US dollar. I was surprised to see one of the Big 5 banks quote me $850US for $1000CDN and a much smaller community bank quote me $883US for $1000CDN. They are located two minutes apart, guess which bank I am drawing cash out of and which bank I am going to get my US dollar at.

The cycling training is going ok but not at the intensity I wanted leading up to our departure. Things were going quite well until I got the first round of needles and my plan was to put myself through some serious hurt but the needles have left me a but flat. Still just over a week left to amp it up. I rode for an hour today and just didn't have the punch I should have. Thursday I am ignoring the needle effect and hittin' it.

Funny story... Tonight we stopped by a supermarket to get some fruit and milk etc. I go in by myself leaving Doreen and the boys in the Pilot. As I go through the checkout the express clerk sees part of my t-shirt which is this year's 24 Hours of Adrenalin shirt. He says "cool, did you do that, I've been thinking about doing it" I say "you should it's fun on a five man team, this was my third time doing it" he says "are you going to do it again" I say "yeah but this time I'm going to be doing it solo, which means I'm going to race my mountain bike for 24 hours by myself" he freezes, completely, then unlocks his jaw and says "why would you do it by yourself, don't you have any friends?". Now that is some classic stuff.

Coffee. I've been roasting up a blend recently that I am becoming quite fond of. It is an 80/10/10 split of the Brazilian Beccor lot 141, India Mysore Nuggets and Ethiopian Harrar (either the Harrar Horse or Makeda Harrar). It is a rich, full bodied, spicy, cabernet sauvignon like experience. If you are roasting and have the beans I highly recommend it on the Aeropress. What else do I have in the cupboard? A batch of a 50/50 split of the Ethiopian DP Harrar and Guatemala Trapichitos and I also have a batch of the Panama Carmen Estate. I don't have any dedicated espresso blends at the moment, everytime I roast one up I end up giving it away to a friend or acquaintance before I get to taste it. I suppose I could pull a couple of shots of the DP Harrar/Guat Trapichitos. For upcoming green's? Currently I am quite anxious to see if I get the 10lbs of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Idido "Misty Valley" green delivered to the doorstep before we get on the plane. This bean is distributed by Greg through the GCBC (thanks Greg for all your hard work) and is a one of a kind bean. It is a Dry Process Yirgacheffe and is producing claims of perfect strawberries, lemon, butter, honey and spice. Counter Culture Coffee does a good write-up of this bean and its uniqueness and if you can't roast your own, CCC is a great company to buy roasted beans from. In my opinion they produced the best tasting espresso shots at the SCAA convention in Charlotte, NC earlier this year.

What's left? I guess it would be me finishing up this post so I can book the Hanoi hotel. I'm booking it for three nights, leaving a gap for a potential 2day/1night trip out to Halong Bay with an overnight on the Chinese Junk, then finishing up the remainder of Hanoi in another hotel perhaps. For now I concede defeat, the research and comparisons of strengths and weaknesses of over 100 Hanoi hotels has finally got to me. I book the Hanoi piece tonight!