A decent cup of tea

A decent cup of tea

Oh sweet mother of all hell I’m dying. The Beatles once sang “tomorrow may rain so, I’ll follow the sun” – actually they probably sang it more than once. Well for the last three days Gemma and I have been literally doing that. We’ve flown from Hanoi to Bangkok, Bangkok to Doha, Doha to Sao Paulo, and now we’re on the last stretch from Sao Paulo to Lima. And we’ve not experienced night the whole time! Flight time alone has taken 32 hours, we spent a couple of hours in Doha and 9 in Sao Paulo. Most of the flights have been with Qatar who offer outstanding service, tasty and flowing food and drink, an on demand entertainment system and comfort items such as blankets and pillows.

This final flight is with Taca who offer a runny egg with spam and one Spanish film.

Over the last three days I’ve watched 5 episodes of Modern Family, 1 episode of Friends, 1 Family Guy, 1 The Cleveland Show, 4 The Simpsons, 1 Futurama, 1 How I Met Your Mother and 1 New Girl. I’ve watched Little Voice, Arbitrage, Rock of Ages, The Watch, The Beach and something with Meryl Streep. I’ve watched The Killers do a live set, Take That on their comeback tour and Coldplay at Glastonbury. I’ve played Gemma at several onboard quizzes only to find out that broadly we’re of equal intelligence, and I’ve read some Middle Eastern news.

Oh, and we’ve travelled over half the world crossing a ridiculous amount of countries and many seas.

And only is it now, now we’re on this final 5.30 hour flight that I really feel like I need a decent cup of tea. The air in the last plane made both mine and Gemma’s lips crack, gave us cold sores, made our noses hard and scabby, ears hurt and I’ve been informed that Gemma’s head may or may not explode. We need caffeine.

Oh hang on the stewards coming… Nope. He gave us a stale roll each. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry.

I’m not even picky about what kind of tea they give me – masala, ginger, green, good old breakfast, that yellow stuff that comes free with everything in Cambodia and Vietnam. Anything. Just calm me, soothe me, relax me. Make me feel good.

I realise that this blog has been mainly a whiny moaning session so far, so let’s make this productive… Here are my favorite cuppas, tea or coffee, from Nepal, India, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam:

Fruit tea: I didn’t choose this but it’s what they had. And you don’t turn down an offer of free tea. I didn’t hate it but I questioned its caffeine content. Caffeine’s important in a cuppa.

Yellow murky tea: This comes with any dish you order in some of Hanoi and Phnom Penh’s finest cheap restaurants. I don’t know what it is and it doesn’t taste of much but damn you you’ll drink it because you don’t want to offend the locals!

Yellow cold murky tea: This is the same as the one above but with ice in it. I’d recommend you request the hot one if only for water safety reasons.

Canned iced coffee: We drank this every morning before work in Phnom Penh. It was really hot in those little classrooms so convenient canned iced coffee was a treat! And the caffeine content was remarkably high.

Khmer iced coffee: Refreshing iced coffee with condensed milk in it, best served next to a swimming pool or on the beach.

Green tea: If you ask Gemma what she wants to drink and she says ‘surprise me’, you’d best not surprise her with a green tea. She wasn’t happy, and to be fair I did know she didn’t like green tea. But like I’ve said before, I just like surprises so much!

Masala tea: Ah masala tea. The grandaddy of tea. I love masala tea, and I’m so sorry to all my friends back in England, but I think this beats English tea. Watch my Facebook friend count go down now.

Ginger tea: When you can’t find masala tea, buy ginger tea. Add hot water, a tiny bit of milk and lots of pepper. It sounds rubbish but it’s a pretty good substitute. We learnt this in the Jaisalmer desert, not a place you’d normally expect people to be picky with their tea.

Good old breakfast tea: When it happens it feels like a blessing. We arrived in Hanoi to meet our friend Tatch who’s an English teacher there. He’s northern. He lives in a house. Therefore he has tea.

Hang on…. Could this be happening. The stewards coming down the isle again with his trolley. Hang on…

YES!!! I am now the proud owner of a cup of tea. He didn’t speak English and I had to practically steal the milk from him but in front of me I now have a cup of decent English tea. I want to hug the steward. I don’t know if that’s acceptable in his culture though as we’ve not yet bought a lonely planet.

No, I’d best not hug him, but it’s probably fine to steal his milk.

I feel a lot more relaxed now. I’ve finished my tea and they’re telling us to put away our electronical devices. For me that is you guys.

I’ve enjoyed telling you all about the cups of tea we’ve been enjoying and enduring. Let me know if you can think of anymore I might like. I’ve not slept for 3 days and right now any subject beyond hot calming drinks is beyond me so I beg of you, no comments other than tea related ones…

Now I’m getting a bit hassled for not turning this thing off fast enough… Ta!


Well, we’ve landed in Lima and it’s foggy. So much for following the sun… nice one Beatles.

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