In November, 2012, I took a break from writing about Napoleon to travel in Southeast Asia, visiting Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It was primarily a bicycling trip, and, I assure you, my equipment was higher quality than what you see above in the photo snapped in the picturesque fields of Vietnam. Here’s another method of travel I definitely enjoyed.
During this trip, as always, I kept an eye out for references to Napoleon (or even Napoleon III, knowing that he had started France’s aggressive colonialism in SE Asia in the 1850’s). I didn’t find much.
For example, downtown Hanoi still has some colonial French architecture, but at the famous Hotel Metropole, while the doorman says, “Bonjour” with a credible accent, that’s the extent of his French language skills.
Finally, after three weeks of travel, as I waited in the Hanoi airport for my flight home, I came across this image of Napoleon on a bag of coffee. I think the best translation for the quote on the package is, “Without coffee, politics loses its soul.” I’d be happy to hear other suggestions.