«  Xian has been the capital of China

Everything has been the capital of China – long, long history! Among the places we visited this time, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, Xian, Beijing ...

a capital excursion!

As for Vietnam, Saigon, Hue and Hanoi have all been capitals at some time. Even tiny Hoian was the commercial capital of the Champa state.

«  Hangchow was visited by Marco Polo ...

Our hotel was called Marco Polo. In the lobby we found a brochure claiming that he was actually from Korčula (or the Polo family was) making him a Croat. Oh well... According to the brochure, everybody is a Croat:

                     plus many famous ones, like Nikola Tesla and Ruđer Boskovic

«  tulat tuil tukang

In his novel "M/F", Anthony Burgess presents some Malay words that need long periphrases in English:

tulat the day after tomorrow
tuil carry weights on a stick over the shoulders, using a second stick to help balance
tukang a skilled worker

The day after tomorrow, the skilled worker will carry weights on a stick over the shoulders, using a second stick to help balance = three words in Malay.

The porter in the picture does tuil with two bamboo poles (you can see the helping stick above his right shoulder) All in all, a very efficient use of very simple technology, like making pulled noodles.

«  ... a new crop of rice.

Vietnam is the second exporter of rice in the world, after Thailand. Most of the country allows two crops a year, and the southern regions even three.

Another export they place second – after Brazil – is coffee. All the coffee I tried there was great; in general they drink it with sweetened concentrated milk, and often on ice.
It is mostly Robusta coffee, rather bitter, but, to me, very tasty. Recently they diversified to Arabica coffee, fancier mixes and cà phê chồn.

«  Longjing means Dragon Well ...

Some more bitching about the simplified Chinese script: the traditional "dragon"    is, at least, satisfactorily sinuous; but the simplified character looks like nothing at all! And, IMHO, it might be based on the radical  , meaning "weak" !

«  Ex machina Osagyefo appears

"Osagyefo" means "Redeemer" and was the title of Kwame Nkrumah. We also met Nkrumah in Beijing, at the famous Pecking Duck restaurant. There he was with Zhou Enlai on the wall above the receptionist, both young and smiling.

The duck was excellent, even beloved wife appreciated it, and she usually hates duck.

«  ... two famous poets were governors of Hangzhou ...

Bai Juyi, around 830
Su Dongpo, around 1100. This one started his career as sushi, and ended as a pork casserole (which we tasted on the shore of West Lake).

Besides, many other Chinese poests wrote about the beautiful lake: Lu You, Xin Qiji, Ouyang Xiu ...

«  ... a lot of jogging up and down hills on a tea plantation ...

Xiaoyin told us about her own "voluntary work" carrying fertilizer for tea plants, in the good old times.

«  ... a young lady

I really could not estimate Chinese age. One of our drivers looked to me 25, but was over forty. But maybe I say "young" because all the airport officials ran around eagerly, would not take any decision by themselves, and only had one shoulder stripe – junior officers, therefore young.

«  ... Halong ... 6000 islands and rocks, scattered in the South China Sea

The Vietnamese call it Eastern Sea, and quarrel with China about maritime rights and boundaries.

«  I squandered money ...

«  I, of course, had no money.

And very safely so. On the one occasion I was left with the wallet, I spent everything on useless stuff at the flea market, starting with Mao's red book.