Need backpacker insurance? Save money with this World Nomads Promotional Code!
One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

backpacks bulging with emery boards, cotton buds and conditioner. I tried to convince myself that the Melia was rather sterile, isolated and soulless compared to your average travellers' guesthouse, but secretly I am still on the lookout for free Air Miles. It appears that the Air Miles Company has tightened up their rather liberal policy of a year ago, with most rewards now requiring a purchase. Probably due to too many freeloaders like myself.

Spent most of the day trawling DVD shops. As in most of South East Asia, thanks to the blatant lack of copyright laws you can get the latest DVDs and CDs in shops for about a dollar. In fact, the Vietnamese have a certain fervour for cloning anything, be it designer clothes, sunglasses, or even an oil-on-canvas reproduction of the Mona Lisa. If they can sell it, they'll copy it.

So we retired once more to our dark cell, hiring a DVD player and sitting through 'Sin City', the dark and violent adaptation of a graphic novel (or, as I like to call them, "comics"), and a sick but compelling Korean film called Oldboy. The latter comes recommended, but have a something handy to puke into for the ending.

Frankly, it's shocking behaviour to rot in a room staring at the box when there are, er, dead Communist leaders to see. But I don't care. I