When I revisited Vietnam in recent years, after reporting from the region during the 1970s, I noted how its rulers had won their wars against France and the United States only to lose out on the economic front, as Communism put them a quarter century behind the roaring "tigers" of East Asia. Now they are struggling to catch up by offering their cheap labor to international investors.
The mayor of the Latvian capital city Riga, Nil Ushakov, stated yesterday in Moscow that for Latvia, "the best thing possible right now is President Vladimir Putin." His presence in Moscow and his comments about Putin illustrate how far the views of many Latvians diverge from the Western mainstream on relations between Russia and the West.
Many luxury travelers are skeptical about taking cruise vacations. They associate cruises with mediocre, calorific buffet food; cramped, ill-designed cabins; hoards of people with lines at every turn; not being able to get off the beaten path; and being nickeled and dimed for extras. If you are cruise avoidant, a voyage on the Crystal Symphony will dispel any such misgivings.