I'm off to Hanoi, Vietnam on a four-day junket. I never put my name in the hat for junkets because they tend to be very businessy affairs, hosted by chambers of commerce who want to drum up investment or a company wanting to show off the production lines in a spanking new factory. The last junket a reporter went on just a couple of weeks ago involved a long-haul flight just to admire a new transit train.
The days you're absent from work when you're on the trip comes out of your vacation time. And worse, you're sometimes expected to write an article on the trip when you get back. So thanks but no thanks. I can just about sub business-type stories but I can't write them.
And then this Hanoi junket came up, and the chief sub did let on that it was hosted by a hotel. Which means it's hardly a business-type thing but a lifestyle thing. You know, nice resort, good food, maybe even a spa. I could live with that.
On top of that, it came at a time when I had just returned to work after a month away on holiday. I wasn't in a mood to knuckle down and get to work so I put my name in the hat for the junket draw. And I got it.