Tag Archives: Seattle

Time Passed. Quickly.

Sorry about that, the long interval I mean. I have been busy and so much has happened I can’t even think where or when to start. My creative juices, such as they are, dried up after a trip to Cheoung Ek, aka The Killing Fields, outside Phnom Penh which was such a shattering blow to my psyche that I completely dried up. I still cannot find the right words but from what I hear the movie of the same name conveys the emotions quite well. I cannot recommend it as I have not seen it but it might be on TV and there is always Netflix.

I will attach my last blog to the end of this one. It may be confusing as it will be a sort of flash back, but you might be interested.

Onward then with the journey, which I might add is continuing. I am currently at 40,000 feet over Dushanbe and Samarkand (hello again).

To Can Tho I went, an interesting little town deep in the Mekong Delta. I thought I would be bored but no, it was great. Exotic springs to mind and I was so slowed down by then that I sat, quite happily, watching the river traffic, dodging monsoon storms and drinking tea for hours and hours. There were of course tourist attractions, the dawn floating market, the enormous bridge, and the Christmas carols. Yes Christmas carols. Seems the whole country goes crazy for the Holiday, carols blast out from bars and restaurants, Santas ride around on scooters, there are trees (plastic), decorations everywhere, Christmas cards are sold on the street from impromptu stalls, it was all a bit baffling in what I thought was a Buddhist Country.

A boat then to the island of Phu Quok which turned out to be the best place for my final week. Extremely relaxed, no hassle anywhere, great food, lovely people and a beach with warm water. I met a couple from Linz, Austria on the boat ride over and we all stayed at the same eco hotel. Tim and Danielle (from Koh Samet) turned up coincidently and many an evening was spent at the beach bar.

Too soon it was time to go back to Saigon, do my Christmas shopping and make my way to Seattle for Christmas with the family. They kind of insisted that I should attend so I did. They are family after all so they have rights. I had been dreading my last night in the East for weeks, kind of a chapter closing, but my friends Ursi and Robert, from Austria, were also in town and they invited me for dinner. It was their seventh ‘Toothbrush Day’ so celebrations were in order. Toothbrush Day? I was perplexed. It marked the day seven years before that Ursi had put her toothbrush in Robert’s tooth mug. How charming is that! What a lovely couple, it was so sad to say goodbye the next day, but we are in touch on the Facebook and somehow I will get myself to Linz one day, maybe on another Toothbrush Day.

Long, long airplane ride to Seattle and arriving realized I was in Saigon clothes and this was Seattle, in December, I got some very funny looks. Huge build up to Christmas, shopping, wrapping, cooking, all the usual stuff but interesting to spend the first one at the house of one of my children. I guess the baton has been passed on. That’s ok. I won’t go into all the family fun but suffice it to say it was absolutely fabulous. Twenty five around the table, crackers, hats, tons of food, flaming puddings, gifts, a one year old who started walking, leftovers, nice wine, some rum and cokes. Marvelous time.

Then it was all a bit busy for the resumption my journey. To Marin to sort a few things out, fix computers, see friends etc. Then back to Seattle for the cheap flight to Frankfurt, and Edinburgh to stay with my Sister Sally. Another great time, I love Edinburgh, cold though, very, very cold. More great times with old school friend in York, to London to stay with an old room mate, more fun, it snowed. I had a lovely lunch beside the River Thames with my Sister in Law Vicky and her husband Terry. Then to my Mother’s in Winchester for a week before getting on this plane back to Bangkok. Thanks you everyone back there, you were all so generous, friendly and accommodating. I will miss you all.

Now you are up to date and I am halfway from Paris to Bangkok and over Islamabad. I did get a bit anxious before a sleep that our route was taking us over Eastern Ukraine and Crimea, but when I woke up, still alive, I saw that we had taken a huge swoop to the South. Something of a relief. What’s next? A few days in Bangkok to recover from this marathon then to Sangkhlaburi, up near the border with Myanmar to see Luca, Juli, Amalie and Paolina where they have been working at an orphanage since September and our stay at Koh Samet. Apparently I shall be teaching English. I’m looking forward to that.

Does this make any sense at 40,000 feet? I hope so. I’m going to go to sleep again so see you in Bangkok.

I arrived at 6.00am, the height of the rush hour and the legendary traffic jams did not disappoint. I was greeted with many smiles and welcome backs at the hotel and of course the hand clasping, which I now know to be called a wai, plus I am almost brave enough to say ‘sah wah dee kap, Hi or hello.

Onward then to who knows where or what but I have a plan for the next few weeks so stay tuned and lets hope the jet lag doesn’t last too long.

NB. A meeting of the Editorial Staff voted for the last blog post to be posted separately. I will abide by their decision!

A lady selling drinks to stall holders at the Floating Market. Can Tho.

A lady selling drinks to stall holders at the Floating Market. Can Tho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floating Market. Can Tho

Floating Market. Can Tho

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone was very busy.

Everyone was very busy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure what happened here but the colours went berserk at sunset on Phu Quok.

Not sure what happened here but the colours went berserk at sunset on Phu Quok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Tree in Saigon. Just a little over the top.

A Christmas Tree in Saigon. Just a little over the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traffic. Saigon.

Traffic. Saigon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping at the Main Market. Saigon.

Shopping at the Main Market. Saigon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toothbrush Day Dinner.

Toothbrush Day Dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun set on 2014. Happy 2015.

The sun set on 2014. Happy 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way to Thanksgiving in Seattle.

Thanksgiving. Here I am at SFO’s T2, the greatest terminal in the US to endure a two hour delay. For a start the lighting is non glare, there is a reliance on natural light, there are all sorts of restaurants, burgers to high end dining, there is a wine bar, the candy store is jammed and the announcements are quite humorous. Nearly everyone is on some sort of gadget, I see one newspaper reader and one magazine reader. The majority are watching movies on laptops or tablets or texting furiously, some are doing both at the same time. There is of course free wifi for all and the connection speed is decent to good. Oh look, there is a person reading a book, a book, one with pages,that turn, how quaint. Over there is a Best Buy / Currys vending machine and people are actually using it. External hard drives, cables, camera memory chips, iPods, phones, and digital cameras, good ones.
The delay turned into two and a half hours but it really wasn’t too helatious, sat back and watched old episodes of NCIS courtesy of Amazon, free, using a shared Prime account, free second day shipping as well! Eventually we boarded, using something called “the six hour rule” we got upgraded and had to endure the Walk of Shame through the gate fleas as we were summoned to embark first. (gate fleas, those who gather round the desk at the gate, for no apparent reason). Seats are good, kinda like armchairs, extending foot rest, reclining of course, tiny screens that pop up between us though were the heck you plug the headphones in I have no idea. There is the ubiquitous map, we are halfway up Oregon coming up on Eugene. The food has got worse, there is no meatless option which causes much amazement and the only meaty option is a rather nasty Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with pressed turkey. I am sticking to gin and tonic.
What is great about flying to Seattle is that, once airborne, it takes no time at all. None of this ten hours to Heathrow or fifteen hours to Hong Kong. The drudgery doesn’t set in, there is barely time to watch the whole of a movie, no time for a nap, it will be touch and go whether I finish this gin. It is about a ninety minute ride. But, when you factor in travel to the Airporter bus, the bus, check in, security, bag claim, ride to destination, and of course delays, we are looking at about ten hours door to door. This seems unreasonable as you can drive from San Francisco to Seattle in twelve hours. No idea how to improve it though.
We are descending, like I said its a really short flight. Next is baggage claim, a ride into town and a somewhat delayed arrival at Nat and Erin’s house on Capital Hill in the wacky side of Seattle.
See you there.

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Arrived to the pumpkin pie baking. Mmm