Thursday, March 26, 2020

Safer In The Driveway

We got back to Middle California, still on March 4th, made our way to the camper storage facility, got things going in Le Sport, and then drove to Gilroy, south of San Jose (we know the way...) where we would spend the next 12 days in relative isolation, at least not endangering daughter Rebecca and family, and her job. There, despite extreme jet lag, we managed to get most of the camper systems going and also stock up, a bit. Interestingly, there were no shortages in Gilroy when we arrived...that quickly changed. When the Bay Area lock-down appeared imminent, Rebecca called for us to come up to Menlo Park, which we did on March 16th. We have been in her driveway since. And for the foreseeable future. "Foreseeable" has become a very short time-frame, right? Or possibly not. Rebecca and Penelope have been in distance "learning" for more than a week. Everything now is at a distance. I'm reminded of the "action at a distance" articles I read in graduate school.

Anyhow, we will not be traveling in the foreseeable future, except for walks in the immediate neighborhood. And since this is a travel blog, mostly, there will not be many new posts in the immediate future. I will be editing past posts, especially from 2008-2009, when I didn't do many pix, and maybe doing some fictional posts (!) (why not?), but, apart from such, the blog will go quiet for a while. Be safe! Be healthy! Be humane!
In Gilroy, Le Sport among the big rigs

Beginning to make lists

More developed lists


Isolated girl, singing to the garden

Old part that needs to be replaced

Old part that, please, God, will not need to be replaced (we
ordered a spare anyhow)

Finishing the national parks puzzle with Grandma

Face mask brought directly from Vietnam

Safer in the driveway; among our projects is to remove the rippled window

Thus; I added the solsticial lighted wreath with the thought that, with light, there  is hope

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Adieu Vietnam, And Asia

March 3rd we took the taxi back to Danang, then flew to Ho Chi Minh City, and then to Singapore, the last stop on our southeast Asian campaign. We were ready to leave. HCMC was the only major destination on our itinerary we had not visited before. And the deteriorating situation in the US only added to our hurry. We were glad to get out, regardless of the uncertainties still before us.
Danang airport: I wonder who built those revetments?

Big city

Over southern Vietnam

Rivers converging, approaching the delta, Ho Chi Minh City

A golf course?



Landmark 81 building, tallest in Vietnam

Welcome to HCMC; at this point, we were thinking only of the lounge and
the trips onward...

In Singapore, our weirdest and most expensive accommodations yet...the Yotel,
in the Jewel, at Changi Airport...we did not want to miss the next day's flight!

No, the weird lighting did not change

At least it was in the Jewel

Adieu, Asia

More Scenes Of Pretty Hoi An

One of many temples

World Heritage sewer grate

Interior of one of the restored old houses

Happy Buddha

Extreme kissing alley

Food truck/motorbike

Mixed grill for lunch 

So French

Japanese Bridge

Us, there

Beautiful place

Scenes of Pretty Hoi An

We had planned on several days in Hoi An, another World Heritage site, a small old port city that was defined over the centuries by Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, then Portuguese and French cultures. And then the port silted up and trade activity passed to Danang. Even the war passed Hoi An by, amazingly--both sides apparently agreeing not to contest it--and what remains is a lovely, if somewhat touristy old city reflecting all those bygone cultures, as well the Vietnamese. We arrived there via the train and taxi on March 1.

That was the plan. But news of the spreading contagion in the US, and concern that our government would close borders before we could return at the end of March, convinced us that it was time to cut our southeast Asia trip short and get back to the States, our doctors and clinic and pharmacy, and a support system that spoke English. Our original return flight would have taken us through Tokyo (!), but Vicki managed to change that, finding a direct United flight from Singapore to San Francisco. And so we spent two days in Hoi An, doing some sightseeing but mostly making those arrangements, before flying March 3 first to Ho Chi Minh City and then to Singapore. March 4 we made the 14 hour trip back to SFO.

Apart from my usual random walks, we spent one good day seeing old Hoi An, and the pix below mostly reflect that day. We very much regretted not spending more time in this interesting place.
Tour boats along the river

Street scenes

So bespoke tailors are all over southeast Asia--3 suits, 6 pants, 4 shirts, $200,
2 hours (I exaggerate a bit)--but nowhere did it seem more stylish than in
Hoi An

One of many old, renovated buildings

Old city well

Motorbike shopping in the market

Personally, I prefer my pizza with anchovies, or if shrimp, peeled and de-veined;
arranged anti-clockwise

We had banana pancake in Laos; not all that great; never did get
to mango pancake

Favorite Hoi An t-shirt

Where we got our last Vietnamese haircuts and pedicure

Our hotel at night

So Hoi An is a bit moist, and when we observed a couple
mosquitoes in our room, the hotel provided us with this