Monday, December 26, 2011

San Francisco, on the way to Asia

It was a wonderful Christmas. Santa came early and left gifts and filled stockings - incredibly we actually found some bits of carrots that the reindeer didn't finish on the front steps - wow! I read The Night Before Christmas same as I have for the past 25 Christmas eves. And the magic of Christmas and our little family.

We stayed at Charles' house, so were with David and Charles most of the time (Charles was on-call, hence working
on and off through Christmas eve and day). We all cooked and hung out and walked around the neighborhood (Castro and Noe Valley). David and Charles made a roast, curry, macaroni and cheese, souffles and I baked two pecan pies.

Leslie and I did our usual San Francisco trip ... trolleys and buses all over creation. Look at that! Yeah, Look at that building ... house ... garden ... trolley ... person - over and over again. Look! Look!

Photo: And look at that pecan pie Leslie and David are holding! Taken with camera David and Charles gave us.

Of course we made it to Good Luck Dim Sum. Of course we found new (to us) bus routes. Of course we went to Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. Of course we found new places and new marvels. over and over again ... Look! Look! Of course we made it to new places and new marvels.

We wanted to be sure we didn't wear out our welcome and so moved from Charles' house at the junction of Noe Valley and The Castro to David's apartment waaay up the hill in Diamond Heights/Twin Peaks. So here we are with San Francisco and the Bay spread out before us diamond lights in the night and fog in the morning. We're leaving tomorrow night for Hong Kong. Leslie has (again) gotten us brilliant seats on that big Cathay Pacific 747 - at the back of the plane where the fuselage begins tapering and there isn't room for three seat rows, so we're in one of three rows on each side of the plane with two seats + space between the seats and the bulkhead to stretch our legs. Niice.

Photo: David and Charles outside of David's apartment

I'm reading one of the books I've been saving for travel - Jon Krakauer's Eiger Dreams. Here is something from the chapter titled On Being Tentbound: "Being tentbound isn't wholly
an ordeal. The first few hours can pass in a dreamy euphoria while you lie peacefully in your sleeping bag, watching raindrops trickle down the outside of the translucent fly, or the snowdrifts slowly climb the walls." Exactly so. Cozy in my tiny space, glad I did a good job of getting stakes in and reinforcing them with rocks (the wind blows hard in the Wind Rivers), rearranging my stuff, getting ready for the short dash to the overhanging rock where I'll brew up some coffee or hot chocolate - ahhhh.

On the road again.
(The following written before the preceding - what can I say but that it's the internet) It's Sunday. I stayed home from church to prune the roses and get the yard squared away in general. Last night I did a good close-to-final packing so that I have all my stuff + our medicine bag + the "kitchen" and electronics box (coffee, sugar, heater, plugs adapters, etc.) in a medium-size roller. I also have a carry-on daypack with a laptop, books, weeks worth of medicine, etc. in it. There's also a shoulder bag which we'll leave in Cali. Leslie has a shoulder bag and a carry-on bag. Summary: check one bag, carry on the rest.

Photo: What a great trolley coming up the F Line! I think it's one of the ones from Cincinnati or Baltimore (SF bought old trolleys from various places and volunteers restored them).

The past few days I've felt occasional waves of euphoria as the trip gets closer
and closer and and it's two days before we leave.
Tuesday. Last night we talked more about the sense of adventure with this trip.

"Whole generations of westerners who went out there as soldiers, doctors, planters, or journalists lost their hearts to these lands of the Mekong ... there are places that take over a man's soul." Jon Swain

Leslie feeling waves of anxiety and euphoria. Me too. This feels like an adventure. The route is not untraveled (San Francisco, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hue, Dalat(?), Saigon, Can Tho(?), Chau Dac(?), Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, BK, HK, SF), but still, given our ages, every trip has the distinct potential of being the last. And, even in these days of bottled clean water and plenty of aircon guesthouses, there's some of what some people would see as somewhat hard traveling in that route + it's hot, and maybe, hopefully raining some. At this stage of the game it's a challenging trip. Like the Sherpas say, Ever Onward!

These lands of the Mekong ...

1 comment:

Alison said...

Merry Christmas Charles & Leslie xx Lovely to hear you're off on another SEA adventure! Safe and happy travels :)