Yesterday I finally had to use the internet to figure out that it was actually Saturday and not Friday. This is one of the minor hassles of losing a day when you fly half-way around the world. Not only am I now on the right time and the right hour, my body is also starting to recognize the change.
On one of my frequent strolls around the plane, a woman asked what was wrong with my knee. (your basic middle-aged joint problem). Then she kneeled down and started working on the knee, massaging and probing and hitting all the right spots. She told me she was a Thai masseuse, going home to visit family. She worked absolute wonders on my knee and then again gave me a treatment shortly before we landed in Taipei.
At least the three hour flight from Taipei to Ho Chi Minh City was on one of those new 777’s; shear luxury. When I fly back, I will make sure I get on a 777 for those 14 hours back to California.
I mentioned “trying” to converse to the taxi driver because I had forgotten all my very basic Vietnamese while in California. I had big plans of taking out my language books so that I could at least try to refresh my market/restaurant/taxi vocabulary, but just never got around to it. But the most amazing thing has happened; it is all coming back. I’ll be walking down the street and a phrase will just pop into my head. Or I’ll be at the supermarket and turn to a clerk to ask a question and the words just fly out. We’re not talking anything other than basic survival language, but it is still there. The mind truly is amazing.
Next I went to my old apartment building in hopes of seeing a favorite neighbor. I wasn’t sure if he was even alive as he had been in his mid-80’s and getting a bit frail when I’d last seen him. Much to my great pleasure, not only was he alive and kicking but in better health than 3 years ago. We had a lovely chat before I went back to the hotel to wait for the water.
4pm is the witching hour for me when I have crossed too many time zones and datelines. It’s like someone has shot me with morphine although it doesn’t really feel anywhere near that pleasant. In fact not pleasant at all. I can’t move, can’t keep my eyes open and finally just lie down. The hours are all a big mess to me, but I think I got up at 3am and left the hotel at 6am looking for food.
When I moved to this part of town in 2005, it was quite deserted. A lot of apartment complexes had gone up, and there was construction on every block, but that was about it. One supermarket existed and it was rather dismal. A few tiny eateries, that I would never dine in were scattered here and there, and I don’t think there was one hotel. What I did like is that there was very little traffic, even on the main highway that ran through the middle of this new part of town. Oh my gosh; things have change.
I’ve spent the past few days visiting friends and have been into town twice. Today I am staying in. I do have a mini-fridge in the room which is nice except you have to remember that the electricity cuts off when you leave the room, so what you store has to be limited to non-very-perishables. I was able to find regular light bulbs to replace the florescent bedside lights. (this only took two days and about 5 hours of walking around the entire city to find.)
I’ve managed to get over my initial fear of using my costly, brand new, DSLR camera. I’m still having a bit of trouble figuring out where I have stored the photos on my computer. I’m still questioning if lugging around a high-dollar camera was a smart move. I can’t just whip it out of my bag and throw it back in. I haven’t yet figured out exactly how to walk around town with it. Do I keep it in my shoulder bag which is really not comfortable or do I put it in a back pack which is really not as safe? Did I spend a fortune on an impractical piece of equipment, or is it really the apparatus that I have been dreaming about owning for years? I’m hoping it is the latter.