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Published: March 17th 2008
We got back this morning and have been reading the blog -- it seemed like we hadn't been here for ages and had seen and done so much but then we walked into the house and it seemed like we had just left. I don't know if I am happy to be home but I don't feel unhappy -- life goes on -- we had a break from routine and now we have to go back to work and other things like cleaning the house and doing tons and tons of washing because all our belongings are infused with the smell of our not entirely successful fire in Sapa -- and that includes everything we bought and also gifts (and probably includes us as well -- but with all the spicy food, fish sauce and garlic, that is hard to say). Reading about the trip, I see I wrote a lot of disinformation, and didn't write about many things at all, plus I did get some things confused but I am obviously not going to rewrite. I might just have a summing up of the trip and post some more photos which I am uploading now.
Looking back, it is
difficult to say which place was best -- all were best! Every place we got to was even better than the last and because we didn't rush it too much, by the time we left we felt quite at home and comfortable, even knew where we were going most of the time. Vietnam was definitely the highlight of our trip because it is so varied, beautiful, interesting, fascinating -- takes a little bit of time to get into the swing of things but it is definitely a very addictive place. I hope to return in the not too distant future -- but maybe that isn't very realistic. The last two days in Bangkok were great fun and after saying that I have been there enough I have changed my mind and think I would like to visit again and go to the islands again, plus spend more time in Bangkok itself -- it seems you never get enough -- many people don't like Bangkok but I am not one of them -- I have always liked it. Maybe revisit Burma, visit Cambodia, there is always China -- endless possibilities -- mustn't forget beautiful Europe too -- still lots of places
I haven't been to there and I never did make it to America or South America or Canada either. The world is a big place -- hope we have it for a while longer -- I read that Hanoi (and Saigon) are the most polluted places in Asia after Beijing and Shanghai and I did seem to have some problems with breathing in Hanoi -- of course, it doesn't help that I am a smoker (still) -- now that I am "grown-up" (??) will really have to seriously try to kick that habit. Got back to a million phone messages which I have to address sometime in the next week or two and even a message from a distant relative that wants to contact me. Thinking about my mother -- I felt so sad on the plane coming back -- there is nobody that was as happy to see me as my mother and it hit me that she won't be here to meet me and I was almost reduced to tears thinking about it and how much I miss her.
There was an interesting (sort of disturbing) incident at the airport. As practically everybody (but not all, it
seems) knows by now -- you are not allowed to take liquids onto the plane. I forgot about it and put my makeup bag into my boarding bag. I had some small bottles of moisturisers and stuff -- nobody said anything about it but if they had, I would have had to throw them out and definitely wouldn't have made a fuss. After fighting our way through passport control (and I do mean that -- there were thousands of people in lines at the airport and even the normally super efficient Thais had lost control of the situation) we got to the last control before boarding where they check your carry on bags -- there was a couple (don't know from where, English speaking, he looked African and she looked maybe Indian) having this terrible argument with the Thais, threatening to report them and screaming and swearing at them. They apparently had a large bottle of lotion that the Thais were refusing to allow them to take with and they were furious -- the Thais weren't saying anything, just standing there and quietly holding their ground. At one point the man took the lotion and squirted it all over the
floor and when the Thais told him they would have to clean it up they became even more abusive and hysterical (and all this over a stupid bottle of lotion). I heard the Thai guy telling them (very softly -- perhaps they didn't hear) that they would not be catching their flight and I saw them calling security. As I advanced to the gate I heard further screaming and I think they were probably arrested and I left Bangkok with the woman's screams echoing in my ears and I felt bad for them even though their behavior was atrocious. The plane trip back seemed to be never ending -- it was on time and even arrived a bit early but I guess it was one flight too many. We haven't slept for nearly two days now and even though I don't feel tired, I think I better not go to work tomorrow and just spend the day winding down -- that is after we finish cleaning -- the kids have been really great -- the house was reasonably tidy but nobody did any real cleaning so we will have to address that. If any of my work mates are reading
this -- I will be back on the job on Wednesday, just need a little more time before I am back to normal. The dog came back from his "holiday" and didn't seem to hold it against us that we "abandoned" him for the last 4 weeks. He seems to be very tired and is hoarse (I guess he has been barking a lot). Anyway, his abandonment cost us quite a lot but we had peace of mind and didn't have to worry about him while we were away. The kids seem really happy to have us back -- and much more appreciative of us now -- not complaining all the time about the food and even saying how good it will be to have cooked meals again -- when I pointed out that we won't be cooking every day, just on the weekends and the rest of the time simple food -- they said "simple is good" -- things change. There were flowers and chocolate waiting for us on arrival and after all it is good to be home.
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