January 2nd, 2010

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Jan 2nd Good News

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Before you switch the channels. I found a used NIKON D-50 with a 28-200 wide angle zoom lens for $415. When I deduct the cost of sending the old D-40 that I left at Rose Marie’s I should have no trouble recovering the resale of one of the two cameras. Right now the old D-40 is somewhere in Louisville, Kentucky bouncing around in the UPS system. This larger zoom and wide angle lens will definitely improve the pictures. I’ll be able to pull in shots like birds and whales that I could not manage with the older lens. So, I will be able to keep your subscription rates at the 2009 level. I went ahead an rented the bicycle this evening. Sure, beats walking and I cover a lot more ground. Below are a few shots with the new camera of the lights of Saigon.

Jan 2nd Saigon

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

For the second time, the first in 2006 on “Fleetwood”, I feel like I am home again. Of all the countries that I have now visited in the tropics, there is a unique feeling I experience here. The warm air, the smells, the noises but especially the warmth and openness of the Vietnamese.

The flight from Hong Kong was very nice in business class. I went through customs at Tan Son Nhat without a hitch but getting the checked back pack was a challenge. It took nearly two hours.  I got to a hotel at close to midnight. In the dark I could not quite find the area I wanted to go, where I was in 2006. I found it to-day and changed hotels. Last night I paid $28.00 this one is about $14.00 It has a/c but definitely a class or two lower. But all I need for now. I like the area here, Bui Vien, because this is where most of the small hotels, restaurants, tour operators are that cater to the back pack crowd. This morning I had breakfast at a small restaurant that turned out to be owned by Mike a Vietnamese-American repatriate. He gave me lots of information and I expect to see more of him. There is WiFi everywhere but on the ones I have used so far the providers do not accept cookies and that’s why I cannot get onto Facebook. So, I am unable to react to messages I get from any of you who use these to communicate with me. I am trying to make an effort to enlarge my Vietnamese vocabulary now that I’ll be here three months. Everyone appreciates my efforts and are ready to help me along.

I am still using the orthopedic sandal that I got after the foot operation. The walking I did this morning, searching for the right neighborhood, did not enhance the healing process and I got blisters on the new sandal I wear on the left foot. I have reserved a bike, $2 a day, for to-morrow morning and will pedal to church and roam my favorite spots. After mass I must go and have a  Cafe Sue and creme caramel/flan at Givral (“The Milk Bar” according to Graham Greene in “The Quiet American”) as we used to do in the sixties and I did in 2006. On Wednesday and Thursday my foot was still draining a small amount of blood but yesterday and today that had stopped and I am hoping that the incision will start to fully heal.  There were several places around here that rented bicycles but hardly any tourist is brave enough to join the e-z- riders on their light motor bikes. I have no problem with it. The traffic looks chaotic but there is a system and no one is out to force a road rage like the occidentals.

In order to keep you subscribing I am making an extra effort to improve the content since there will be no photographs, for a while. While going through security, in Seattle, on my way to San Francisco I discovered that the most important part of my retenue, my NIKON D-40, was still at Rose Marie’s house. She sent it to San Francisco, overnight but the UPS store mis-addressed it. Hopefully it will reach me in the next week here.