March, 2010

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March 28 Good Saturday Morning America!!

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

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Sunrise over the Cascade Mountains

This photo was taken an hour ago from the balcony of Lisa and Harry’s home in Fife, Washington.

Since I arrived here on the 18th I have been lucky to have seen some of the best Spring days I have ever experienced here.  The ornamental fruit trees, tulips, Maple blossoms, Magnolias, Wild Cherries have all outdone themselves this season. The below picture was taken on Wednesday in Roger Rue’s back yard. Yesterday I had lunch at South Center with my long time friend Brenda Benson. My old friend Roman alternates each day with one good one and then a day where he is resting and unresponsive. Yesterday was a good one. I’ll check in again this morning. I’ll be visiting friends in Bellingham and Vancouver next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

  

Thursday March 25

Thursday, March 25th, 2010
In yesterday’s flight with Roger I got another shot of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Last December, on the way back from Oregon on the Talgo train I photographed the spans from below and once again in the evening on March 18 from the Amtrak train. The original steel bridge’s deck collapsed in December 1940, through a combination of engineering errors. Tacoma locals named it “Galloping Gertie”. The second concrete bridge was put into service in 2007.

Wednesday March 24 Flying to the San Juan Islands

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Yesterday, Tuesday, Roman was not as responsive as he was on Monday. I’ll try again tomorrow, Thursday.

Yesterday evening I went with Roger Rue to Gig Harbor for the weekly Taco Tuesday dinner. There were over 30 familiar faces, most of them are my age and have known each other for 30 plus years, many went to High School together, most are sailors.

Roger invited me and Duane Sausen to fly with him in his Cessna to Friday Harbor. It was a perfect day for it. Warm and sunny, for pictures it should have been a little less hazy. I got to meet Jim Corenman the creator of Sail Mail, who lives near Friday Harbor. The four of us had lunch in Friday Harbor.

Monday March 22

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Participating and singing in English at yesterday’s 8.30 service at my parish in Gig Harbor was a lot more familiar than the services the previous weeks in Nha Trang.  But I am still in transition mode. Choir practice, later in the afternoon, went well. The choir director put another great program together for Easter Sunday service.  “Gloria” by Vivaldi, Mozart’s “Ave Verum”, “Christ is Arisen” from Handel’s  Judas Maccabeus oratorio, etc.

My 97 year old friend Roman is doing much better, since yesterday.

I sent in my solution to the Dutch Radio Nederland weekly Cryptogram. “Mannequin met een schoteltje” 14 letters.  7e J, laatste W. Probeer het ook maar eens.

Saturday March 20

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Talking about green in my last post on St. Patrick’s day. Last Saturday, in the Saigon Botanical Garden, I took the below picture of a Red Flame Tree, which the French planted nearly a century ago.  And you will see from its tag that it is the National Tree of Puerto Rico. Last February when I sailed in Puerto Rico I took the other photograph of the forests of the Red Flame Tree.

But actually the Flame Tree is now the national tree of the North Marianas and Puerto Rico’s National tree is now the Kapok Tree (Ceiba)

We have had a couple beautiful warm sunny Spring days here but it is supposed to be back to normal (rain) tomorrow. I will be at 8.30 mass at St.Nicholas, tomorrow and rehearse for the Easter Sunday mass with the choir in the afternoon.

It will be a few more days before we try the next stage in trying to recover the data from my crashed HP Pavilion DV2500 laptop. Most likely caused through overheating from the battery. In all the recall notices for HP batteries my models were never mentioned. Anyway I have learned my lessons and will do more frequent back ups to an external hard drive. If the recovery process fails I will call on you all to update your addresses and phone numbers.

A long time friend of mine here in Tacoma is seriously ill, I went to see him yesterday. Roman Wydra is 97 years old. We promised each other many years ago that we were going to live beyond 100. Please, keep him and his wife, Zdenka, in your prayers. 

Wednesday March 17th Saint Patrick’s Day

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

It was a long train ride. I woke up near Klammath Falls, in S.E. Oregon,

 and then it was a gorgeous ride along Crater Lake, crossing the still snow covered Cascade Mountain range into the Willamette Valley. The sun was just setting when the train followed the edge of the Puget Sound into Tacoma. Rose Marie came to pick me up at the station. Today is a beautiful warm sunny Spring day. The fruit trees, tulips, Forsythia are in bloom. Good time to be back.

I took the laptop in to another repair shop hoping to be able to extract the data from the hard drive. If I skipped remembering your birthday in the last week, I have an excuse.  

Be sure to wear green!

Monday 15 March , San Francisco

Monday, March 15th, 2010
It was a beautiful day, clear and it got into the seventies in the sun.
I took the ferry from the ferry terminal at the foot of Market Street to Sausalito. Richard Spindler of Latitude 38 picked me up and we spend close to two hours together over lunch, outside. He wanted to hear more of my voyage and my new findings for the cruisers into Vietnam. I took the laptop to a doctor but he had no luck retrieving the data from my hard drive. He suggested I try a specialist in the N.W.
I hiked up and down the many hills, went to Fisherman’s Warf and to China Town. It was a perfect day for it.

Oakland Bay Bridge

Spring is near on Union Square, S.F.

Monday 15 March San Francisco

Monday, March 15th, 2010

All worked out on the space available flights from Saigon via Hong Kong and I arrived S.F. a couple hours before I left from Hong Kong, crossing the dateline. Did not sleep much. I had the middle seat in economy, on the aisle a very large American who slept the whole way and was hard to get around to stretch on my left a charming young Singaporian from the Microsoft S’pore office, enjoyed very much talking with her. Besides a broken laptop it turned out that my cellphone had lost it’s service here after I had a Vietnam prepaid SIM card installed in it. Fortunately a T-Mobile service point on Market street was able to get me going again but I have lost my address book that I had accumulated on it. So I am now double handicapped, on the laptop account.

I take the train this evening and will arrive Tuesday evening in Tacoma.

I am staying at the  Hotel Whitcomb a nice old turn of the century building on Market Street near the Civic Center, on the edge of the Tenderloin district. $ 69.00 plus tax. Skid Road of San Francisco.  All night the sirens of police and ambulance cars were blaring, but I missed most of the noise because I had not slept for 30 hours. Walking the neighborhood, you see the weirdest human beings, lonely, broken, wasting their God given gifts away; contributing little and taxing society resources and tolerance. A stark contrast to the 3 months in Asia where the disadvantaged at least try to make a contribution.

Hotel Whitcomb

Saturday Evening Post

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

If I manage to get a seat on tomorrow’s flight. I’ll be staring out of the window at the first morning light over the Saigon River. I have no idea when and if I’ll be back. I have several years planned for the Mediterranean and South America on “Fleetwood”. This was the third visit and I leave with much gratitude for the opportunity to be here the last three months. I love this country and it’s people.

I stopped at Sheridan’s Irish Pub on Le Tan Thon. There was just one customer and he turned to be a wealth of information on the Vietnam boating scene. Randall, an Australian boat interior carpenter foreman. Thomas Hutchins the American VietVet/author/photographer, who I had met in mid February, showed up later.

The Saigon Botanical Garden/Zoo is just up the street. This is an oasis in this busy city, created by the French in the early 20th century. They planted domestic and exotic trees that are now enormous in size. I shall plant a few Mahogany and Teak trees here and make my great grandchildren millionaires.

I had a lotus salad at Mike’s “Saigon Xua va Nay” (Saigon Then and Now).

Saturday March 13. My last “Good Morning Vietnam!!”

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I have my flight details and if luck is with me, on the space available basis, I should be back in San Francisco Sunday morning.