Sunday, November 30, 2008
Although the facilities were spartan (you are in a large room separated from other patrons by only curtains), they were clean and comfortable. It was a little unusual being uncovered while naked for a while (Trina was covered the whole time), but, then again, he couldn't see. And if he could--oh well.
Both our masseuses did an good job. I'd say it was about at the median for massages I've received. And, although I had to pay extra for the air-conditioned room, $2.92 for an hour was the best bargain I've ever received.
We delayed our train to Nha-Trang; we'll be staying in Saigon for a total of eight days.
After getting into my gear I took one look at myself and proclaimed, "I look like gender-neutral Jungle Bob!" Ron laughed and said "I'm sorry, but I agree!" You can decide for yourself...
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Just today I was eating breakfast and noting how many of my very basic assumptions have been challenged on this trip. There are so many little things that you take so for granted that you never even realize you think them, until they are not there or done differently.
- you should eat three meals a day (4 in
- dinner is at the end of the day (middle in
Ireland& ) Norway
- the state should not endorse a specific church or religion (
-Lutheranism) Ireland-Catholicism, Norway
- the state shouldn’t tax people and send proceeds to the
Vatican( ) Germany
- shampoo should be next to the conditioner in a store (shampoo next to hair gel, conditioner by lotion in
- everyone thinks communism is “bad”; liberation and westernization are “good” (
- most people know what Christmas is (
-they were as surprised that I didn’t know what Bayram was) Turkey
- houses with heating should be able to adjust it (
-the heat is centrally turned on/off by the government, no individual regulation in most personal houses) Lithuania
- people in developed nations should be able to speak freely (
-“insulting Turkishness” is illegal and punishable by imprisonment) Turkey
- prescription medicines require a doctor’s visit and are expensive-very expensive without insurance (Poland-pharmacist can prescribe some meds, without using our health insurance Ron got two medicines for $12 total that were $435 and $310 in the
- beds have sheets on them (Norway, Lithuania, Poland, Czech, Austria (Vienna), Slovakia, Hungary, Germany all had a bottom sheet and a duvet cover made of sheet material over the comforter. When you wash the sheets you wash the bottom sheet and the duvet cover. Kind of nice, less to get tangled up in the middle of the night.)
- men shouldn’t beat their wives (Turkey-45% of men think it is ok)
- kids start school at age 5 or 6, full days by first grade (usually age 6) and proceed through 12 grades, graduate and then choose to go to college or not (Norway, Ireland, Germany-first grade often isn't until 7 and kids choose "tracks" by age 13-16 and decide if they will be college-bound or trade school-bound, “high school” is over by age 16 and then you choose to attend a 3 year program called “gymnasio” if you want to go onto college)
- The Allies were the “good guys” of WWII (Poland-the Allies knew about Auschwitz several years before they liberated the camp; Turkey-the Gallipoli campaign (invasion of Turkey) was motivated in large part by British & French territorial ambitions in the middle east.
I don't come away from this experience with a sense of superiority or thinking that my way is always right. In fact, I think I will be adopting several of the things I've seen in my life back home (when I have a home). But, I was mostly fascinated by how many different ways there are to do even the most (seemingly) basic things.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
We've decided that, since we are overwhelmed about catching up on the US part of our trip (and because people seem less interested in that part) we will continue from where we are, with flashbacks to the US.
Also, wanted to let you know we are indeed monitoring the protests in Thailand and the Terrorist Attacks in India. I promise we won't go anywhere stupidly, for those of you who are worrying. We have become quite good a changing plans. Thanks for loving us.
PS from Trina: At one point walking home I was up to my knees in water!!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Yesterday we flew 11 hours, (plus a one hour bus ride and a ten minute taxi). We spent the night in South Korean, and now we are getting ready to reprise the taxi and bus, and then fly a mere 7 hours to Kuala Lumpur.
Right now it is tomorrow, which is really confusing, but about seven hours earlier in the day...good thing I slept twelve hours last night.
By the way, the people of South Korea are extraodinarily friendly and helpful.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
We visited and hiked around
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
What a breathtaking sight the northeast brings in the middle of autumn. It sure makes me want to live there. Granted, that means that most of the trees are bare all winter, so I guess that desire will have to be tempered with a bit of reality. Still, it was absolutely wonderful.
My parents, Trina and I visited a number of cutsie little coastal towns on
We topped off the day with some hearty
That said, we found one on along the freedom trail near the USS Constitution and
The average income for a male in 2007 was $1,895,800, while it was $1,250,325 for women. The average income for a family was $4,798,000. In 2007, the average selling price for a townhouse in the neighborhood was $2,750,000; while the average price for a penthouse apartment went for $3,000,000. The neighborhood's most exclusive and expensive street (Louisburg Square), had an average home value of between $6,000,000 and $20,000,000.
For other interesting information, such as famous residents, see the rest of the article.
We also walked the Freedom Trail, seeing the standard laundry list of local historical sights. Bunker Hill, Old Ironsides, The Old North Church, Revolutionary War graveyards, the balcony that the Declaration of Independence was ready from for the first time, etc. It’s quite an education in itself. Plus
Most everything is made of red brick, and it is the ultimate college town. There is something like a quarter million university students in the city,
Monday, November 17, 2008
Rick and Ann Davis. My parents are great. They aren’t what I would call world travelers—they actually have been out of the country a few times, but they don’t really relish the adventure part, or the walking around for eight hours a day learning part. But they really got in to it with us.
My mom was nursing a foot injury of sorts, so she was especially a champ in being game for all that we did. Their only shortcoming is thinking that I drag Trina around all day at my pace and she just has to play along. She lets them think that too! As soon as they were gone—we’d have put in a long day, and I’d be ready for a break, and Trina would say, “NO! We’ve got to see this, and this and this still!” I’m a saint.
Anyway, the true saints were my parents. We had to move to NYC (into another cool, but necessarily smaller apartment) toward the end of our time together. They even helped us scope out the long and complex route to one of Trina’s interviews, all just in the name of being together.
My dad and I didn’t even get into too ferocious a conversation about politics. How’s that for firsts?
Marta Davis is my grandmother. Technically, she isn’t my biological grandmother; she married my Grandpa Ron (I being his namesake) as his second wife shortly after I was born. But she’s been around as long as I remember, and has always loved me and treated me as her own grandchild.
It was SO great to see her and Greg (one of her kids from before she was married to my Grandpa. They all live in and around Sturbridge, where Greg runs all things restaurant at this big resort and where Marta works in a tourist information office.
Greg also has two beautiful young kids that I had the privilege of meeting for the first time (at least since they were babies). We had a wonderful evening laughing, hugging, catching up, and eating pizza with them.
We arrived in
My parents spent a lot of year trying to form me into a decent guy. Now they are working against that, nice apartments and all.
It was wonderful to see them. We got to spend a little over a week with them, and really just enjoyed their company.
It was actually really wonderful to come home feeling somewhat travel satisfied. I’ve never left a trip abroad without kicking and screaming (in my own more adult way) all the way home. And, although we both felt some sadness at the world we were leaving behind, we had the consolation that, in reality, we’d be traveling for another eight months at least.
So we figured we got the best of both worlds. A break from travel, and a lot of travel left to go. Relief from the hard parts, but the guarantee of more fun to come.
Not so bad, is it?