Ah, well, it included treasured moments such as CT "packing" himself into my suitcase and practicing jumping out, as he intended to do when he surprised me in Saigon. Sooo hard to resist! But his Mama insisted on keeping him home.
My dear friend C valiantly volunteered to pick me up and deposit me at the SoCo airport so I could catch the 6:45 am, an hour which is normally very late at night for me, shuttle to San Francisco Airport. The light was beautifully stark as we crossed the Golden Gate.
Getting to the plane and into the air went very smoothly. (SF International is one of my favorite terminals for just that reason.) The flight was lo-ong, of course, but it took 10 instead of the 14 hours on a very dry Northwest Airlines flight that I remember being pretty excruciating in 1989. We stopped over at Narita Airport in Japan, the same path I took with my video partner on that first trip. I am sure Narita has improved in the ensuing 23 years, at any rate, it, too, was easy to navigate, even in my jet-lagged state, and I whiled away the layover time getting a preview of the current Japanese culture -- interesting, even funny, snacks, respectful snack bar servers!, young Tokyo hipsters getting ready for their flight to Los Angeles ...
Then on to the next All Nippon Airways flight for the 6 hours to Vietnam. I sat next to a Vietnamese/American who immigrated to the US when he was six years-old. He lives with his family in Houston, Texas, and works for his father in the family-owned machine shop. He was traveling back to Vietnam to visit his grandmother here. One of the kinder and more helpful seat mates that I've had for awhile.
During landing on this flight, they displayed the feed from an "airplane nose cam", so we saw pictures of the touch down and the taxi to the terminal from that angle, a first for me and I do travel a bit, as you know. The new international terminal at Tan Son Nhat is right up to modern standards -- more windows open to check passports than at CDG in Paris or Kennedy in NY, the baggage came in more quickly and painlessly than it does at many airports in the world, much better than London Heathrow, that's for sure, where it is not unusual for your bag to just not show up. My brother and his lady friend were waiting for me at the exit and whisked me into the busy, warm and humid night life of Saigon.
So, I've made it to the other side of this pond.
More dispatches as the journey continues.
Hugs from Ho Chi Minh City for now.
PS-Check the N2 & LC Dailies link in the upper right corner of this blog page for more pictures.