Today. We arrived at Taipei around 5 in the morning? Then waited 3 hours in lounge chairs at gate A8. There is this thing where the airline calls the flight, and asks for anyone with kids or who needs extra help to go up to get on the plane first. This was when everyone stood up and crowded towards the gate. A secret code, I guess. Julie and I sort of just looped in behind something that appeared to be a queue and got on the plane. I dozed a lot on this one, taking us to Hanoi.

The air stepping off the plane was warm, which was nice after the air conditioned plane. Lots of air conditioning. Our hotel room is like a fridge and we have warm blankies to keep us warm. I have wooly socks.

Change to itinerary. We go to Halong Bay tomorrow morning instead of Saturday as was planned due to incoming tropical storm, which is expected to land Saturday.

We met our tour group at 6pm and trip group leader discussed the particulars of the trip.

For dinner we went to a restaurant serving what people is Hanoi might eat at home. I liked the fried morning glory and the various chunks of meat. I ate something from a cow I don’t usually eat: marrow or tendon or something. I could chew it so I wasn’t fussed.

I have no idea what time it is right now. This is kindof a lie, since I just looked at the in-flight navigator that the passenger in front of me and to the left has up on their monitor (making it so I don’t have to turn on mine.) It’s 12:30 in the night in Taipei, and 9:30 of the morning at home. Currently I’m somewhere over Japan and trying to sleep. Also it’s Wednesday now, so I got a little bit of Tuesday, but otherwise it’s a day that didn’t exist. I wonder what the Lindsie in a parallel universe did on that day. Did it exist for her? Am I the Lindsie in the parallel universe? Probably.

I’ve slept 3 or 4 hours (can’t tell how long. Time is calculated different here.) which is the usual for me on a plane. I would love to sleep longer since it’s a 12 hour flight and time goes faster when you’re asleep.

I made it to the ferry, where it is super loud! I am glad to have some knitting with me because I don’t think I would have been able to hear music or a movie above the din. I didn’t try reading but who knows. The people around me were speaking Italian so it wouldn’t have been to difficult to concentrate (had they been speaking English, I totally would have eavesdropped and therefore not paid attention to my book).

I’m tired. Amd getting hungry. Oh! Total bummer: I brough two slices of pizza to eat on the trip, but I ate a third slice at home and it gave me a tummy ache! Not wanting to feel gross on my trip, I threw away the other two once I got on the ferry. Fun fact: ferry doen’t have compost. I know this because I asked, having a prime contribution. But no.

It’s travel day today.  I’ll start leaving Victoria around 5 this afternoon to catch a 2am flight to Taipei, with an additional flight after that to Hanoi.  I’m going to be messed up after this.  I hope greatly that I sleep on the plane.  (In the middle of this itinerary I’m goint to meet Julie at the Vancouver airport, where we have planned to get up to hijinks, but this may devolve into her poking me to stay awake.)

Here is a list of things I’m taking to amuse myself when I’m not asleep:

  1. 2 young adult fantasy novels (the Seven Realms series numbers 2 and 3)
  2. Knittin’
  3. new playlist of music made up off all the old random songs I have on my computer (this was a good idea! – see below)
  4. Movies: Capt’n America 2, Thor 2, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensiblitily, and 2 episodes of Endevour

I was super nervous yesterday, to the point of panicking.  But I went to a flamenco workshop around mid-day and this helped a lot.  I had pre-registered for this in hopes that it would be a good distraction, and I was right.  Not only is physical activity good for nerves, I also saw some dance friends there.  Friends are also good for nerves.  By yesterday evening, after flamenco and then pizza for lunch, my anxiety had advanced to the “dance party phase” thanks to my new playlist. The dance party phase is FAR SUPERIOR to the nervous-panic phase.

Today I wait.  I’m spending this morning puttering around and tidying. Trying to be calm.  This afternoon I’ll go to accupunture, come home from that, and then leave.

PS. I had almost finished consuming all my perishable foods when I noticed that I had 2, nearly full, cartons of rice milk in my fridge! I’ve been spending spare moments eating cereal.

Musings on having only three days left before my trip to Vietnam.

Today was my last day at work before my trip. It didn’t really hit me, however,  until about ten minutes before I left, when I had a feeling of “now things are starting!”

The day went surprisingly quick for the kind of day it was. I kept finding things to do. Also, people kept coming by to wish me a good time. I feel I deserve points for not only remembering to change the message on my voice-mail, but actually recording it, which is one of my least favorite things to do ever. I deserve extra points for listening to it when I was done to make sure it was audible and sensible. I doubly hate listening to myself. (For assistance, I wrote myself a script a few weeks ago AND set a reminder so I had no excuse whatsoever. Except maybe if I didn’t want to.) I especially enjoyed writing on the vacation board that I won’t be returning until August 11, exactly one month from today.

This evening I started packing and re-packing and generally editing my bags. It was in a bit of a manic fashion so I thought it would be best to leave the house so I’ve come to the studio to watch a bellydance show. This is the group is was in a show with last year, and I didn’t really get to see them, but what I saw- the finale, from a weird angle behind a lot of people- looked interesting. I can’t really pack until I do laundry tomorrow, anyway.

Edit: bellydance-circus fusion.

12:45, Spain time — Last few minutes in Spain.  There is a flight delay due to weather in London, but we should ould make our connection OK as there is an hour and a half buffer.

Note: sitting on a plane when it’s not moving is not a satisfying experience.

5:23 Heathrow time — OK so I should have been on a plane by now heading home,  but the trip has been delayed.  First it was delayed by half an hour (it was supposed to leave at five, but delayed until 5:30 like.)  Now it’s delayed until 8.

6:40 Heathrow — still here but plane only delayed until 7:45 now.  We talked to the nice lady at the British Air hel desk and she provided a solution to our not able to make the last ferry: we’ll go to the British Air help desk in Vancouver and they’ll find us some overnight accommodation. She also gave us voucher for food. New best friend.

Evening train to Madrid!  I love trains at night! This follows a nice day in Madrid roaming around.  I think I forgot to mention that since Jerez (so in Ronda and Granada) only 2 smart women remain. And smart we are indeed, as we have been lost only once (mostly thanks to the smart woman who is not myself) and we seem to be making our busses and trains with time to spare.

In Granada today, we tried that age-old tradition of ordering wine and sampling free tapas at multiple locations. Well we did that at two but at the second one we were hungry and ordered lunch as well.  But it was getting close to the time when wd were going to go collect our bags from the hotel and get a taxi to the train station for our 5 hour ride to Madrid, so we thought it best to stuff ourselves with ham and bread and olive oil (that was me).

We just passed a Mercadona grocery store.  This is a chain of stores in Spain, and there was one near the apartment in Jerez that I frequented. I recommend thks store not only for their selection of soy products,  but also because they play their theme song in the store a lot, making for a cheery shopping experience.

Last night was a flamenco show in the Saromomte area of Granada, which is known for its caves, that is, dwellings and such built right into the hill. The flamenco was good. The dancers didn’t have nails in their shoes, probably due to the tile flooring- they would have killed themselves slipping and also the sound would have been jarring since the room was so small. There were castanets and polka dot dresses and sherry.  Part of the fun was getting there and back. They shuttle tourists on a mini-bus that has to navigate the tiny streets of Granada. Sometimes there were just a few inches between the side of the bus and the wall of a building, and sometimes this was when we were moving very fast.

One more day exploring Granada, then train tonight leaving at 6. Madrid overnight, and then airplane day tomorrow. I’d say this month in Spain has gone by so fast, but really it has progressed at quite a pleasant pace.

We just finished at the Alhambra. It’s big and at the top of a mountain.  So it was a good idea that we took a bus om the way up.  The tour guide was good- he spoke im english and half-italian.  Like most big old buildings I’ve been in on this trip, the interiors were freezing cold, but with the blazing sun melting us in the open-air courtyard, it’s understandable why they’d want cool areas. If I’m melting in March, imagine August.  That’s all I’ve got on that.  Interesting mix of Arab and Christian influence.

Tomorrow it’s another day in Granada and then evening train to Madrid.