I have been here for 5 weeks now, and am due to start back home on Wednesday. It has been a wonderful trip. I have kept a travel diary and will gradually post snippets and of course photos when I get home and over the jet lag. The last time I looked at the stats on my digital camera I had 233 photos but I will be very selective about what I upload.
One of the main highlights of my trip was the chance to catch up with people I have known from decades ago. In addition to my wonderful friend Connie from university days, who I see on every trip, this time I managed to see a high school friend, and students from the high school where I taught in the early 70s in California. Through Robert, I re-established contact with Annette and John, who were unaware that they were living within a half hour of each other. I flew up to Portland, Oregon to see them, and spent wonderful days together. Annette has given me the address of another former student who is living up in Alaska, and on my next trip we hope to all get together. That will be fun!
Portland and Vancouver (just over the Columbia River in Washington) are lovely places to visit, and there's much more to see than I could manage in 5 days. Annette drove me to see the spectacular Mt St. Helens, which blew its top in 1980. On the day we went it was very clear, and we could see a thin plume of steam coming from the volcano. John took me to the famous Japanese Garden in Portland, as well as the Classical Chinese Garden, both different from each other and beautiful in their own ways.
Instead of flying back I took the overnight train, about 16 hours, had my own roomette, and at night I was lulled to sleep by the sound of the train whistle up ahead and the gentle clickety clack of the wheels on the tracks. I have always wanted to do a train trip like that - it was a dream come true. Such a civilised way of traveling, much different from the chaos of airports these days. I plan to do more train trips on my next visit here.
In addition to visits with people from the past, including Pat, another student who happened to be in the area last weekend, I also caught up with some blogger buddies by phone: Sue, Kerri and Ann. I am thinking it might be a good idea to post a sound file of our voices just to let people know what we sound like. What do you think?
But first I will have a big job of catching up with all your blogs. I appreciate the comments that have come in despite my meagre postings over the last month, and hope to re-establish contact with you in the not too distant future! Hope you've all been well!!