Monday, November 06, 2006

Time marches on

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!!


Annette said...

I am so glad you were able to be lulled to sleep by the clicking of the train wheels. It was hard to leave you there on the platform and say goodbye. Seeing you again was just incredible and I am so glad Robert found you for me.


Sue said...

So glad to hear you had a lovely visit in Washington and Oregon!
I think California has outdone itself for weather while you've been here, don't you?
I think the sound file of voices is a great idea!
Have a safe trip home and I look forward to reading all about your trip!

jellyhead said...

Hi Val, great to hear from you! I'm glad you've been enjoying yourself and catching up with long-lost friends. That train trip sounded so relaxing and soothing....made me want to go book an overnight train immediately!

Take care, and we will look forward to more stories and photos when you return.

Val said...

Ah Val - you start for home, as I head out! But I will only be away for just two weeks, not five. But I suspect that I may notch up more Japanese gardens than you however! Just read the latest journal of the Japanese Garden Society, and didnt realise there were so many in the San Francisco Bay area. But I still think I will head to Kyoto. Safe travelling to both of us!

Meow said...

Sounds like you are having an amazing time. Looking forward to your photos.
Take care, Meow

Robert said...

First of all, before any photos of me are posted, I need to have mine professionally retouched. We can "blend" you in, just like they did with Tom Hanks in Forest Gump. I know! I can send you pictures of me from the early 1980s! That way, when Annette and John see them, they'd think, "gee, Robert sure has aged well".

And the next time you come to the states, let's all get together in the Pacific Northwest! It would be great if we ALL could get together at the same place again. I can't wait to see the pictures posted. I bet if we had enough time, we could really have a good turnout.

Kerri said...

You've certainly packed a lot into these past 5 weeks Val! I'm glad you've had such a wonderful time and great weather. I hope and pray you'll go home to a rainy summer :) It was lovely chatting with you again last night and I'll look forward to future conversations.
I think the sound files of voices is a good idea.
I hope you have a safe trip home and manage to squeeze in a few days in Hawaii!

Alice said...

What a wonderful time you've had, and will continue to have for many months as you think back over this time.

The train trip sounds wonderful too, especially the 'clicketty clack', which I've always loved about trains.

Enjoy Hawaii - maybe bring home some rain if there is any to At least, you will be acclimatised for Melbourne.

Looking forward to hearing lots more about your holiday and even seeing some of your 'holiday snaps'.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Val...your train ride sounded so peaceful, but did you take it alone?

I can't wait to hear about your entire trip and to see some pictures. It sounds like a trip of a lifetime and you sound so happy.


Granny said...

Sound file - good idea. I don't have a clue how to do it.