Poetic Dad writes the things that I think are amazing but fail to write before I forget. I'm adding his messages home here so that we can capture his thoughts on this fabulous journey:
For the record:
Speaking, going where you're invited, makes for eclectic itineraries,
L.A. to Saskatoon to Ho Chi Minh City to Jakarta to Bali
To Singapore to Bancock to Kuala Lampor to Boston to Charlotte
And home for Thanksgiving and gentle winter.
Trendy, tony, vegan green Manhattan Beach and an auditorium of 400
To prairie frontier Saskatoon and genial, pleasant Canadians hungry for
Though they need it less than most,
And not on board for a two day, lose one, 4 stop ironic journey.....
40 years ago my whole objective was to avoid going to Vietnam,
I started at ROTC BYU instead of Harvard,
Which fit the blessing of staying close to a girl named Linda
And paved a route to an engagement that would never have happened from
Now we go together, for families rather than fighting,
And to be with friends instead of foes.
So much the same, so much different.
Then, like now, an ill conceived war where innocents suffer most,
A political sea-change left to right then, right to left now,
My efforts politically dead, candidate thwarted, both named Romney
Now, unlike then, the economic world collapsing,
Brought on by the unholy alliance of private greed and public fed policies,
So that we leave now unsure of what world we will return to.
And paralells we hope will not play out as pairs,
Bobby and Barak,
War inspired morass and distrust,
The ushering in of an era of high level corruption.
Our youngest kids now my age then--
Facing a cyclical world or a new one?
May their next 40 be as bounteous and blessed as mine were,
And may we all understand, despite it all,
That there has never been a better time.
True Eyres never check bags, but we did, and they lost them in Saskatoon
And lost them again in Hong Kong
So we've bought some really interesting vietnamese clothes.
It's funny and wonderful to travel with your beautiful mother and grammy.
We slept well....no jeg lag going West, left mid morning (after big tour
groups) in private car
From Saigon to Mekong Delta. (You would remember that name if you had
lived through Vietnam war)
Now some word pictures and mind impressions, since camera battery died:
85 million in Vietnam, not much bigger than Vermont
There are 4 million mopeds in Saigon (and 10 million people)
Drive a couple of hours south to the Mekong Delta past vibrant green
Tombs in the center so kids visit deceased every day as they work, and
land won't be sold our of family.
Three harvests of rice each year in fertile Mekong....rivers emptying
here from Thailand and Cambodia and Laos.
Women in gloves and masks to keep skin white.
Delta people to whom food comes easily from sea and paddy are easy,
open, friendly, gentle,
Rode 5 boats today, from car ferry to river row boat. The Delta is
built on boats, barges, batooks,
Across to Dragon island, shaded walks, children laughing,
(I rescued a floating away flip flop for a worried 3 year old--reminding
of Silas at the Zoo)
Then the view from under the brim of a coolie cone hat as we paddle down
In blue boat on brown water in tunnel of green water coconut palms,
Diagonal shooting spear leaves right angle with opposites creating
diamond pattern shadows on the water,
Green bamboo-like palms arch overhead to form green temple tunnels.
Low slung wires everywhere.
Under coconut thatch, traditional music, three string violin, one string
steel guitar, and women's voices
That wail and swerve like the instrumental tones.
We eat Elephant-ear fish for lunch, wrapped with mint and noodles in
rice paper at our table,
Then a long bike ride along tiny lanes, past real life,
I blink-shutter face shots of character and endurance, but mostly of
gentleness and peace.
Anger rises in me for that war and for this war,
Where the poor and gentle ones are the victims of the power hungry.
MeLai was like this villiage, and young, missionary-age GIs slogged
through this rain jungle,
Threatened and threatening, not sure or deceived about what they fought for
And all around them, innocents cried, and died.
Out to eye-hurt green rice fields, below brooding charcoal sky, best of
all color juxtapositions,
And across a stream on a monkey bridge to see 100 new born ducklings
(eat snails, clean paddies, then get eaten)
And along wider 6 foot asphalt hi way--three lanes--two foot bike lanes
Anything-goes passing lane in between.
Rain starts on riverboat ride back, then explodes down as we re-cross
In our 50 year old one cylinder bang bang narrow boat
Soaking us to the warm bone
Before we end up here in a quirkey hotel with internet!