Loud shirts and cheap cigars

Summer and the Durango Moon

Friday gratefuls: Von’s chicken. So good. And, their fries. Another book done. Poke. Seaweed salad. Rice. Exercise. Korean pancakes for lunch. Joe, a hard worker. Smart, too. A5 contact. The scent of Hawai’ian soil. The Sun. Rain on Shadow Mountain. Ruth working in the candy store. Jon and his journey into another way of living. Kep, looking for me still. The last fumes of vacation. Nice to have a place I love to go home to.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Care for the Trees on Hickam


Sometimes life comes full circle in unexpected ways. Got up this morning at 6:20 am. Joe was in uniform ready to go. How come you’re going in so early. Friend called. They’re on the keys for the Vietnamese. Huh? They’re in their vehicles ready to pick up the Vietnamese Air Force delegation visiting Hickam. Oh.

Well. That’s weird. Yeah, but in a good way, Joe said.

Well. Yeah. We’ve finally figured out they’re not going to support Chinese communism. Some of us knew that 50 years ago. (more like 55, but in the moment).

My son, the soon to be Lieutenant Colonel in the USAF, headed out the door to greet General staff and other members of a Vietnamese delegation. Oh. My. God.

Remember the first time I had this frisson. It was 2004 and my plane had just landed in Siem Reap. Bangkok Air. When I deplaned, sitting next to us on the tarmac was a Vietnamese Air passenger jet. A part of me jumped. Uncertain. A holdover from the 1960’s. How would they react to Americans?

Now they’re our buddies. Trading partners. A tourist destination. Military allies. What a difference. Just another day at the office for Joe.


Joe at rest. Buff guy

Winding down. Three more days. Flight out at 8 pm Sunday. Arrive Denver 6:42 AM Monday, August 1st. There’s a curve to vacations. Arriving, settling in. Being in the new place alert and aware, ready to do whatever brought you to that location. Thoughts of home and responsibilities begin to intrude. Packing. Leaving. I’m in the thoughts of home part of this downward turning curve. Had to send more data for the warranty claim on my water heater. Messaged Kristie that I need drugs for my scans. Claustrophobia. That sort of thing.

I could have stayed longer. Chose not to because I was  here so long last year. Still calibrating what it means to vacation as a single guy. Not sure I have it down quite yet. Gonna discuss cruise money with my financial manager when we talk in August. Next year sometime.

Got lost there for a second looking at around the world cruises. I might try to see if I can afford one. Not cheap. Obviously. But, what the hell? Kate introduced me to Hawai’i and cruising. Would have done neither without her nudge.

I though Hawai’i was cheap exploitation of native culture, loud shirts, and rich guys with cigars on a beach chair. And it is, if that’s what you choose to find. Dole Plantation for instance. It’s also an amazing, human comfort zone spot in the wide Pacific with Mountains and Volcanoes and Forests and Manta Rays and Sharks and wonderful food. Peaceful. Scented by that master perfumer, Gaia. Gardenia and Jasmine.


Cruising? Fat old ladies and their fat old husbands. Slow. Read, tedious. Expensive. Who’s guilty of stereotyping? Not mois.

Cruising is expensive. And if you pick Carnival cruises, also stupid. For a variety of reasons that I imagine you can conjure. A more staid line like Holland America caters to middle-class to upper middle-class folks. It does have it share of old folks. And there is the cliche of coming on to the cruise skinny and leaving it overweight. If you eat poorly and sit, you can achieve that on board a ship just like back home.

Kate’s first positive about cruising: pack and unpack once. Your hotel room goes with you from port to port, over the bounding sea. After our three-week long honeymoon in Europe by Eurail and its schlepping of many bags, many times? I get the advantage.

Second positive: days at sea. See my thought about tedium. The opposite. As relaxed as I’ve ever been, far from shore, the ocean around you, quiet. Cut off from the day to day of land based hassles. So freeing. Hard to explain if  you haven’t experienced it.

Third positive: shore excursions. Short dips into a place, chosen for local color, cuisine, historical interest. Examples. Observatories in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Pizarro’s home in Peru. Ephesus in Turkey. Knossos on Crete. No navigating required.

Yes, this does take some of the fun out of it. Getting lost, chance encounters with locals. That surprising restaurant or culture specific item. However, it also reduces the stress of travel and at my age, that’s a plus.

Gonna think on it before my time with RJ, see what chunk of cash I’d need.  That world cruise might demand too much. Probably in the $100,000 range, but maybe there’s a way? Doubt it. But, you never know.



This entry was posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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