Around the World,  Destinations

Around the World Pre-Trip Journal July 1998

Note; this post is recreated from the original wired2theworld website post with the dates below. The old posts were reformatted in 2018 for the 20th anniversary of wired2theworld. As much as possible, the content is unchanged and unedited from the original, only some formatting, spelling, and link errors have been corrected.

JULY 6, 1998 More Airfare confusion…

Boy, it looks like things just change all the time in the planning process. I received another quote for airfare from LA all the way to Kuala Lumpur from yet another travel agency. Seems like we get a different offer every time we talk to someone. Typical? Probably, but I consider it strange due to the fact that they are all quoting the same airlines.
For example, everyone has placed us on Air New Zealand from LA to Fiji to NZ, but no one has told us before that we could have a FREE stopover in either Honolulu or Tahiti!! Or that we could fly into one of three cities in Australia and out of one of four. Looks like we are going to have to go to Australia as there are no cheap flights from NZ to Bali.

JULY 7, 1998   Mexico…

I’m sitting here in our friend R.’s house here on the beach south of San Felipe in Baja CA, Mexico.
This is sort of a test run. I won’t be able to update from the road yet as we do not have our connectors and no phone service here. But, I will be able to use the computer and later charge it with the 12-volt adapter I bought. I can upload everything when we get home.  One thing I’m noticing about this Libretto is that the battery does not seem to last as long as promised.  Only about one hour instead of two.
Today has been a long, hot one. We left LA at 5:30 AM and arrived here at the house at 1:00 PM. It’s very hot here. As of 11:20 PM it’s probably still over 80 degrees outside. The water was wonderful today. Just the way I like it (which is too hot for most people), walk right in without wincing.
I tried to take some pictures with the digital camera today but was having problems due to the extreme brightness outside. I’ll have to work on that. Good news with the camera, however. My mother and I were able to successfully load the software onto her computer, transfer it to the libretto and then download the pictures onto the computer!!! Very cool. I will be adding them into the website soon.

Our days here are all about relaxation so don’t expect much tourist info about Mexico here, sorry. I did read my first of many books here today. Michael Crichton’s Airframe, not bad, entertaining. Five books in five days is my usual motto here. Just put me in the beach chair with something to read, a cold drink, and a bag of chips and I’m happy. David and R., on the other hand, are usually off somewhere riding the jet skis or quad motorbikes.

I’m not sure I’ve fully adjusted yet to being a full-time unemployed traveler. I think my mind just thinks I’m on vacation and will be going back soon. Hopefully, the dreams about work will stop soon. I had my last day, last Friday, and cried as I walked out the back door. No matter how excited I am about this trip, it doesn’t change that I put the last seven years of my life into that company, and the last four and a half into running that restaurant. I felt like I was abandoning my child. I will miss it.
NOT! Ok, maybe a little, but I am anxious about my new life just starting.

JULY 8, 1998 Just Another Day…

Here’s another typical day  in San Felipe

7:00 AM wake up because it’s too damn hot to sleep
7:30 AM eat breakfast
7:45 AM slather body head to toe with sunscreen in a futile attempt at preventing being burned to crisp.
8:00 AM adjust lounge chair toward beach and sun. Start magazine #2
9:00 AM adjust lounge chair into 1/2 shade to shield oneself from scorching.
10:00 AM David and Randy come in ready for Lunch #1. Finish magazine. Have a sandwich and read to them from a funny article on Vietnam. Discuss merits of avoiding eating dog.
10:15 High tide coming in. Go down to water’s edge and try to get close enough to pelicans to photograph them with a digital camera. Give up and watch them preen and fish for their lunch.
10:30 AM sweating profusely, go into the Sea of Cortez hoping to cool off. Little luck, given that the temperature is close to that of steaming bathtub in winter back home. Take a cold shower and settle in shade with book #2, Anne Rivers Siddons, Up River.
11:00 AM Randy and David take jet ski out and go skirfing
12:00 PM ready for lunch #2, quesadillas.
2:00 PM discover one of the greater things in life, napping in the shade, outside in the breeze. This discovery was made 100% better with the addition of the sleeping bag as padding on the lounge chair. A bed made for one.
4:00 PM awake from nap thirsty, have beer and snack of stuffed olives.
6:30 PM David and Randy go out for a pre-sunset ride on the quads.
7:30 PM we go for a sunset walk along the beach remarking on the full moon, purple clouds and the changes to the houses along the beach. A neighbor’s dog follows us all the way home.
8:00 PM Barbecue chicken, eat dinner outside, watching the stars come out.
8:30 PM watch a beautiful show of lightning off in the distance over the water.
9:00 PM guys fall asleep early outside on chaise lounges. I read until 12:30 AM and finish book #2. I decide to sleep outside too, in order to catch whatever breeze is there.

Some people have asked me why would I ever want to take a computer along on my travels. They have even gone so far as to insinuate that I couldn’t possibly be enjoying myself if I’m “tied” to the computer.
Let’s get some things straight here, ok? 
1. This is MY life.
2. If you don’t like what I’m doing, turn off your computer and get out there in the real world for yourself.
3. What’s the difference between writing in a journal on paper and on the computer?
4. If I can’t find internet access easily, I will wait until I can. No big deal.

Do I sound defensive? You bet I am. This is my life and I don’t need any holier than thou “travelers” passing judgment on it. Get your own life.
Ouch, yeah, I was a bit defensive there. ūüėČ

June 9, 1998, No Problema

We go into town to buy ice blocks, resin to repair the jet ski, and so that I can call home. But first, we have to get there…

Let me explain the road between the house and San Felipe. All the way from the border at Mexicali to a few miles south of San Felipe is fine, paved, two-lane blacktop. No problema, it’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive. Except at peak seasons, there is very little traffic and it’s a smooth ride.

South of San Felipe is another story. Somewhere the road jurisdiction changes and the potholes begin. Small at first, getting progressively larger, until there is more paving missing than there is dirt. Most people swerve from side to side, driving on the shoulder to avoid having their car swallowed whole. It’s slow going at best.

So, we get into town around 10:00 AM and I think to myself, no problema, I’ve done this before, all I need is a pay phone and my calling card.”  WRONG!! There are more pay phones than before, but none of them will let me dial the international access number listed on the calling card. We did find the only coffee shop making iced mochas. Hey, I had to buy one in order to get some change in pesos. Well, even that didn’t work. All I got was a recording saying that the number was no longer in service.

I finally gave up and went to the pharmacy where if you pay them you can make a phone call to the states. We asked if I could use my card there and at first, they said no. But then the woman who runs the place said, no problema, just pick up that phone over there and you will be connected to an international operator. I didn’t ask questions, I just did as I was told. Sure enough, there was a woman on the other end, speaking English, asking me how I wanted to pay.  I finally spoke to my mom and was disconnected at the end of the conversation without saying goodbye.

Then we found the local boating supply store and asked to buy some resin to repair the jet ski. No problema, they said, and the guy disappeared into to the back for about five minutes. We expected him to return with bottles of what we needed and he did. Coke bottles. A 2 liter partially filled with the resin and a smaller one with about a teaspoon of the hardening compound. Whatever works. We paid and we left.

This morning when we awoke we found the “storeroom” of a resident black widow spider; a stink beetle, completely entwined and suspended from a single thread in the front doorway waiting to be her lunch sometime later.

July 10, 1998, There’s a Full Moon on the Rise…

It works! I downloaded the pictures here in Mexico and BANG! Here they are on the page. Loving it!
We got company today. Two other couples arrived this morning at 6 AM. Luckily, we were sleeping outside again and heard them coming. They got their truck stuck in the mud. Easily remedied. Everyone had fun playing in the water and on the jet ski today.
Full moon tonight. It was an amazing orange that rose over the water in the pitch dark. We all sat in awe.

July 13,  1998  Home at Last

Came home yesterday and it was a relief to escape 105 degrees in the shade. There’s a reason why none of the other people who have houses were there, it’s too damn hot!
So, now we’re home and have lots to do in the next week. Hope I can figure out how to get this posted from the Libretto.

Some problems with the Libretto and much time on the phone with customer support. First, they told me I didn’t have enough memory to run the programs we have on the computer. So I bought 16 MB more RAM and installed it myself. The problems kept happening. More time with customer support and we figured out that I didn’t have a new enough video driver to access newer, more complicated websites. Downloaded the new driver off the Toshiba website and problem solved.

Note: Does anyone remember how much 16 megabytes (not gigabytes) of RAM cost 20 years ago?? About as much as a 256 G sd card would cost today!

July 19, 1998, On the Road Again…

We’re here in Bishop CA, high up in the Sierra Mountains near Mammoth Lake, visiting David’s grandparents. We will spend today and tomorrow here and then on to Nevada City to see my father.

Much has happened in the last few days, most importantly, WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST SET OF PLANE TICKETS!!!!
We are going first to Hawaii, then to Fiji, then to New Zealand, Australia, Bali, and Kuala Lumpur.  After that, we will spend a few months in South East Asia before going to Hong Kong and Taiwan in January.  After that, who knows?  Hopefully on to Nepal.
We also went back to the travel doctor for our next set of shots. We each got a Polio booster in one arm and a Meningitis in the other. We were given a Typhus vaccine that is 4 pills that must be taken one pill every other day. We will go back next month for our last Hepatitis A shot. We are still arguing about taking malaria medication. The doctor says that we won’t need it until we get to India or Africa, but then we must take it. I refuse to take Lariam which causes hallucinations and panic attacks among other things. David wants to take it. I have no idea what we will do.

July 20, 1998 Nuns Who Drink Beer…
David’s grandmother M. was a Catholic nun for over twenty years. Her sister, A., is also a nun from the same convent, in the midwest. Both are teachers in the school connected to their church and A spent 3 1/2 years living and working in Papua New Guinea. Neither wears a habit. They say prayers before meals and drink the occasional beer (except for Angela who laments that she cannot, prevented by her heart medication). They are very nice ladies and I spent much of the day chatting with them. The sisters blessed our journey before we left. 

July 21, 1998, Outside Inn and Inside Out

Today we drove to Nevada City to see my father. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains. We’re staying in a newly renovated motel called the Outside Inn. It’s a former  1940’s “motor court” that caters to people interested in outside/adventure sports like mountain climbing and kayaking. They are only a few blocks outside of the center of downtown historic Nevada City, a former gold mining town. The rooms are all done in knotty pine, have AC, and queen size beds. There is a small swimming pool and they will assist you in planning outdoor adventures in the Yuba River and the Sierras.  Each room is done in a different “theme”, ours was the Historical Room, and they have others like the paddler’s suite or the Angler’s room. Prices are reasonable compared to the local hotels.

July 22, 1998 Picnic on the Yuba

Today we went to the Yuba River for a picnic. Beautiful scenery, but a curvy, twisty ride that left me queasy. We brought Trudy with us, who is, by far, the best-behaved dog I have ever seen.
We also got our travel packs today. My father’s girlfriend owns a wonderful store in a historic building in downtown Nevada City. It’s filled with beautiful and interesting things from all over the world. She also has a great selection of Eagle Creek Travel Gear from which she and my father generously gave us our rolling backpacks called Cargo Switchback Plus. We also bought money belts and travel pouches called Departure Pouches. Tonight we went into downtown where they had an outdoor summer festival with music, food and crafts booths. Then we went to dinner at probably the best restaurant in Nevada City called the New Moon. The food is wonderful and they have a great and varied wine list.

July 24, 1998, Is There a Family Resemblance?

We visited with my grandparents for a few days and I got to see some amazing old pictures of my great-grandmother, Edna Mae. I took pictures of the old photos with the digital camera and they came out ok.

On the left, Edna Mae, circa 1915. On the right, Kristina circa 1995.

July 25, 1998, Hawaiian Dreams…

This morning was very productive for the trip. Since we had the option to go to Hawaii on the way to Fiji, for free, we decided to go to Kauai for our three year wedding anniversary to kick off the trip. So, ever the bargain hunter am I, I booked our tickets from Honolulu to Lihue, Kauai using American Frequent Flyer Miles (only 10,000 miles for two tickets!). And then, with the ticket, American gives discount certificates to the various hotels, buy one night, get one free. So, I booked us a nice hotel with an ocean view room. Hey, you only live once! And besides, I’m sure those marble bathrooms will be a distant memory by the time we get to the land of squat toilets.

July 27, 1998, Albion…

Drove to Albion on the coast of northern California today to visit David’s aunt. It was a beautiful, but long drive through enchanted redwood forests.

July 28, 1998, Party in San Francisco

San Francisco today! When we were in Grants Pass we heard, via email, from a friend who is temporarily living in San Francisco. He’s working at the restaurant One Market so we went there for dinner. It’s right on the Embarcadero and has a great view of the Bay Bridge. The kitchen is huge and has a table in it that can be reserved so one can watch all the action. We had an amazing meal and two wonderful bottles of Zinfandel.
After dinner, we headed up to North Beach to a restaurant/club called the Black Cat on Broadway at Kearney. They have great, fresh seafood, and a swing club downstairs. Then we went to play pool at The Condor, now a sports bar, once the premier strip club in North Beach.  It still has the original sign with blinking nipples and the stripper’s dressing room, set like a museum piece upstairs.
We also stayed at a great hotel in San Francisco, called the Warwick Regis on Geary St., near Union Square. Not very expensive, and well worth the money. Nice looking restaurant and menu too, with a female chef! I recommend it. Beautiful room too.

July 29, 1998, Chinatown

Well, after the room stopped spinning this morning, we had breakfast and then went out walking in Chinatown. We had a wonderful Dim Sum meal at The Four Seas at 731 Grant St. We had excellent eggplant stuffed with shrimp, foil wrapped chicken with ginger, pork bao, and more.
After walking around for a while and window shopping we found David his boots for the trip. Nice, waterproof,  brown Timberlands.
We then drove down to Sunnyvale CA, to visit our friends L & K (who found our computer for us) and their two beautiful children.

July 30, 1998, More Shopping…

Today we drove toward our last stop, Pismo Beach, and our friends, J &R and their one-year-old son, M. I met J. on the first day at UC Santa Cruz, and he introduced me to his roommate, David. ūüôā
On the way, we had a few stops. First, we stopped in Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world.  It also has one of the best outlet shopping malls around. We bought sandals for the trip for both of us.
We stopped in San Juan Bautista to have lunch with other friends from college, M & C and their two-year-old. M. was also a roommate with David and J.

July 31, 1998 Home and in My Own Bed…But Not For Long!

On the way home again. Much thanks to all our friends and family for putting us up (and putting up with us!)
We had one last stop in Santa Barbara at the wonderful travel store, Magellan’s where we found a rack full of Ex Officio travel clothes on sale. Couldn’t resist.
Made it home just in time to hit traffic.

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