Tuesday, November 11, 2008

South Africa Itinerary

South African Airways

12 Nov, 17:20: #0204, JFK to Johannesburg

Arrive: 13 Nov, 17:45

13 Nov, 19:40: #0425, Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth

Arrive: 21:25

15 Nov, 09:55: #1382, Port Elizabeth to Cape Town

Arrive: 11:15

Protea Hotel Sea Point: Arthurs Road, Sea Point, Cape Town

+27 (21) 434 3344

16 Nov, 16:00: #1827, Cape Town to Port Elizabeth

Arrive: 17:10

25 Nov, 12:30: #0410, Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg

Arrive: 14:10

19:30: #0203, Johannesbur

Arrive: 26 Nov, 07:05

g to JFK

Friday, April 4, 2008

Coming Home

So the plan is that I will leave Hanoi tomorrow in the morning and arrive in Brooklyn late Sunday night. And then go to work on Monday morning...well, we'll see about that. I've had a great trip, but I also miss my Brooklyn home, with my Brooklyn cat, and my Brooklyn man.

I'm in love (part whatever)

This is one love I am glad I did not discover until the last day of my visit--Vietnamese French pastry. I don't really have a problem with French French pastry, but the pastry here isn't quite as sweet, not quite as rich, so you don't have a terrible sugar-fat hangover right afterwards. Instead, you just feel a little indulgent, a little choc0late-drunk, and very satisfied.

Water Puppets!

I was under the impression that water puppet shows were performed in natural bodies of water and that the Hanoi water puppet shows were performed in Hoan Kiem Lake. It turns out that they are performed in a pool in a theatre across the street from the lake. Which, um, okay. I guess that's cool too. I'm not sure really what to say about it, except that it's a puppet show in which the puppets bob on the water and the puppeteers manipulate them behind a screen. They act out legends and fables. There is a sparks-breathing dragon in one of the sections, which is really cool, but makes the theatre smoky for the rest of the performance. The photos I took do not do the performance justice, but it's a taste, I guess.


As I walked in the gates to the History Museum today, there was a large group of Vietnamese teenagers and a couple of buses were parked outside. As I walked through the crowd, there were shy smiles, whispers, and giggles; as I entered the museum, they surrounded me like locusts. Hello, where was I from, did I speak Vietnamese, how do I like Vietnam, how many days am I staying here, where is my husband. There were, no joke, at least twenty kids surrounding me. Most of them were girls, but there were a few boys thrown in, trying to act unimpressed. Eventually, the crowd dissipated a little bit and the few girls who stuck around, said that they wanted to practice their English with me. So I said sure (again), somewhat flattered by all the attention. However, they had pretty much exhausted their vocabularies, and when I tried to show off my winning pronunciation of "thank you" in Vietnamese, I just got confused stares and one girl loudly squawked, "What?!"

English Lessons

Long story short, my schedule went a bit wonky today. But I had an hour or two to kill, so I ducked into a cafe not too far from the Vietnamese Women's museum. I wrote a little, read a little, enjoyed my last ca phe sua (coffee with condensed milk). The owner, who seemed thrilled with me the moment I walked in, struck up a converstaion and asked me to help out her waiter with his English. He's in University and was struggling because he didn't have any native speakers to talk to. So I said, sure, I'd help. But he was struggling so much, that we had trouble with the very basics. When he left to wait on a few tables, the owner talked about her husband, who was an ambassador or economic consulate (whatever, something fancier than you or I will ever be) all over the world, including Iran. She talked about her travels, all the people she had met. When I left, both she and the waiter thanked me and insisted I come right back to the cafe the next time I am in Hanoi.


The downside of Hanoi is the humidity. It is muggy (although not hot) and overcast all day, then finely misty in the evening. While this doesn't generally bother ME, it does bother my hair. It reminds me why I shouldn't have bangs no matter how cute Barbara Stanwyk looked in that one movie. Because they feel gross on my forehead, I sweep them across, but they aren't quite long enough to "sweep." They end up doing a bizarre duck tail off the left side of my head and the rest of my hair becomes the consistency of cotton candy. It makes me very glad that I don't know anyone in Hanoi.