Saturday, August 25, 2012

Arriving in Asia

This is Post #1 of the Vietnam & Cambodia section.

July 6th, 2012

Flying Korean Air from Chicago to Seoul to Saigon/HCMC
So...July 5th didn't really happen.  Well, it kind of happened.  The International Date Line stole it.  (No, I will not make a corny joke about sending messages from the future if you're reading this from a place where it would still be July 5th.)  I'm so confused about what time it is.  I mean, I know what the time and date are because someone told me, but in terms of my sleep and eating cycles, the information is meaningless.  I guess that's what happens when you fly from Madrid to Zurich to Chicago to Seoul to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City in the span of five days.  About an hour ago, on the flight from Seoul to Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City, I woke up, looked out the window, and was interested to find that it was dark outside.  My grandma told me it was about 9 pm, to which I replied, "Oh.  That's an interesting bit of information.  What's the date now?"  My sense of time is so lost at the moment that I just alternatively sleep and wake up at will, and sometimes eat.  At the moment, I'm wide awake, but I'm not sure why or if that's correct for one of the time zones I was recently in.  Earlier today, I started changing my watch from Chicago time to Seoul's time zone, but I didn't change it all the way since I figured the time would be different anyways in Saigon.  So, my watch really isn't helping right now.  It's probably stuck on Hawaii's time zone, or somewhere around there.
En Route to Seoul-Incheon
My grandparents and I have been planning this trip since last summer.  Right before leaving for Madrid, I got a bunch of vaccinations for the Vietnam & Cambodia trip, including the typhoid vaccine.  I also got a box of malaria preventative pills to take once per day.  It becomes complicated to take something once per day when the International Date Line starts stealing large segments of your days.  We have brought enormous amounts of serious bug repelling lotion too.  It seems that you can get a whole host of diseases there from mosquitoes.  I didn't have time to get all the recommended vaccinations last summer before leaving for
Korean Air serves the best food!
My bibimbap came with a card of directions
explaining how to assemble it.
Madrid, so I just have to be lucky I guess.  I suppose I could have gotten some of them in Spain (maybe?), but I wasn't enthused about having yet another run-in with the healthcare system there.  By the way, this is one of those trips on which you absolutely cannot drink the tap water.  The whole disease/water issue reminds me of a quote from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  She writes that Richard from Texas advised her about traveling in India to, "Never touch anything but yourself."  Taken in the context of my life, this means, "Don't drink the water, don't touch the water, don't look at the water, and have fun on that river cruise!  And ice!  Steer clear of ice (cubes, cream, bergs)!"

In 2005, when Grandma Jean and Zaidy invited me on their trip to Belize and Costa Rica, we made a song about all the preventative pills we had to take.  Monday was for malaria pills, Tuesday was typhoid, etc.

The Arctic Ocean from 39,000 Feet
Earlier today (yesterday?), on the 14-hour flight, (the first flight) we flew over the Arctic Ocean.  When I looked out the window and through the breaks in the clouds, I saw huge sheets and chunks of ice floating through the frigid water.  I'm guessing that this is the place they referred to at the Frammuseet in Oslo when they explained how the Polar Ship (Fram) was locked, floating with the ice, for three years while the explorers worked their way toward the North Pole.

We have been traveling for about 26 hours today, and have just over an hour left until we land in Vietnam.  I think today might actually still be July 5th, not 6th, but barely.  It was the 4th of July when I left the US this morning (yesterday), but I'm pretty sure it'll be the 6th by the time we actually arrive at the hotel.  According to my netbook, it's 4:20 pm in Madrid.  I guess that means it's the morning of July 5th at home and around 11:20 pm on July 5th in Vietnam.  Regardless, tomorrow is the day we begin the tour!

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