Saturday, January 26, 2008

And we're safe!

We. Have. Arrived.

Our bags are still at SFO, but we have arrived in Portland.

This blog is becoming a safe-keeper of memories and a do-not do list for when you travels.

Still, We. Have. Arrived. Safely.

And, really, that's all that matters.

Friday, January 25, 2008

If I could spell the German word for "Goodbye"

In a temporary holding pattern, this latest entry serves as a sign post: I sit in our guest house's internet room on Julia and I's last night in Bangkok, last night in Thailand. We fly back to main land this afternoon from Phuket and will be on a 5 PM flight back to the States on Jan 26th, tomorrow. We arrive the same day (miraculous how they've figured out how to use time, really): 10 PM to Portland airport, Julia's parents graciously picking us up.

From there I'll drive back to Yreka then Santa Cruz to hitch a ride to SFO: I'm off to Ireland and England next. Julia's gonna earn a bit o' cash back in Pee-Pee town and we're moving to LA at the end of Feb. Huh, probably most of you already knew that. Ah well, there it is and expect the final postings as we both find time.

Thanks for tuning in.

Endless love (but not an endless vacation),

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Swimming with Fishes and a Childhood Puzzle

When I was little I remember many an afternoon putting together my favorite jigsaw puzzle: an ocean view of over a hundred pieces with every creature imaginable under the sea in its small rectangle. The beautiful whales (Blue, Orca, Sperm, Humpback) were at the top with the dolphins, giving eachother their necessary space and taking breaths at the surface with the seagulls. Down along the sides, kelp and coral drew the eyes with its greens and oranges and reds. Fish swam alone, in schools, in and out of coral and kelp. All were brightly colored, all were placed with special care into their respective fittings.

Growing up this puzzle was so special to me (or perhaps I just have the level of orderliness) that there was almost a system for putting the puzzle together. The borders, of course, were first, as any good jigsaw puzzler knows, but the pieces then fit together in order of my preference for the creatures they contained. I seem to remember one particular red-orange coral, with its respective fish, being my favorite.

Along the bottom panel though, the world of the sea got a little darker and, as the puzzle grew more and more complete, I feared placing the last piece in: a morrey eel lurking among the dark brown coral looking for its prey. It was nasty and sinister and more evil looking than anything Disney could cook up in The Little Mermaid. Sometimes, I wouldn't even put this piece in, not wanting to touch it, and consider the puzzle done without the last piece in place--afterall, I knew where it went, I just didn't want to put it there.

These were the memories--images of the creatures that swam in tropical waters with coral--that I took to the sea withme, snorkel mask fitted, and Julia by my side. I was as excited as I was nervous (thinking to myself that this was truly the reason I could never be a marine biologist), monitoring my breathing to a steady pace--it was going to be OK, I wasn't going to see an eel.

It's amazing where hopeful thinking can get you. In this case, it got me into the water and swimming with FISH in THE OCEAN: Angel fish, schools of hunderds of little silver fish, ones with neon blue stripes, others with neon pink and green dashes on their heads, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs, little jellies (kind of tubular ones and ones with yellow in their tops--yes, we stayed away from them), bigger silver fish and more and more and more all over the rocks and the coral and everything...

And then, there it was: a little grey eel, sleek and harmless looking, poking around a small rock looking for food (presumably vegetarian), below and in front of me by maybe fifteen feet. It couldn't have been more than a foot long and didn't seem to know that we were even there. And I wasn't scared. In fact, I felt a little relieved. There was an eel, not even interested in my presence, doing its own thing right there in the ocean with me (or rather, in the ocean with me intruding).

We watched him go about his feeding business for a minute or two and then another school of fish came in with the waves and we were distracted and re-interested in something else all over again.

We were out there, no more than 50 meters from the shore, for maybe a half hour or so before we decided to head back in and take a rest. In that time, we had followed some other gorgeous creatures of the sea, and yes, found another eel, poking out of its holely home: spotted brown and white, snapping at the water, but still not interested in us humans.