August 1, 2001
left: Lee with Mt. Cooke in the background
Today Dorita and I went for a bush walk. We were planning to hike along the Bibulmann Trail to the summit of Mt. Cooke, the highest peak
in the Darling Range
at an altitude of 580 meters above sea level! Not exactly Mt. Everest. We had a map and drove
about 1 1/2 hours south of Perth to Mt. Cooke, and found many trails, but
we did not find access to the Biblumann trail. Because
time was running short, we made a nice hike/climb on an alternate trail
on the same mountain. We did climb to near the top of this hill and
found a very nice rock to sit on, took some nice pictures and had a wonderful
lunch. I don't think we ever saw the Bibulmann trail.
In the evening, Dorita's
sister Guida came over for dinner and I cooked Japanese food. We
had chicken and egg donburi, miso soup and spinach with sesame dressing.
The dinner was well received and a good time was had by all. Dorita
even baked an apple pie for dessert.
left: Dorita Martins
August 2, 2001
Today is my final full day in Perth, and it was another sunny, cool day. Dorita and I went for another run along the beach and today we visited the city of Perth and also did a little shopping. Allyce had a job interview, for a part-time job, so we took her to the interview and dropped her off. Tomorrow my flight leaves for Kuala Lumpur at 4:30 p.m. It has been a lot of fun visiting the Martins here in Perth and I'm sorry to be leaving.
August 3, 2001
On my last day in Perth, we toured the city of Perth a bit more, shopped for a few gifts, and took some more photos. It was cool and rainy all morning. Here are a couple of photos from Perth. On the left, Dorita and Allyce Martins and above right, the pedestrian zone in the center of Perth.
August 4, 2001, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Yesterday afternoon I flew from Perth to Kuala Lumpur. It is about a six hour flight, so I left at 4:30 p.m. and arrived around 10:30 p.m. Perth, Australia and Kuala Lumpur are in the same time zone. It is interesting to make a six hour flight (~6,000 km or ~ 3,500 miles) , almost directly north and fly out of the rainy Perth winter, across the equator, into a tropical summer. The JW Marriott, where I am staying, is about an hour from the airport by taxi, depending on the traffic. It is located at Bintang, the heart of Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle district. Bintang Walk is a beautiful pedestrian walkway, about a kilometer long, lined by shady trees, terra-cotta pots filled with flowering plants and completely filled with outdoor cafes and restaurants. From my room on the 16th floor, I can see the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest building in the world (452m or 1480 ft). Earlier today I walked to the towers, got a reservation for a visit to the skybridge in the towers. The ticket is free and the reservation is for 3:30 p.m. A cab ride to the towers, if I decide to ride instead of walk is 2 Malaysian ringats or about 1/2 US dollar.
In the afternoon, I went to a nearby internet cafe to check and answer a few e-mails. Sorry if yours is one of the 75 or so that I did not answer today. I have a lot of catching up to do after I get back. Art Western brings up an important question. If I fly around the world and gain a day like Phileas Fogg, do I need to claim that extra day as a vacation day? It's all very confusing.
After leaving the
internet cafe, I took a cab back to the Petronas Twin Towers, ate lunch
in a Malaysian restaurant and went on a tour of the skybridge. Construction
of the Petronas Twin Towers began in 1993 and it was officially opened
in August 1999. The building has 88 stories and 29 elevators in each
tower. The skybridge connects the two towers 29 stories above the
street. Below are a few images of Kuala Lumpur, taken from the skybridge:
Left to right: Kuala Lumpur cityscape; Kuala Lumpur City Center Park; looking down
August 6, 2001 - Auckland, New Zealand
Happy Birthday Mom, I'll call you from New Zealand!!
Greetings from 30,000 ft above the Indian Ocean, just south of the equator, somewhere between Jakarta, Indonesia and Darwin, Australia. It's midnight in Kuala Lumpur and about 4:00 a.m. in Auckland and I'm somewhere over the Indian Ocean, just south of Indonesia aboard a Malaysian Airlines 747. I can usually sleep on airplanes if I like, but in this case there is a very unhappy young baby in the seat in front of me. I can usually sleep if there is a normal crying baby, who just cries continually until he falls asleep, but this young man is extremely quiet for 5 to 15 minutes at a time, and then he lets out an ear-piercing, blood-curdling scream, the likes of which I have not heard anytime recently.
I may as well type now and sleep later. Surely this little guy cannot stay up the whole 9 hour flight. It takes a lot of energy to scream that loudly. I feel kinda bad for his parents, who seem to be desperately shushing him, to little or no avail.
The Kuala Lumpur airport was a nice one. It is very shiny and modern, and not very crowded. I ate dinner at Chili's American Restaurant in the KL airport; chicken nachos and a margarita -- very American. I usually do not gravitate to American restaurants when traveling, but once in a while it is nice. Kuala Lumpur is extremely international as far as I can tell from a single weekend visit. I saw several German restaurants, tons of Japanese restaurants, Korean restaurants, TGI Friday's, Outback Steakhouse; . . . . Of course, all the usual fast food chains are present - even MOS Burger - which I was introduced to in Kanazawa, Japan. It's just adjacent to the KIT campus.
I see from the map on the screen at the front of the cabin that we will make landfall, just west of Darwin, then we will cross over Alice Springs and later Sydney on our way to Auckland. I'm headed back to winter! I don't know whether to look forward to warm or cold weather now. I was feeling a bit cold in Perth and looking forward to the warm weather in Malaysia. It was very warm, but also very humid in Malaysia so cool weather sounds nice again. I guess it doesn't matter as long as my hotel room is warm (or cool!).
I have reserved a rental car in Auckland and I will be back to driving on the left once again! That should be fun. It seems like everyplace I go on this trip lately they are driving on the left - South Africa, Australia, Malaysia and now Auckland. I wonder which side of the rode they drive on in Fiji. The last time I drove it was on the Autobahn in Germany between Bludenz, Austria and Heidelberg, so driving in New Zealand should be pretty calm compared to that.
This baby in front of me has settled into a steadier and less ear-splitting cry, so maybe he will fall asleep soon.
This is about the least full crowded 747 that I have flown on on this trip around the world. I am sitting in an aisle seat in the middle row of four seats and there is nobody in the middle two seats. I see there are a lot of empty seats on this flight. There are individual screens on the back of each seat and passengers can choose from a selection of movies, TV shows and video games. I have also seen this arrangement on all the new 777's. With multiple movies to watch, video games, two meals, my laptop computer, the new Ken Follett book which I bought in Perth, nine hours won't be long enough to get bored! If that baby finally goes to sleep, I might sleep for a while anyway. It's a bit tricky however because just when you think he is asleep -- WOW!! What a screamer! Probably better to watch a movie and turn the volume up a bit.
Later on Monday:
I am now in Rotorua. My arrival in New Zealand went without incident. I got a rental car and got my first taste of left-handed shifting on the three hour drive between Auckland and Rotorua. It is interesting to note that that although the steering wheel and shift lever are reversed, the clutch is still operated with the left foot, while the brake and accelerator are operated with the right foot. I found my way to the Prince's Gate Hotel, checked in, showered and had dinner at a local Indian restaurant.
August 7, 2001
It was a bit of a shock arriving in Rotorua yesterday after a weekend in Kuala Lumpur. KL is a giant, bustling metropolis teeming with people. By comparison, my first impression of Rotorua is a small town which seemed almost completely empty. After the initial shock wears off, I realize that it is quite a pleasant small town full of things to do and see. This last week of my trip, however, is intended to be strictly vacation. I'm going to take it quite slowly, and enjoy myself.
Today, I got up relatively late and had a leisurely breakfast around 9:00 a.m. After breakfast I walked across the street and across the park to the Polynesian Spa where, "natural thermal waters provide a relaxing and very therapeutic soak for the most weary of travelers." I spent a couple of hours enjoying the spa and chatting with several other bathers. There was a Japanese family from Hokkaido who were VERY surprised when I spoke to them in Japanese. There was an older married couple who live in Rotorua and have been married for 53 years. This rather mature gentleman (80+ years) said, "You're a Yank, aren't you? We like Yanks." He went on to tell how the "Yanks" saved New Zealand from the Japanese back in WWII.
In the afternoon I took a gondola ride up to Skyline Skyrides, where they have a very nice view and also a 2 km long luge track. These "luges" sit very close to the ground on small wheels and roll downhill - quite rapidly. The "luges" are steerable and I noticed that as I took one corner a bit too fast, the luge tipped up on two wheels. It was a lot of fun. Apparently they don't have as many attorneys in New Zealand as they have in the USA.
In the evening, I went to a "living Maori Village experience." The Maori are the native New Zealanders who were here before the Europeans came. There was a mock Maori village, traditional Maori songs & dances and a buffet style "Maori feast" with a somewhat non-traditional cash bar. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I met a group of four people who were traveling together on vacation and had been to Australia for a wedding. Pat and his wife Jo were Irish who had moved to Atlanta many years ago where there daughter Tanja was born. Tanja and her best friend also live and work in Atlanta. It turned out that Pat is a mechanical engineer and the whole group was very friendly and we had a nice visit over dinner.
But we have too long ignored, Phileas Fogg
and Passepartout, who must now be nearing their end of their journey as
well. If I have calculate correctly, then Phileas Fogg will also
complete his journey on Saturday. Recall the last leg of Fogg's journey:
From New York to London, by steamer and rail........ 9 days
Verne writes, "An hour after, the Henrietta passed the lighthouse which marks the entrance of the Hudson, turned the point of Sandy Hook, and put to sea. During the day she skirted Long Island, passed Fire Island, and directed her course rapidly eastward.
At noon the next day, a man mounted the bridge to ascertain the vessel's position. It might be thought that this was Captain Speedy. Not the least in the world. It was Phileas Fogg, Esquire. As for Captain Speedy, he was shut up in his cabin under lock and key, and was uttering loud cries, which signified an anger at once pardonable and excessive.
What had happened was very simple. Phileas Fogg wished to go to Liverpool, but the captain would not carry him there. Then Phileas Fogg had taken passage for Bordeaux, and, during the thirty hours he had been on board, had so shrewdly managed with his banknotes that the sailors and stokers, who were only an occasional crew, and were not on the best terms with the captain, went over to him in a body. This was why Phileas Fogg was in command instead of Captain Speedy; why the captain was a prisoner in his cabin; and why, in short, the Henrietta was directing her course towards Liverpool. It was very clear, to see Mr. Fogg manage the craft, that he had been a sailor.
How the adventure ended will be seen anon. Aouda was anxious, though she said nothing. As for Passepartout, he thought Mr. Fogg's manoeuvre simply glorious. The captain had said "between eleven and twelve knots," and the Henrietta confirmed his prediction.
If, then--for there were "ifs" still--the sea did not become too boisterous, if the wind did not veer round to the east, if no accident happened to the boat or its machinery, the Henrietta might cross the three thousand miles from New York to Liverpool in the nine days, between the 12th and the 21st of December. It is true that, once arrived, the affair on board the Henrietta, added to that of the Bank of England, might create more difficulties for Mr. Fogg than he imagined or could desire.
During the first days, they went along smoothly enough. The sea was not very unpropitious, the wind seemed stationary in the north-east, the sails were hoisted, and the Henrietta ploughed across the waves like a real trans-Atlantic steamer."
So, while Fogg is steaming his way across the Atlantic, I will fly to Fiji tomorrow and spend a few days snorkeling and lying on the beach. In fact, I am not scheduled to leave Fiji until after 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 11th and my scheduled arrival date in Indianapolis is, nevertheless, August 11 (just in time for Sarah's 21st birthday)!
August 8, 2001; Fiji
Travel day! I arose on a beautiful winter morning in Rotorua, New Zealand. Remember that a beautiful winter morning in New Zealand does not resemble a winter morning in Indiana. Instead it was a bit rainy and ~15C (or 59 F). I had breakfast, packed, and climbed behind the wheel of the Suzuki rental car. I did manage to find the correct side of the road to drive on (the left), and managed to shift left-handed and turn on the blinkers with the right - occasionally I was able to perform all three functions simultaneously. No honking or near collisions were involved. It is a fairly pleasant drive from Rotorua to Auckland. Very green and mostly very rural. For my German friends and colleagues who read this journal, the maximum speed limit on the motorway in New Zealand was 100 kph (62 mph); even slower than the maximum legal speeds in the USA.
Auckland airport is neither the largest or busiest airport that I have seen this summer. This fact will surprise nobody. I was a bit early returning to the airport so I pulled off at a convenient scenic overlook just before the airport to watch the jets land. As I climbed out of the car, the first jet landed. I waited about 15 minutes and did not see another airplane land, so I finally climbed back in the car and continued to the airport.
I have the impression of New Zealand that it may have the most public-internet-connections per capita of any place that I have been (and I have been to quite a few places!). I saw an internet connection at a rest stop along the highway! In tiny Rotorua there seemed to be many internet cafes and even in the historic, rather old-fashioned, Prince's Gate Hotel, there was a computer and internet connection in the lobby of the hotel. There was coin operated e-mail access in the airport.
I was pleasantly surprised to realize after checking in, that the flight from Auckland to Fiji was less than 4 hours and Auckland and Fiji are both in the same time zone. The 737 was not crowded and so I had an row of three seats on the exit over the wing, all to myself. It was a great flight to end an easy day of traveling.
Tonight I am staying at the Skylodge Hotel near the airport for on F$66 which is about $25 US. I had goat curry at the restaurant in the hotel after I arrived. It was delicious. Tomorrow I'll move to a hotel on the beach.
August 9, 2001;
Bula, welcome to the island paradise of Fiji! Fiji is actually a group of islands in the South Pacific, about 18 degrees south of the equator and right on the 180 longitude meridian. I took a 45 minute boat ride from Nadi to the tiny island of Malalo, where I am staying at the Musket Cove Resort. I am staying in an ocean view "bure." Picture a cottage with a thatched roof. It has electricity, water, ceiling fans, kitchen, a refrigerator, coffee pot and a view of the ocean. What more could anyone ask for during the last three days of a trip around the world?
On the boat ride coming to Musket Cove I met a nice Dutch woman named Saskia. Saskia is from the Hague, in Holland and she quit her job as a PE teacher to travel around the world for a year. She spent the last six months working in Australia. Later this afternoon, I ran into Saskia at the oceanfront pool and we also met a man from New Zealand named Chris. Chris is a retired airline pilot, and now has his own yacht which he sailed from Christchurch to Fiji (around 5,000 km; 3,500 miles)! For about six months of the year Chris lives on his boat and sails.
Thursday night is "pig on a spit night," at Dick's Place, the Musket Cove restaurant and bar, so all afternoon we could see (and smell) a pig roasting on a spit. Chris, Saskia and I got a table together and enjoyed the Fijian buffet. It was delicious. After dinner the Fijian staff entertained with traditional songs and dances. After the entertainment, we sat around under the stars talking, enjoying the ocean breeze. Chris invited us and some other people to go snorkeling tomorrow from his boat. This part of the trip is turning out to be a LOT of fun. Now it's two minutes before midnight and in two minutes I will arrive in the 10th of August before almost anyone else I know (except Chris and Saskia of course!).
Earlier tonight, just before dinner, the sky was completely clear, the moon was not up, and the stars were brilliant. I immediately picked out Mars and the southern cross. I think I could also recognize the tail of the scorpion. Seeing the southern cross reminded me of Perth, because that is the first place I had seen it. Humboldt wrote, "Nichts mahnt der Reisende so auffallend an die ungeheure Entfernung seiner Heimat als der Anblick eines neuen Himmels." "Nothing reminds the traveler so strikingly of the enormous remoteness of his home as the sight of a new heaven." I know what Humboldt felt and I am acutely aware of the remoteness of Fiji from Terre Haute, Indiana. I am also acutely aware that I do not recognize the southern hemisphere constellations, and that I did not not bring a star chart for the Southern Hemisphere, and there is not an internet connect on the island of Malalo!
August 10, 2001;
Wow, what a day! I met Chris, Saskia, and two new people, Jim and his son Mark at 10:00 a.m. and rode the dinghy out to Chris's yacht, the Wandering Willy. It was a beautiful morning and the color of the ocean was so intense that it almost looked unnatural. The water was deep and clear and we got aboard the yacht and motored out to the barrier reef just southwest of the island.
Right: Jim and Saskia
Jim is an interesting Kiwi, 70-something, retired dairy farmer-pilot who had learned to fly Mosquitos in "the war". He still owns an airplane and still flies. His son Mark is a businessman living in Melbourne. Chris's boat was a 40 ft Robertson with an 80 hp Ford motor for times like today when the sails weren't necessary. The woodwork on this boat was simply beautiful. It must take a lot of work to keep this large craft in such good condition.
We snorkeled around the reef for a couple of hours and we saw fish of every hue and shade, including neon blue starfish, and a dull brown and white lion fish that looked more like a bird with feathers than a fish. We also saw a shark which Chris estimated to be about 8 ft long. Since Chris spotted the shark first and didn't seem worried about it, I figured it was also not necessary to worry. Besides, I was closer to the boat than Mark or Saskia so I wouldn't really need to out swim the shark, only Mark and/or Saskia!
After several hours of snorkeling we returned to the resort for an afternoon of swimming in the seaside, fresh-water pool. I laid around reading and chatting. After dinner at the local restaurant, we went to the "$2.50 Bar," which is on a small spit of land, protruding into the bay from the resort. All drinks at this bar cost two and a half Fijian dollars which is roughly $1. The prices were pretty hard to beat. At the "$2.50 Bar," I also met Karen and Kieran Jones who are also Kiwi's. Kieran had spent a year in St. Louis during his high school days studying at Country Day School in St. Louis! I grew up in St. Louis and had been to Country Day School several times for both football games and track meets. Kieran had also played football at Country Day School. Wow, what a shock to meet someone on Fiji who talked to me about Country Day School!! The world is truly growing smaller. Kieran and Karen seemed like a really wonderful couple and we hit it off right away. We could all make jokes about the Kiwis or the Yanks without worry of offending. I was a bit concerned when I thought Karen called me "boring Lee" but she was really only saying that their name "boringly" was Jones. Kieran assured me that his wife wouldn't be able to recognize a boring person so quickly and I felt much relieved.
These past two days have been a nearly perfect finish to this trip. Tomorrow I will be sad to leave Fiji, but quite happy about returning home to my family.
August 11, 2001, back in the USA
my bure at Musket Cove
August 11 is a very long day. I have been saving up an hour from each time zone that I crossed from west to east, and now I will get all of those hours back on August 11 by crossing the international date line. I woke up and began packing around 8:00 a.m. in Fiji on August 11. At that time, it was still August 10 at around 4:00 p.m. in Indiana. I checked out of my bure at 10:00 a.m. and spent the morning swimming, hiking and writing postcards. It was a nice relaxing way to begin a very long day. At 2:30 p.m. Fijian time I watched about 1/2 hour of the much advertised rugby match between Australia and New Zealand. There were a huge crowd of people gather around the TV in the bar to watch the match. I would have stayed a bit longer to watch, but I had a 3:00 p.m. reservation on a boat back to Nadi.
On the 45 minute boat ride back to the main island, I met a New Zealand family traveling with two small boys. We chatted for a while and when they learned that my flight back to the USA didn't leave until 10:00 p.m., they invited me to join them for dinner at a local restaurant - the Maharajah. At the end of the boat ride, we transferred our luggage to a bus for a ride to the airport, where I left my baggage at the "left-baggage" facility, got a cab and I was at the Maharajah in time to see the sunset on Fiji on August 11.
I had a really nice dinner of fish curry and naan (Indian bread). It was nice to have company for dinner. Derrick is a "turner-fitter" and his wife Cheryl is a librarian. A turner-fitter might be called something like lathe operator - machinist in the US.
right: Sailboat at Musket Cove Resort
Back at the Nadi airport, I encountered the longest check-in line that I have seen this summer. Luckily, I was at the airport three hours before my flight, and so, two hours later, I was checked in with an hour to spare. There was no hurry, since the plane left almost an hour late anyway. We departed from Nadi at ~11:00 p.m. on August 11, or about 6:00 a.m. Indiana time also on August 11 for the 10 hour flight to LA. Ten hours, two meals, two movies and one sunrise later, we arrived at LAX. Interesting to note that this was my second sunrise for August 11. The first had been at 6:00 a.m. at Musket Cove.
Since we arrived at LAX an hour later, I had only about 2 hours to make it through immigration, collect my baggage, go through customs, recheck by baggage, find the correct Northwest Airlines terminal and find the gate. It was close, and it was stressful, but I made it. Now it's about noon in Fiji on the 12th but it is about 6:45 p.m. in Terre Haute on August 11 and I'm on a Northwest Airlines flight headed for Minneapolis; my last stop before Indianapolis. Within the next few hours I'll also get to see my second sunset of August 11. At the moment we are about 5 minutes behind schedule, but I have about an hour layover in Minneapolis. If the weather and the airline equipment cooperate, I may still see Indianapolis on August 11.
number two, August 11, 2001
It's now 8:30 p.m. on August 11th in the midwest and the sun is setting for the second time on August 11th. We have passed over the Rocky Mountains and the typical midwest landscape that looks like a patchwork quilt is in dim view some 30,000 feet below. We'll be landing in Minneapolis in about 20 minutes where I'll prepare for my final flight to complete this trip around the world.
13, 2001 - Terre Haute, Indiana!
In fact, my flight from Minneapolis to Indianapolis on Saturday night was delayed for about an hour and I did not arrive in Terre Haute on August 11. Instead, this 43 hour day ended mercifully on the flight between Minneapolis and Indianapolis and I arrived in Indianapolis at about 1:00 a.m. on August 12. I was home, in Terre Haute by 2:00 a.m. I was up by 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, attended church at 11:00 a.m. and we had a wonderful celebration of Sarah's 21st birthday on Sunday evening.
Sarah Waite - 21 years old!
Here is a picture of 21 year old Sarah in a traditional Ghanaian dress which her dad carried 3/4 of the way around the world for her birthday. It was a gift from George and Adjoa.
In the end, the trip was a great success. The research in Heidelberg is progressing, I managed to deliver some equipment and supplies to the clinic and hook them up to e-mail and I made it home in time to celebrate Sarah's birthday. I met and visited so many wonderful people around the world that I never really tired of traveling. So many people worked to make my trip so very enjoyable that I want to say thank you to all of them. Everyone from my colleagues at RHIT who put up with my absences and collected my mail, to the friend who put me up in their homes, to the fellow travelers that I met along the way. If I start making a list, I'm sure I will leave someone out - you all know who you are. Thanks so much for all that you did for me.
Enjoy the rest of your summer. -- Lee
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