1601, 1 May 98, Andrews AFB
Take-off KC-135 fuel tanker. Crew of 11 will be with us the entire trip.
Tom: The upper half of the interior is OD green padded with normal looking passenger seats inserted on pallets. In the rear storage area you can see where they do "boomer" refueling operations.
I expect I'll get to see the boomer area before this trip (or even this leg) is over. [I did a little later. They say F16s look like gnats when they are coming up for fuel.]
Facts for now.
The picture shows our aircraft.
The preferred way to get pas-
sengers on and off is through
some king of stairway posi-
tioned to enter the big cargo
door as shown here. When no
stairway was available at some
points in our trip, we had to
use the tactical ladder which
you can barely see descending
from behind the pilot's seat
near the two crewmembers on
2359 Slept off & on. Can
barely see to read or write.
Aircraft is cold!!! Sweater
and light blanker are just
barely enough. Few portholes
(windows). It is just now getting light outside.
Just can't write. Worried about Denny and Laura. Hopefully, the weekend will help them recoup. Tom seems okay, but who knows.
I think it is +7 hours time difference in Crete.
0150 (DC time)/ 0850 (Crete time), 2 May 98
Landed in Crete at a US Navy Base.
2123 (still 2 May) (after talking to Denny & Laura and finding out everything is OK) Daily summary:
We were met by a Greek Major who had been tasked to take care of us by the Greek Brigadier General who is a student at ICAF this year. HE REALLY DID [take care of us]!
After check-in at the hotel, he took us off in the direction of Knossos (more on it later). Everyone snoozed a little on the bus even though the scenery was beautiful. All of the Construction Industry Study group went but only half of the Environmental IS went. (It was a voluntary sightseeing excursion.)
The Major treated us (on behalf of his Air Force Squadron) to lunch in a nice little village near the coast. Mom & Pop & kids operation. She was afraid she couldn't handle our large number but we basically said, "Feed us what you have." They did; it was great!
The picture shows two folks I will refer to later.
Jeff High is in the white hat with a beard and Norm Reich
is to his left.
The first glass of Ratzini (sp?) (Crete red wine)
was a little hard to get down. Tastes a little of pine tar or turpentine. But if you drink it while eating goat cheese and/or olive oil salad, it gets better!
The village is set up for tourists but there are very few in early May. The real tourist season starts in June. They get lots of Germans and Scandinavians.
So the shoppers in our group were able to buy a lot of stuff. John McMahan (seminar mate from Ft. Leavenworth) apparently bought enough in one shop that we all could get free post cards there!
Off to Knossos. In 1653 b.c., it was the height of Western Civilization. Some historians have downplayed what we consider barbaric aspects such as human sacrifice, fertility ceremonies, orgies, etc.
What most amazed/baffled me was how they provided an infrastructure for 100,000 inhabitants. How did you feed them and remove their wastes everyday, for example? They showed us cast clay pipes which brought water from the mountains, primarily for the palace. (The engineers were fascinated with the fact that the shape and fitting technique is the same as used today.)
Who knows how they did it?
The picture shows an excavated site. The urns were
used to store oil. They believe the black marks on some of the stones were caused by a fire in this room. The number
of urns shows you how big of a palace was supported.
??e back, everyone snoozed even though the
curves in the road! Tiring day, but a great aid in transi-
tioning through jet lag.
- Olive groves: I now understand the biblical reference. They are like short, stunted peach trees, often on a hillside, not necessarily in rows. Some have lots of undergrowth; others are newly planted and have none. Looks like an expansion crop. Hillsides being cleared and planted.
- Orange trees everywhere. Terrific taste to the oranges.
- Speculation: Looks like tourists, olives, and oranges are the basis for the economy, in that order.
later ??t;br> I was so glad to get back and call Denny. I was so afraid that something had happened (based on the bad experience from last TDY).
It was a tough phone call in that she had just read the mail with all the sympathy cards. It was nice, regardless, just to hear her and Laura talk and find out everything was okay. (Tom had gone on his canoe trip.)
Hearing them made it easier to write this. It is harder to write this year. I don't have the same willingness to express myself/intellectual curiosity. I'll keep trying.
0719, 3 May 98
Take-off from Crete enroute to India.
At least 5 solid hours of sleep. So far, the easiest jet lag I've ever experienced. Probably shouldn't have said that yet ??'ll see.
Other Crete impressions: Much like the movies have led you to expect: blue, blue Mediterranean Sea; arid landscape with stunted growth except in the valleys with water.
1104 Apparently crossed the Nile River while I was sleeping. Reportedly a great view from the "boomer" seat. Now crossing Bahrain, entering the Persian Gulf. Assume we will slide down the Gulf and around Iran.
Only two portholes. They are in emergency exit doors over the wings, so to see any Earth, you have to scrunch down and back and peer forward. There are two more little ones in the rear but we have luggage crammed in front of them. There should be some great views from the boomer pit, but they shut it to get some crew beds laid out.
1645 (India tiime = +2.5 from Crete)
Landed in India. HOT!!
We formed our own bucket brigade to unload our luggage while bemused Indians watched.
4 May Visited several places:
First was a Construction Site for the American Elementary School. It is not directly connected to the embassy. Koreans are the second biggest group, besides Americans, in the school.
Safety is not a major concern in their sites nor do they use much equipment. Note in the picture on the opposite page that the workers are breaking up rock with sledge hammers and iron bars. There is a jack hammer air compression line running right through their midst but they won't use it. You may notice the big crane in the background. They entire time we were on the site we only saw it used once and then it was only to move a handful of rope about 50 feet. You can barely see a worker on the right carrying something on his head. They won't use even wheelbarrows; everyone brought onto the site was broken within two days.
Why? They believe that equipment takes workers' jobs away; therefore they are resistant to such uses.
Believe it or not (confirmed twice) this is the third biggest construction project in the Dehli area!!
We next visited the American Embassy, also pictured on the opposite page. Tidbits:
- Indian-American Doctors:
-1 for every 1300 Americans in USA.
-1 doctor for every 2400 Indians in India.
- Nehruvian Socialism:
-Indian Administrative Service = bureaucrats who exert power by saying
-result is that smart, entrepreneurial people are stifled.
- Priority of Indian government focus is on infrastructure, in priority: telecommunications, ports, electric power, roads.
We kept passing through this big park like open area and the archway pictured on the opposite page so I took a picture.
We then visited Raytheon. Tidbits/verification of other items:
-It only costs about 50 cents an hour for unskilled labor and $1.50 for skilled (e.g. welder) labor, therefore they use a lot of manual labor. It's cheaper than bringing in equipment which they will try to break anyway.
-In Oct 94 they were awarded a contract for a power project. In Apr 98 they finally got approval to start work from all the necessary bureaucrats.
We then visited the Asia Development Bank. They confirmed that:
- bureaucratic hurdles mean in India that 2 years = 12 years.
- bribes are often the only way to get a project moving.
I made the preceding cryptic notes during the day. I'm just not able to write consistent critical thoughts.
They one overriding impression from today: India has not enjoyed economic success like East Asia and China for one reason (verified by three sources):
Bureaucracy a.k.a. Indian Administrative Services
Best example: From Asian Development Bank representative: What takes 2 years in China takes 12 years in India. The communist Party bureaucracy in China is more responsive to business needs that the democracy in India, which derives from Nehruvian Socialism.
So ?? the latter a result of the inhibitive powers of Democracy?
There were great hopes for the new Hindi Party (BJP). But none of the hopes have been realized because factions play their internal issue politics to the detriment of the common good.
So ?? the future NOT Democracy but instead Market Communism?
(supposedly an oxymoron, but China is a land of contradictions.)
5 May (slept well, about 7 hours)
First, I must note a supplemental reason for India's lack of overwhelming economic success. The political officer at the Deputy Chief of Mission's reception last night provided this reason:
The Caste System.
Though outlawed (or at least the worst discriminatory aspects) because of Democracy, it survives today. e.g.:
- He has seen a bureaucrat stand in his office irritatingly ringing a buzzer to have the right person come into the room to bring his own briefcase from across his office rather than walk over and get it himself.
- You can't ask the Bearer in your house to sweep the front walk because that is beneath him.
* Therefore, the result is they are focussed more on making sure no one exceeds their level on the caste ladder than they are on the general welfare.
(He also noted that they can be severely back-biting; trying to get ahead on the ladder.)
Caste focus works against entrepreneurial efforts: they don't "Get the job done" or "Make it happen".
I need some 'alone' time and this roommate stuff doesn't give it to you. Jeff has graciously offered during different segments to rotate his single occupancy. I'll get a single room in Malaysia which will be nice. [We had to go with roommates this year in an effort to save money.]
0900 Visited Bridge site. Note in the picture that in this approach to the bridge that is a group of squatting women sweeping dirt off of dirt. The best explanation the engineers could come up with is that it would help the asphalt to be laid better adhere to the clay subsurface.
1000 Visited tourist site with Cobra and this tower. Note that between 1100 - 1300 a.d. the Muslim invaders destroyed Hindu temples in the area to build their mosques. That was the beginning of the enmity between Hindis and Moslems in India. The tower is a result of Moslem architecture.
Did some shopping around lunch time: strange spoons, no T-shirts!
Visited the Chamber of Commerce in the afternoon. Indian infrastructure needs in billions of US dollars:
Industrial parks 16
Went to bed early ~2030. Didn't go touring with Jeff.
0307, 6 May
Let me just whine a little bit. My roommate, Jeff, got something stuck in his throat at 0207 and his efforts to clear his throat slightly woke me. I then went to the bathroom. Jeff asked if I was okay (thinking I might have had the runs) and I assured him I was fine. He went to the bathroom.
We were then both trying to get back to sleep and I don't think either of us made it. I swear that there is a concrete saw or some kind of radial saw operating somewhere around here. There is a slight high whining noise which kept recurring ina pattern like someone was sawing something.
Oh, well ?? had to be up by 0330-0345 anyway. We are loading our bags out of the hotel at 0420. Depart for airport by 0515. Wheels up by 0600, we hope.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on CNN world weather forecast is predicted to be 95degrees with rain and thunderstorms. Yesterday, an Indian warned us how HOT KL would be. Must be the humidity that makes a difference. It was over a 100o every day in while we've been here. 106o tops.
Odds and Ends:
- 52% literacy rate in India.
- Cultural penetration: The Brits certainly left their mark on India. You constantly see their influence. The Hotel Imperial, where we stayed, is filled with momentoes of the colonial period.
American penetration is far less obvious, though MTV is on the TV and there is even an Indian version where all the singers dance around in sexy saris.
- Once again, I think the young may be the hope. Our "bus rider" (rides on left side [opposite the driver] and waves and yells at traffic) on the second day displayed a certain insouciance or disrespect or a look of rebellion with the older driver. Perhaps they will truly break the caste system.
- 70% of the surface water is polluted. There are only 36 water treatment plants in the entire country.
- This is the 7th new New Delhi. That's why the Indians usually just say "Delhi."
- Joking and smiling works with the younger folks and the ones who serve you but not with the headman. I guess it is not proper respect.
Wheels-up from New Delhi!
Should have been 0700 but we had our own experience with bureaucrats who like to say, "No." They made us run all of our luggage through the bomb detector before we could load it on our own USAF aircraft!!! I really think they just wanted a bribe. They wouldn't let us take the luggage carts through the security gate so we had to make multiple trips for water and lunches.
~1100 (KL time = +2.5 from Delhi or +12 from DC
We flew over the Ganges River. I happened to have just moved the luggage around so you could lie in the boomer's seat; therefore, I got a great picture! I went forward to confirm it was the Ganges with the Navigator (he did) and took what I thought was a great shot of the Himalayas sticking through the clouds from the pilot's rear port window. As you can see, you can barely see the mountains.
1325 Apparently the navigator miscalculated time over distance. We should have been there but we aren't. Oh well, as we say at ICAF, "Semper Gumby" (Always Flexible)!
1455 Looks like we are finally going to land; descending.
I haven't been able to read much. I have a novel from an author I have liked in the past but get irritated or lose interest after 4 or 5 pages.
I finally cracked the book I brought along from the Compassionate Friends library. It is a father writing about the loss of his 2 year old son in "When Goodbye is Forever." Hardly able to put it down.
Will call Denny at 1800 which will be 0600 (same day) her time. Probably lousy timing what with her about to go to work, but hopefully we can talk.
1515 Landed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No escort. No gangway or stairway of any kind. No notice to the airfield that we were coming. Offloaded ourselves through the tactical ladder. No diplomatic clearance.
Wrong time on the flight plan means our embassy contact left.
1730 Stuck in traffic on the way into town. First impression: Rich! New buildings everywhere. Late model cars. Few slums. Lots of Chinese.
6 lane freeway has a parallel lane on each side for motorcycles and scooters.
1840 Finally in a room! Too late to call Denny!
0037, 7 May
Here I sit in the lap of luxury wide awake. This place (Radisson) is gorgeous with all the little amenities.
But the phone next door has been ringing every 10-15 minutes since I first tried to go to sleep about 2230. [Next night I discovered it was the hall phone.]
Of course, biologically, it is only 10 p.m. to me based on yesterday's time.
And now that I have a single room I've let myself think about what I don't want to write about here and now.
Wish I had been able to get a call home. Have my alarm set for 0600 so I can wake up and catch Denny & kids just as they finish dinner.
Will try reading.
0843, 7 May
Got through to Denny and kids at 0630 and then ran to dress, eat, and catch the bus. Great to talk with them.
We are enroute 50 kilometers south (32 miles) to the new KL International Airport. The countryside reminds me of Arkansas. Cattle are grazing in green fields with uncleared areas lush in undergrowth. Only difference are the palm trees, often in rows. They are plantation palms; our escort says Malaysia is the world's largest producer of palm oil.
He also says there are 64 golf courses within one hour of KL.
Odds & Ends:
-Nearly no crime in Malaysia. Only since the economic downturn have there been some purse snatchings. Note the warning on our visa: "Death for drug trafficers under Malaysian Law." (though they haven't really done that to anyone.)
-Malaysians (not Chinese Malaysian) only have one name. e.g.
[PM] Mahathir (bin) Mohammed
means " son of "
~they all introduce themselves with just their one name.
-There are a lot of phonetic adaptations from English:
Muzium, projek, kolej (college), teksi (taxi), restoran (restaurant~French)
-They point at people with thumb on top of closed hand NOT with a finger, though it appears to be okay to point at things with two fingers.
-Totally government controlled media.
-No real external security threat. Military is not a political power like in Indonesia.
We visited the new KL International Airport this morning. Huge. When it opens in July it will be able to handle 25 million passengers annually. There is enough room set aside to expand additional satellite terminals to 60 million and even 100 million.
The two runways are each 4,000 meters long. The Space Shuttle could land here!
It is 50 km southwest of KL and connected by a 6 lane interstate/autobahn highway. which will be the spine of their new Hi-Tech Corridor which Bill Gates has invested in.
We were briefed by an ex-patriot American, Ray Moss. [ex-pat is generally used to describe any foreigner residing in a country; it doesn't necessarily mean they have given up citizenship in their home country.] He went off on interesting tangents.
He speaks and reads Mandarin from his time in Hong Kong. He said that the last character in Sun Tzu's "Art of War" should most accurately be interpreted as "Art of What Soldiers Do" which works better with his lessons, for example, because Sun Tzu teaches that strength can lead to triumph which can be achieved without war.
Most interesting were his comments on the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahatir. He has been PM for 18 years and is the inspiration behind Malaysian economic development. Per Ray Moss, Mahatir says the British left this legacy:
-Chinese could own little land so they were forced to focus on business.
-Only Malaysians could be government administrators and own land. So they learned to be unagressive by being bureaucrats and living off the land which is so fruitful that they only had to work 3 months a year to live the rest of the year.
-Small villages resulted in small group intermarriages among Malay-Malaysians.
*Therefore, (per Ray Moss) Mahatir promotes intermarriage with the Chinese-Malaysians. But many of the people have a real problem with that because Buddhists and Muslems simply don't mix well. And the Chinese will not marry anyone with the same family surname no matter how manner generations removed.
-Mahatir also promotes international business and Hi-tech. The infrastructure is being financed by petroleum reserves. But because of their anticipated depletion within 20 years, he is promoting Hi-tech alternatives.
-Democracy seems to be pro-forma, confirmed by the Embassy rep. The only opposition is in the north of the country.
We spent the afternoon at Petronas Towers, both the highest buildings in the world. [Sears Tower went to some international institution to get their building declared the highest building in the world based on level of human occupancy. But the Petronas Towers are the highest buildings because of the manmade spires on top of each.]
They are distinctively
the new landmark of KL. This
picture was taken as we turned
into our hotel on the first after-
noon before we even got the
briefings on their significance.
They took over 100
acres from an old colonial horse
club. But the local government
forced them to dedicate at least
50% to a green area or park
area. You can see part of the
park area in the canted picture
on the facing page.
The picture from a
distance clearly shows the bridge
between the two buildings. I'm
pictured from the center of that
bridge. Just under my elbow is
our "little" hotel of 30 stories.
I could see the towers from my hotel window as I originally wrote this. There are numerous other developments as part of the project. Shopping, hotels, condominiums, etc. Big business.
Off to a cultural show with dinner tonight.
Odds & Ends: The remote in the hotel room controls TV, air conditioning, and all the lights!!
0753, 8 May
Enroute to visit Conoco oil refinery south of KL about 150 kms (90 miles).
Slept solidly straight through last night!
Dinner and show was okay. Nice to have such a broad selection of food. Can't remember the names. The one item I liked best had several vegetables in thin strips with a light spicy red sauce. There were some skinny noodles with finely chopped beggies which were also good. All displayed on a huge buffet.
The show was a bunch of young kids and the concept was that it was a village wedding celebration. I presume it was authentic.
The Environment IS (our sister group) couldn?o to Indonesia so they are staying with us in KL. They spent four hours on the flight line yesterday in the shade under the wings and fuselage. Reason? President Suharto was using the airfield they were cleared to go into in Indonesia and it was, therefore, shut down to all other air traffic. Alternate/supplemental, more cynical reason? The aircrew did not have US approved approach map for an alternate airfield.
They seem to have taken it positively. It didn't hurt having the luxury of our hotel to help convince them they were making the right decision!!
Writing on the bus is too hard.
Odds & Ends:
-We are seeing the
first blue skies they have
had in three months in
Malaysia. They are greatly affected by the smog and haze that tends to drift primarily from Indonesia/Borneo as well Malaysia part of Borneo.
-South of the Airport towards Singapore: vast palm plantations. Newly terraced hillsides which go all the way to the top.
-Some rubber trees have gone/reverted to wild.
-"Autobahn" is landscaped the entire length with flowering plants. It is mowed and trimmed by teams of 20 women with weed eaters.
-Note spellings: Mallacca, Maleka, Malaka, Melaka = all used in the town of that name.
-Per our bus driver (who is Malay-Chinese) many Malay-Chinese don speak Chinese anymore (though others later disputed that comment).
-Also per bus driver, he pointed out the largest Chinese cemetery outside China which is in Mallacca. All of the plots are enclosed by circles which represent a return to the womb.
~~~~~Comment: Thinking out loud verse thinking then speaking: Hugh (our faculty leader) is the first type; I'm the latter. His method is better, for example, when unexpected, impromptu introductions to foreigners are required. I wouldn't have the time to think first, then speak. [But then he can't keep quiet later in the briefing: processing out loud.]
1340, 9 May
Got through to Denny this morning; last night to her. Got the shopping done this afternoon. Been in business mode/public face for too long. Finally some private time.
Summary of yesterday:
Went to a Patronas/Conoco refinery, pictured to the left. You can barely see the ships lining up at their offshore moorings. That is the Mallaca Strait in the background; about 50 miles wide at this point = military significance. They are building a modern facility adjacent to a current refinery which was first built in 1915. With the new facility, they will be able to import crude oil and refine it for both domestic use and export.
More interesting to me was that we were finally able to see a little of the countryside. Bottomline: It appears that all Malaysians are prospering.
Old houses on stilts were the most common residence. Most were well maintained with new driveways and cars around most of them.
We had lunch in a resort hotel on the Mallaca Straits beach in the town of the same name. Ugly beach, narrow, little waves, lots of drift weeds and sticks, but apparently popular in season.
Went downtown Mallaca and walked around for 30 minutes. (That's the central square with the red buildings.) Hugh had been to Mallaca 20 years ago and drank from a well that promises you will return to Mallaca if you drink from it. Mallaca wasn't even on our schedule until the day before we left and he didn't even ask for it. The Embassy did the schedule. Hugh is now a believer!
I was going to go with Hugh to find the well. He wouldn't pay the pedicab driver 10 ringit (~$3); wanted him to come down to 5 ringit. We tried to walk in the direction but the streets are seldom labeled with their names and couldn't get there. Ran out of time.
Everyone slept on the bus ride back.
We set up a small, reception type party for our sister seminar before we were scheduled to go to the minaret shaped "space needle" in the evening for a briefing and dinner.
They got back late so we postponed the needle visit until tonight, which was OK with most of us because the "reception" food had been generous.
Today, Saturday, 9 May, we were actually able to sleep in a little. Start time was 0930.
I was able to call Denny. Good phone call. Not sure she knows how much they mean to me, but it is that touch of home I really need, particularly now.
We visited a light-rail transit system, similar to our Metro, with both surface and underground sections. They are using the latest in technology.
We got back to the hotel with 30 minutes turn around before our designated shopping trip. Time enough to change out of our sweaty clothes. I took the bus with the others to the Central Market. Air conditioned stalls in a major building!! Found a spoon and a chicken in record time and even bargained for good prices. It helps when you feel free to just walk away.
Took a taxi back. Only 4 Ringit! Air conditioned!
And finally have some down time.
Odds & Ends:
-I really got perturbed at one of the students. He knows everything so I don't know why he bothers going anywhere. The student country coordinator made an announcement for the third time about bus departure time. The irritating student made a sarcastic comment about that announcement being unnecessary. He had picked at the coordinator constantly. I came back and said the announcement was fine. He cracked that it was just like the faculty to downplay the students' abilities and think they needed reminding 3 times. I walked away, fortunately, or I would have lost it. Best I stay away from him since I am aware that my anger is just below the surface. Controlled so far, but I know I could lose it.
-Talked to a young Malay-Chinese engineer at the rail project. He has trained in both UK and US (Chicago). Obviously comfortable with Americans so I felt free to ask him more direct questions. He was very willing and open.
-He is 2d generation Malay-Chinese.
-He says most Malay-Chinese have retained ability to speak Chinese. Says it is a very strong culture; hard to break down.
-The grave circular shapes are traditional Chinese and are not indicative of a particular religion.
-The racial problems in Malaysia are insignificant because there are so many Malay-Chinese (30% according to him). They are, therefore, more spread throughout the society and more accepted (than, for example, Indonesia where the Chinese are only 3%).
-The interracial marriages promoted by the PM won't work primarily because of Moslem insistence on conversion to Islam. He noted in his own case that he was a Christian Papist and simply couldn't have done that. He married an Indo-Chinese who was also Catholic.
Wish I had had more time to talk to him. Maybe I'll see him at church which I think I'll go to since I haven't been but once since the funeral and only the Catholic Mass is available tonight since we leave early on Sunday morning.
Odds & Ends:
-TV is also tightly controlled. There is a "local" channel which is constantly Malaysian promotion. The CNN schedule is repetitious without the same variety you get in the States. NBC is strong competition to CNN. "Bridges of Madison County" had every allusion to sex removed. Run time for "Highlanders" is only 29 minutes in the program. Violence shows for nearly full length. "Eraser" was 2 hours, 15 minutes, but parts I saw included no sexual allusion.
2120 Visited Menara Kuala Lumpur (Tower of ?? Built from 1992-96. Impressive. Fourth largest tower in the world.
We were supposed to eat in the revolving restaurant for about 80 ringit. I couldn't take any more sociable idle chit-chat, so I cut out and ate in the McDonald's at the bottom for 7 ringit ($2). Walked back to the hotel and had a glass of wine and a cup of coffee for 21 ringit! Same the world around.
Over the hump. Half way home time-wise as well as around the world geometrically. Technically, I'll have been "around the World" when we land at Hong Kong tomorrow.
Odds & Ends:
Church last night (pictured at left). Overwhelmingly Malay-Chinese. A couple of Indian families. One person I would guess is Malay native. Several mixed. Mass said in English! Couldn't understand priest but lector and readers were clearly understandable.
1247, 10 May, Sunday
Packed up and departed Hotel at 0830. Got to the military airfield by 0900. Took a picture from in front of the terminal. I noted on the way in how neat and well maintained the air base was. On the way out, I realized that the military was getting few of the resources in comparison to the rest of the country!
We loaded our baggage on carts and they took them out to the aircraft. Apparently the crew didn't want our help; wanted to more calmly and methodically load the aircraft rather than having our bucket brigade stuff all the nooks and crannies.
0955, said thanks and bye to our escort and headed out to the aircraft. Loaded little items but kept all the passengers on the ground in the shade under the wings and fuselage. con, TSGT in the aircrew (Vietnam '67) overheated and we had to treat him.
Pilot cranked the APU but kept the passengers off until he thought he was going to be able to take off. Started loading at 1048. All ready and started taxiing at 1058.
And then placed on hold by Bangkok tower which is the regional flight controller.
Miserable, sauna like conditions in the aircraft. Worse in the rear. Well over 100o and 100% humidity.
Crew popped the two emergency exits at 1112 to try to get some air inside. We made everyone get up and stand by the exits for a bit and pushed water on everyone.
Miserable. Still holding for what seemed like an hour. Everyone drenched in their own sweat.
1125: Got word we could fly.
1131: Wheels up.
1145: Pushed more water and cold soft drinks.
1230: Everyone feeling better and hungry except for crew member still recovering from heat exhaustion.
It was supposedly my turn in one of the first class seats. I don't like them. They are arranged facing each other in groups of four around a table. You have to look at people. I'm going to try to get back in coach for next, longest leg to HI. Plenty of leg room and solitude. At least my seatmates are 3 of the most quiet ones from the Environmental seminar.
Be home in 6 days!!
1330: Don recovered well.
Odds & Ends: Denny, you'll like the sign in the aircraft toilet, which is placed over a long skinny urinal, though you can't teach it in class:
WE AIM TO PLEASE.
YOU AIM TOO PLEASE.
1438 Descending to Hong Kong/ Early! At least verse the scheduled four hour flight time. Must have had to make up time to the originally scheduled landing slot.
Odds & Ends: This KC-135 can carry 200,000 pounds of fuel. It has 3 cargo tanks in the body and three in each wing.
1450 Landed at Hong Kong! I have now been around the world!!
1800 Jeff, Norm, and I headed up to Victoria's Peak to catch sundown and the lights coming on over the harbor. That's us from right to left in the picture generally looking back to the northeast over the harbor.
First Impression: absolutely no change since the handover to China. It feels exactly the same as last year. The hotel check-in was smoother but that may be due to a better escort. Same hotel as last year: Marriott. That's a picture at left of the hotel as well as one of the main road that runs just beside it. Looks a little like Wall Street, doesn't it?
There may be slightly fewer Western faces around, but that may be a mistaken impression, with no scientific basis, on my part.
~2100 Got calls through to my Mother, Denny, and American Express with not problems at all. Denny and I spent most of our time talking about the nearly perfect house she has found. I trust her instinct far more than mine and told her to go for it. She wanted to ignore the Mother's Day stuff, so we did.
0634, 11 May, Monday
Back to having a roommate. Norm is okay. Older, from NYC. It is just inhibiting to have a roommate when your aren't used to having one. I'm writing this while he is working out.
Fortunately, he was out when I made my phone calls last night. I left when he made his calls.
Odds & Ends:
-Good old American Express. Finally got through to them to try to find out why I couldn't get cash advances as I have in the past. Both the customer service rep and her supervisor were courteous and helpful (Shock! This is AMEXCO?!?). The supervisor figured out the problem: There are no banks in Malaysia who will accept AMEXCO cards in their ATMs and only one in Hong Kong, Jetco (out of thousands of banks here).
Fortunately, there is a Jetco machine in the mall next to the hotel so I was able to get HK$.
-Both Malaysia and HK use the dollar sign "$" and word "dollar" for their own currency. This has confused some of our folks.
-The luxury of the Marriott is not as startling this year. Why?
-We didn't just come out of India or Indonesia.
-We had the same (better?) in KL.
-I knew what to expect from last year.
*Regardless, it's nice. It will make the Hale Koa in HI look 3d rate in our eyes though it seemed first class last year when it was the first stop on our trip.
-It is possibly just another mistaken impression, but I sense less deference for English speakers. Almost like they are proud to be out from under their colonial master. Service is more like you would expect in a big city: few smiles, perfunctory delivery of items.
0900 Consulate (old Embassy) briefings:
-Econ/Political: Why did China keep hands-off HK?
1- Economics: extraordinary capability in HK. HK acts like the front office, China like the manufacturing plant. HK managers are training the mainland.
2- Taiwan: "One Country, Two Systems" phrase was really designed for Taiwan. If things go well (or badly) in HK, then the same can be expected in Taiwan.
-What does China/Beijing fear from HK?
*Political instability. Doesn't want HK to be a base for dissidents or democracy advocates.
-Any media self-censorship? No credible report that they can verify. There are still vocal PRC critics.
-New legislature = 60 seats, 20 by geographic area with all eligible voters. 40 by functional constituencies, e.g. lawyers elect 1, doctors elect 1, labor elects 3, etc. Eventually promised a 30/30 split. Might be an interesting connection with Hamilton's discussion of how to deal with factions in the Federalist Papers in the Fall semester.
-"Over the last 20 years, HK has changed China more than PRC has changed HK."
-Of 600 major cities in PRC, only 10 have wastewater treatment.
1000: General Counsel. Nice charts.
1030: Environmental. Lot of eyewash.
1145: New 2LT (one year academic fellowship (Henry Luce) studying Construction) talked to us about his experiences working in local industry.
All afternoon on environmental stuff.
2103 Norm keeps talking. Can't write much. Environmental stuff was not worth writing about any way. Faculty had a great Chinese dinner together.
Odds & Ends: I have been able to get Diet Coke in every country, but the only place in India was in the American compound.
0710, 12 May, Tuesday
Finally ran this morning. First time since West Palm Beach. Solid 7 hours sleep. Well adjusted to local time. HI (-17 or -18 hours) is going to mess everyone up.
I sleep better with a roommate! Why? Do I keep a "public face" on when I'm asleep? Do I freeze it out of my subconscious also? I don't remember dreams, so who knows.
They are keeping us really busy in HK.
Visited a construction site in the morning. The 2 LT led us as it was one of the projects he had worked on during his time in HK. They tore down a 20-year-old Hilton Hotel, which had been remodeled the year prior, just to build a 70 story office building. As part of the deal, the company must also tear down an adjacent 6 story parking garage, then build it 13 stories down into the ground and put a green area/park on top of it!
The facing page and back of this page are pictures of the site.
First is a distance shot of the building. Workers are operating close to the edge on the four floors with green netting around them. The next is a shot nearly straight up showing the extended receiving platforms. The last shows our route into the site.
The first picture on the facing page shows how they are "building down" the sub-surface levels. I'm standing at surface level. The have drilled and
poured support columns previously. They then lay a slab of con-
crete tied into the columns but using the ground as the support
base. When it dries, they dig out the earth below it to the
next level. I found the concept fascinating.
The next picture is one of me standing on one of
the receiving platforms casually "reading" a Chinese
newspaper. It was supposed to be a tighter shot so
it looked like I was at the edge. The last is a
shot from the platform down to street level.
While the Environmental IS visited a
government agency in the afternoon, we
visited the bridges which are part of
the massive airport project. The
bridges connect the airport
island to Hong Kong
Island and in
The Tsing Ma
is the world's
bridge. It has
a six lane road
on top and internally
it has double subway tracks
and 2 emergency road lanes for
severe weather. The bridge is
aerodynamically designed to withstand
hurricane force winds.
The cable-stay bridge pictured here is often mistaken for the Tsing Ma. [Newsweek even mistakenly captioned it as the Tsing Ma.] But is has nothing to do with the airport project even though it is clearly visible from the project scenic viewpoint. It connects the mainland with the terminal port in Hong Kong. Beautiful and functional but gets little press.
2253, 12 May, Tuesday (continued)
I've spent the last two days in "public face" ??apos;ve kept busy. I went out tonight for dinner in my "favorite" sidewalk French restaurant in Hong Kong, la Cite Caf?istro, the same place I had an expensive dinner last year.
I couldn't get a table watching the escalator again but I did get one on the rail watching the "courtyard foot traffic. (This place is inside an air conditioned mall!!) It actually turned out better on the courtyard: You could watch people longer and not be as readily picked out by the passing ICAFers.
I wish I could bring Denny here. Maybe I'll retire and get a well paying job and be able to fly us around the world.
Random thoughts at dinner:
-The restaurant menu is posted at the entrance in French with English sub-titles. It is interesting to watch the Chinese interpret/read.
-Cosmopolitan: A Chinese guest asking a Filipina server for Ketchup in a French Restaurant in Hong Kong while an American is eavesdropping on them.
-I really think the HK people are proud of being free of the British.
Odds & Ends:
-There are 140,000 Filipinos in HK; 120 are domestic help.
-The Chief Administrator of HK has committed to building 85,000 new flats each year.
-One high-rise development off the freeway in Kowloon has 90,000 occupants in 99 blocks (11 x 9 blocks square).
0643, 13 May, Wednesday
Up early and walked around. Twice tried to call Denny and the phone is busy. Took pictures down on the waterfront of the new civic center and a campaign sign for a District 4 candidate to the new legislature. The Prince of Wales Barracks (pictured on the back of this page) looks deserted but is actually occupied by 5,000 Chinese soldiers who hardly ever show their faces. Apparently they turned off the air conditioning because all the windows are open.
0715 (1915 at home) Got through to home. Laura answered. Tom got on the phone. Laura got off without even giving me time to ask her anything. Denny was out to dinner with one of her former students, Alisha. Tom had all the details on the house Denny was looking at. Sounded rather chaotic: Koryn, Dave, Jen (AZ), Ross, and Rob were there. Hmmm??lt;br>
Off to the new airport. Our escort was terrific. Phonetically say "Joe San" to say "hello" but be very careful because the wrong tone means something totally different.
The new airport:
-35 km from airport to HK island
-6 JUL 98 = opening
-2330, 5 JUL = old airport closes
-$23 billion (and still growing)
-The island it is built on is four times greater in size after all the reclamation efforts.
-900 acres of reclaimed land.
-Half the world's population lives within 4 hours flying time of Hong Kong.
-25 million passengers per year in old airport
-35 " " " " in new airport with one runway on opening day.
twice that when second runway opens.
The picture shows the ramp down to ticket counters from just inside the doors from the road way. It stretches back to the first set of gates. The place is huge.
On the way back in from the airport, I took the picture of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Peak from Kowloon across a portion of the container port. Somewhere along the line I also took these pictures of the only Junk we saw in Hong Kong harbor (its sail is advertising Glenffidich Scotch) and a McDonald's menu board with Chinese characters.
As soon as we got back to the hotel from the airport visit, Norm, Rich, Jeff, Mike (Canadian colonel), and I dropped our stuff and took off for Macau. Macau is still a Portuguese Colony deriving from a landing in the 16th Century. It turns back to China on 14 Dec 99.
The Concierge service is great in the hotel. For example, he told us how to ride the subway to get off at the right stop for the Macau Ferries.
We did that. Took the first ferry service we saw (not realizing there are multiple competing services). It was a Jet Foil and took only 50 minutes.
There are many small islands enroute, apparently mostly unsettled.
Arrived in Macau, got our passports stamped, stopped at the Tourist Information desk for maps, walked out the door of the ferry terminal and immediately were besieged by 5 or 6 guys wanting to show us around. Mike is the real bargainer in the group, so we all let him do the negotiating.
We ended up with William, who wanted HK$150 (US$20) from each of us for a 2 hour tour. Mike got him down to HK$75 each for all afternoon in the guide's mini-van. Great deal and the perfect way to see Macau in an afternoon.
William took us to:
-Pentha Hill & Chapel (Catholic). Highest point in Macau. The pictures on the facing page were taken from different points on this hill. In the picture with the white buildings in the foreground, you can see China just over the river. It is amazing how close and unpatrolled it appears. Just below the hill is the governor's mansion, the red building in the next picture. In the last picture, you can see the business district.
-A Ma Temple (Buddhist) which is relatively poor and is primarily for fishermen. Tradition has it that if you touch the ball in each mouth of the two temple dogs (which look more like lions to me) you will find happiness and good luck in business.
-St. Paul's "Church" (Catholic) which is only a facade because it wasn't rebuilt after it burned for the third time.
-Kun Iam Temple (Buddhist) which has three different levels and different Buddha's in each. At the highest level, I lit two candles for Ben and said a prayer.
-Border gate with China through which masses of people pass. The fence I am picture in front of was originally built to keep Chinese out and those attempting to enter were actually shot during the height of the Cold War. It is technically Chinese territory just on the other side of the stone wall so I hopped up on the fence briefly so I can technically say that I have been in the People's Republic of China.
It is very easy to cross here, per William. He said he could get us through in ten minutes. I squelched the idea because we were on maroon official passports with additional military ID. No way were we going to cause an incident.
According to William, the immediately adjacent area in China was nothing but water buffaloes 20 years ago, but received special economic zone status in the first test of Deng Chou Ping's reforms in 1979. William said that many of the Chinese across the border are richer than Macau residents these days.
I got spoons and a chicken in a nearby shop, from which I'm certain William must get a kickback since he led us there. I only got 20% off on spoons but nearly 2/3 off on the Chicken because I hadn't really intended to buy one and kept walking away and she kept lowering the price. It's needle scratched ink on bone or ivory. Fairly nicely done.
Jeff and I wanted to go back to HK so they dropped us at the ferry terminal. We decided to ride the Turbo Cat back, which seems to moving faster than the hydrofoil. [Nope: same amount of time.] The Turbo Cat is nicer. It's first class type seating even in coach where as first class in the Jet Foil felt like Coach.
Odds & Ends:
-The Portuguese Governor General has been far more cooperative with the Chinese in contrast with the British in HK. Everyone expects a far smoother transition.
-Basis of Macau economy appears to be gambling. All the resort hotels are centered around the casinos.
-Prostitution is also big business and legal. For cultural research purpose only (!), I asked William how much a good one would cost. He said that with a massage and everything it would be HK$700 (US$90).
-The owner of a casino near one Buddhist temple fenced off the temple dogs so people couldn't touch them. Rumor was that his patrons were getting too much luck from rubbing the dogs.
-Cantonese is a 9-tonal language. Mandarin is a 4 tonal language. It is hard for Cantonese speakers to unlearn 5-tones and speak Mandarin.
-Chinese discriminate against Filipinos, according to two Filipinas I talked to. But one's approach is to prove herself in the job and she will get recognized. She noted that her own visiting countrymen think she is either a domestic worker or a prostitute. They realize that there are a few professionals.
_I asked William (who is originally from HK) about my perception that Hong Kongers are glad to be rid of the British. He said, "No" in his case and thinks that those who say "Yes" only do so because ??at else can they say now that the Chinese are in charge?
1956, still 13 May
I'm doing dinner in the room. Norm isn't here and I'm tired and it's nice just to hang out in this luxurious room!
I bought a spicy pork dish from the Thai fast food place in the food court in the Mall. Perfect!
Uhhhh-ohhhh! Diareah! Oh, no!! But at least it is in our next to last stop. HI is gravy to me.
0653, 14 May
Solid poop! Passed no gas all night without sitting on the toilet just-in-case. No cramps but feel blah. [If anyone ever read this far, I bet you really appreciate all of these bowel details. They were in the original handwritten journal, so I included them.]
We have way too much time on our hands this morning. I want to get on the road and go. But it is logical. If we left earlier than 1500, we would arrive at an unreasonable hour for our hosts in HI. We should get into Honolulu at 0800 on the same day we left Hong Kong at 1500. Eleven hours flying time, our longest leg.
0847 Not feeling good. Another episode of the big 'D'. Shouldn't have eaten anything for breakfast. Hopefully, will be able to sleep and sip water for most of the flight. Took 2 tablets of Immodium.
India's nuclear tests and Indonesia's riots are the tope two stories in Asia today and I assume around the world. CNN, BBC, and CNBC all have them as leading stories. From the pictures on Chinese TV (assume Hong Kong), they are also talking about both events.
With my recently acquired new perspective on India, I don't think Clinton's loud mouth approach (advertising/jawboning about sanctions) is going to work. The Indians are very proud people and resent any unsolicited advice. They will probably do exactly the opposite of what Clinton says just because they resent American intrusion.
You can hear that same tone in the Indians who are calling in to the CNN show "Q&A".
0930 Just realized that we will have landed in Honolulu an hour and a half ago, though I'm still in the Marriott in Hong Kong!
1101 Killed some time by going to the Fleet Arcade and getting another email off to Denny. Also got a spoon for China, though it doesn't say "China" on it. Technically, Hong Kong is in China this year and I was briefly "across" the border yesterday in Macau when I jumped on the fence, therefore, under the rules of souvenir spoon acquisition, I feel justified in buying a spoon for Laura for China.
1458 Taxiing out to the runway.
1512 Take-off. Dick Stedding (Air National Guard) came dashing down the aisle at take-off. Apparently he saw something wrong with the port door. Crew checked (as we taking off) and reassured him that all the door pins were in place. Bit of a thrill!
So it's 9:12 p.m. in Honolulu. 6 hours of sleep should put us on track. That ought to be achievable in an 11 hour flight.
1553 Trying a Diet Coke. Bubbling a little but not bad. We'll see. (Am I really going to transcribe all my bowel troubles? [yup])
1807 (HK time) 0007 (HI time) both still 14 May 1998
Snoozed for 30 minutes. Woke up. Hungry, as was everyone else it seemed, since sack lunches broke out all at once. Must be psychologically induced emulative behavior.
Paul has taken some great video. He had loaded a monitor on board and they started previewing segments they want to use in their final report.
Now if everyone will just shut up and go to sleep for the next 6 hours. We'll see.
The stomach's not rumbling and the bowels aren't clenching. So far, so good.
0352 Just saw Wake Island! Middle of the night so you could only pick it out by its lights.
The loudmouths with abrasive voices are sleeping again, so maybe I can.
0710 Slept fitfully at best if at all. I got back in coach but on the aisle for this leg. Everyone who goes down the aisle seems to have to use my seat as a sturdying point which wakes me up. I'm reclaiming my outside seat on the next leg.
Aircraft has been warm most of the way then got cold beginning an hour ago. Still looks like a 0800 landing.
This will have been the longest air time I have ever spent. I think the one direct flight from Frankfurt to DFW was only 10 hours long.
We are going 1/4 of the way around the world in one flight!
0802 Landed at Hickam.
1127 Much better reception than last year BUT we were just on a crew rest delay, not a visit with an agenda.
We got Leis or Lays (sp?)!!! which is what you always expect when you get to HI. The flowers on the lei are amazingly similar to the flowers we got in the hotel in HK. (Though I did notice on the morning of our departure, while our bus was parked and waiting next to a flower bed, that there is a commonly planted flower which looks much more like the HK symbol than the one in our hotel room.)
Got a call though to Denny. She has Bronchitis!!! Guilt! Guilt! She always has a tendency at this time of year to get sick, usually due to stress from school. She didn't get it last year. What with the stress of our tragedy and my absence, she got it this year. She assures me she is getting better.
I wish I were home, dammit!
I feel so self-serving having gone on this trip, even before now. On the other hand, I would have had nothing to do at ICAF. Who will ever know if I made the right decision.
Jeff wanted to take one of our rental cars and tour the island. I told him I wasn't feeling well. The big "D" occurred again at the airfield right after we landed; fortunately, it didn't on the airplane.
I was going to take a nap in the room before our group Luau at 1700, but I can't sleep. I wish life were simpler (or do I?).
I love my wife. I want to be rich enough to take her to all these places and see some new ones where we share our impressions of what each other sees. $$$
When I couldn't sleep this afternoon, I went out to the beach. Found a group of ICAFers, paused briefly with them. Walked on down the beach toward Diamond Head.
Not just beautiful people on the beach, also a lot of regular folks. Of course, I did see what I suspect were 3 runners-up form the Miss Universe contest (which just concluded 2 days ago in the neighboring hotel). Beautiful bodies and unusual accents.
Went for a short swim. The water is so clear! There are rocks on the bottom in several places. And the water is so buoyant. You can float without even treading water; your whole face comes out.
Got a shaved ice and watched the beach sidewalk traffic. I really like just watching people.
Went back to the room and fell asleep by 1330. Rudely awakened by the fire alarm at 1458 out of a very sound sleep. No smoke from the balcony. None in the hallway. Decided to do nothing and then a voice came over the system saying it was a false alarm.
Couldn't/didn't want to go back to sleep. Wandered down to the Barefoot Bar, part of the Hale Koa Hotel (US military recreation center) where we were staying. It also has a segment on the beach sidewalk where you can watch people strolling by.
And much to the pleasure of the men in the bar, a beautiful, Polynesian featured girl proceeded to remove her shirt and shorts, revealing a thong bikini. She oiled herself and laid out to catch the sun right in front of us with the sidewalk on the other side.
After feasting my eyes on her awhile, I started watching the people passing on the sidewalk look at her. Numerous double and triple glances from men of all ages. No glances from two guys who were walking together. Hmmm??aura says I can't make more explicit speculations about such pairs these days??lt;br> But what surprised me most were the number of couble and triple looks from other pretty women. Some were admiring, some jealous, some very appraising in their looks.
Only saw one husband get punched by his wife and he was in a motorized wheel chair. My shoulder would have a solid bruise by now if Denny had been there!
We went as a group to the Luau staged by the Hale Koa on Thursday night. I didn't realize it would be such a professional show. About 500 people for dinner and the show. Really good food and the hula/Tahiti/New Zealand/Samoan dancers were great.
We all got Mike, the student leader of the Construction seminar, drafted for the audience participation hula dance. He was a great sport!
A couple of sad points. They recognize honeymooners and the longest married couples and have one dance for all the married couples. I want to bring Denny to this place.
The announcer/entertainer also brought all the kids on stage for one song. You can imagine where I mentally wandered with that.
The show ended with "Proud to be an American" with the audience singing along so ??didn't want to do anything else and came back to the room.
Norm came in but I kept writing and he went back out to hook up with some of the folks.
1711, Friday, 15 May
I'm sitting on the lanai (patio) outside our room at the Hale Koa. They are little, but every room has one and they all have an ocean view.
Got up just before 0500 and went for a walk by 0530. the sidewalk on the beach goes in front of Fort DeRussey, the Army owned property the Hale Koa sits on. There is a little extension by the hotel to the West, but it otherwise peters out at both ends. The hotels don't encourage cross traffic and make public access to the beach difficult. To the east, the beach access cut between two hotels and the gate was locked. Asked a local who told me all beaches??t;br> (A pigeon just landed on my balcony rail and is looking for a handout. Don't have anything. Flew off to another lanai. They are all white but some are dirty looking.)
??t the rich make them hard to get to.
We left at 0630 for a VIP treatment day. Doreen set it up through her NSA contacts. We first visited and Intel Support Operations Center (KASOC) for the benefit of seeing a military construction project from over 50 years ago.
During WWII, they took a valley, built and aircraft production facility and covered it with 3 feet of concrete and 6 feet of soil. It was finished late in the war and they don't think any aircraft were ever actually produced there.
The government put it up for sale in the 80's. No takers. Fell into disrepair.
The Intell community took it over in 95 and converted it to a multi-service facility.
The Navy engineer showed us the escape tunnels and exhaust vents and supporting physical plant. It needs $100 million in repairs. Probably cheaper to build a new facility on Ford Island but can't get a construction appropriation.
We then took a Blackhawk helicopter tour of the island. We flew south to Pearl Harbor. Hovered near the Arizona Memorial. Saw the floating concrete bridge, mothballed fleet, and the harbor entrance all from 100-200 feet.
As we flew out of the harbor entrance toward the ocean, a submarine was on the surface steaming toward the harbor. As we turned east along the new runway on reclaimed land, two C-141s were taxiing out to take-off. As we got to the end of the runway, about 1/2 mile off shore, two F-16s took off. Nice joint sequence.
As we continued down the beach, we passed our hotel. I was in a center seat, so I'm not sure whether or not my picture will come out. [It didn't but I included it anyway.] It was the last one of my second throw-away camera; the last one of the trip.
We then circled around Diamond Head, the extinct volcano landmark and cut close to the mountains. Beautiful vegetation and steep, thin mountain waterfalls.
We then cut over the mountaiins and continued up the NE coast to the center of Hawaii Island and cut back inland. Hovered over the KASOC and the Dole pineapple plantation now growing over it.
Note that the young crew chief, while waiting for our departure, responded to our questions. Most interesting was his comment/complaint about not getting enough air training time. He says they are out begging units to use??t;br> (Some yellow throated sparrow like bird just landed on the lanai rail and gave me a short song and then took off!)
??em. Artillery does, but few others. (This is a light division so the artillery is towed by truck or air lifted.)
Hmmm??sh I had had some of that airlift for Bosnia. Moving the mountains of mail would have been easier/faster. 50 Blackhawks in a light division.
Lunch at a nice restaurant on the north shore, Jameson's. Had an ahi burger, which is some kind of tuna hamburger. OK. Boca burgers are better.
Drove back to Honolulu. Got a private tour of the harbor, including the floating concrete bridge. They can slide a center floating segment under the bridge if the winds are up and an aircraft carrier cannot make the turn-around and must go around the Ford Island in the midst of the harbor.
We saw a US Army ship which can carry tanks, personnel carriers, and other heavy equipment. The USS CWPS Clinger. (Don't ask me why it is with a light division.)
Ended up at the Arizona Memorial. It got to me. I don't know how much I can write here. Our escort said the design represents peace before and after the war with the two upturned ends. the depression in the middle represents the war.
You can still see a gun turret mount sticking up out of the water and several small protrusions. You can also make out the upper outline of the ship. There were still small oil sheens appearing on the surface.
At the far end from where you deboard is a chapel-like enclosure with a wall with all the names of the dead (1104). It got to me. I cried. One of the dead was a G. E. Berry.
The 102 sailors whose remains were note recovered were probably incinerated. The torpedo that hit the ship exploded the ammunition magazine.
In an attempt to check on the remains a year after the bombing, two divers lost their lives in an explosion. Another attempt after the war found no remains.
Survivors can ask for their remains to be entombed on the Arizona. They send 3 divers down and two come back; a Navy version of the missing man formation.
[Norm just appeared so my train of thought is slipping back to "public face."]
0720 (HI time) 1320 DC time), 16 May
Take-off from HI!! Yes!! Planned 8:57 flying time. Aircrew has been pretty accurate with flying time. Only messed up once but that was more of a local time conversion problem for KL.
Bag drag (out to be loaded on truck) was at 0500 followed at 0600 by our departure via bus.
I don't want to go back to where I last wrote last night. I think I covered essentials.
Norm and I went to the Barefoot Bar before dinner. Got to see a sundown, sort of. Cloudy but a couple of breaks reflected gold and red tones. That's OK. Mostly couples around which just makes me lonelier.
Dinner was nice. Planned menu with only 2 main choices. Time to say thinks to hosts, students, & faculty. Just the Construction Seminar (with 2 adoptees from Environment).
They did right by Hugh and Hugh was his usual loquacious self. Good on both accounts.
Jeff and I got books. Jeff gave a little speech in response so I had to. I said, "More succinctly (laughter) I know you are all familiar with my recent personal history. I have a public face and a private face. Thank you all for giving me the room to have both on this trip." Nice round of applause (most probably for the brevity).
They had all probably noticed my not joining the group photo at the AZ memorial the previous afternoon. Jeff tried to razz me into joining them for the photo until I gave him my "drop dead" look. He clued right in and left me alone. I had already gotten on the transport boat and wasn't getting off.
Back to last night. Slipped out of dinner as soon as I could. Enough socializing. Went to the Barefoot Bar. Not crowded, but there was a large table of young people I originally ignored.
Shortly after I sat down I heard one of them say, "Did any of you get promoted to PFC early?" Another responded, "No, but I made Specialist in one year and I'm going for the board for Sergeant as early as I can."
OH (*&$^$#!! They are Ben's age and all in the Army. Proud. Young. Studly. Fearless. Innocent. Had to leave.
Got back to the room. Norm came in shortly after that, before I had any urge to write. We talked and then went to bed.
Some of these ICAFers are partying late every night. They then zonk on plane, bus, or car. Amazing stamina for 40 somethings. I just don't want to do that anymore.
1415 (DC time)
1/9: 1 hour down, 8 to go.
Restless. Half the pax sleeping. I don't want to. When I get in tonight it will be 10 p.m. in DC but will feel like 4 p.m. biologically. If I'm tired, perhaps I can go to sleep.
What mundane words I'm writing. I can't imagine anyone will have read this far. I've reread portions and O&E seems to be the only thing that interests me.
Went back to the boomer's seat. Clouds and ocean for 4-5 hours and that's all.
1547 2.5/9: Slept an hour. Getting cold woke me p. Put on a sweater.
Odds & Ends: According to our NSA hosts, the locals don't like Dole brand pineapples. Won't eat them. Only good for export. They bought ours for us from another supplier even though they packed them in Dole boxes. Got 2. Hope Denny likes them.
-Non-Islanders are called "Howlies". Don't know why, just heard someone use the term.
1614 ;3/9: 3 hours down; 6 to go.
Though the navigator says only 5 1/2 hours to go, I'll stay with the original count until wheels down at Dulles. His map sheet out for the current leg of the flight has no terrain features on it at all ??st a bunch of navigational aids and water!!!
1647 3.5/9 I think I should be wrapping up this narrative with some sort of grand summary or at least a comment about going around the world.
But I don't feel like doing that. If I comment more, fine. If not, fine. Regardless, I'm just going to let it dwindle away kind of like those slice-of-life books Denny gives me.
1732 Landfall in 10 minutes, just south of LA. Navigator insists we are running 30 minutes early. Be in by 2130. Mike Habib and I are going to try boomer couch when we cross.
1748 Crossed shore over LA. Amazingly clear from 33,000 feet. Wonder where we cross Rockies?
1829 5/8~6/9: Navigator says we made up the 20 minutes lost at take-off and another 27 minutes and will arrive by 2130, only 3 hours out. Consistently cruising at 320-330 knots. Must be a tail wind.
1854 Just crossing over Cimmaron, NM. Will just miss Colorado by about 20 miles. We'll cross into Oklahoma panhandle and then, within 15 minutes, into Kansas. Asked the pilot if we were over CO or NM because the Navigator was busy. Pilot said, "Hell, I don't know. I just fly the plane. Ask the Nav."
1950 37o50:N 95o44:W About 100 miles SW of KC. Will cross into MO abut 50 miles south of KC. Why are 2/3 sleeping? They are going to be awake all night.
Dick Stedding asked me to sign his "book", a blank, ruled page notebook bound at the spine. Thanked him for making this happen. He came out of the National Guard Bureau and is a full-time Air National Guard LTC. The NGB 3 star told him he could have a plan. Andrews (DC Guard) said their aircraft couldn't handle an around the world trip. Too long without maintenance. Dick found this MS NG aircraft a.k.a. Magnolia Militia and then all he had to do was further scrounge up Drill pay for nearly 3 weeks for 11 crewmembers. Not easy, but he made it happen.
His efforts also kept us out of the new joint air control system which made things much easier and more dependable. No competition with higher priorities, etc.
And these Guard folks are just plain folks. The two crew chiefs are both Vietnam Vets and TSGTs (E6s) but they just love to fly around nearly anywhere. They all wear civilian shorts & t-shirts at commercial airports (except officers). Lot of first name usage. The informality can drive active duty a little crazy. But you can also see that this crew works together well. They know each others' strengths and weaknesses.
2017 Crossing MO River. Half way across MO. Will cross MS River just north of St. Louis.
2035 7/8! Missed the MS River. Oh, well..
2041 We can still see the sun but it is twilight on the ground. Somewhere over KY.
2103 7.7/8. Sundown for us.
2106 Nosing over; beginning descent.
2116 Forget descending. Being diverted around some weather.
2126 Descending, kind of. No, feels like diverted.
2143 Descending again BUT crew doesn't have earphones on. Scratch that, just put them on.
2210:52 Landed!! Finally!
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