Friday, August 29, 2003
Feeling hot hot hot!
We had a typhoon (a tropical typhoon - the rain was falling it was really appalling we certainly couldn't do much of anything) and now it's HOT! We're in Hue, killing 10 minutes before heading back to Hanoi. Let's see, what have we done? I'll tell you properly once we're back home and I have photos and diary to jog my memory, but we went to the perfume pagoda - this involved squatting uncomfortably in the bottom of a tin tray while a nice lady rowed it along a very scenic river, then climbing vertically, sweat pouring from our bodies. The typhoon started on our return journey, which was exciting (!). One day we will have a nice relaxing break and lounge by the pool. Probably. Another day we had a boat trip around Halong Bay which was just spectacular (it's a world heritage site, you know.) We were supposed to stay there overnight but the typhoon scuppered that - and actually I'm not so sorry having heard tales of rats and cockroaches that come out at night.
Helen: virtually all the restaurants in Rome were open and the food was fantastic. It was pretty hot but not unbearable, and the Roman holiday, far as we could tell, just meant that the roads were relatively quiet. And, as the guidebook warned, we perhaps didn't see 'the real Rome' - but how much of that would we have seen in 2 1/2 days anyway?
Right, better dash i've a plane to catch. More next week from Japan.

Sunday, August 24, 2003
God, it's hot. Rome was hot too but a lovely mediterranean dry heat, not this nasty humidity. Still, the sun is out and I'm not complaining because we were bexpecting a typhoon. You'l have to bear with typos, somebody horrid has spilt something sticky over the keyboard (we're in a internet cafe, of course).
Rome was fantastic. We spent the first evening mooching about (pantheon, trevi fountain, spanish steps) before stuffing our faces with delicious pizza. Our hotel was brilliantly located 5 inutes from the piazza navona and just 15 minutes from the Vatican, where we spent ost of the first day. Thanks to Sara for her helful tip: why don't the guidebooks tell you you can't go into St Pters in shorts or without sleeves? Anyway, we were hot but suitably covered and it was well worth it. And the sistine chapel \ wow!
Day 2 we did 'old rome' - the colliseum (with a great guide who we picked up outside, enabling us to bypass the 1-hour queue) and the fora and the palatine hill, where i came over all funny what with the heat and the strong sun and no lunch and all!
And now we are in Vietnam, what a contrast. Crossing the road is distinctly traumatic but we've managed several times now so I feel quite proud. Cameron collided wit a moped but no damage done. Coming from th airport yesterday we drove through foot-deep puddles which fortunately seem to have disappeared today; I kept my eyes shut for most of the journey! We saw cows (buffalo?) padding abut on the streets and people cycling undrwater!
Hotel is nice but didnt appear to have ou reservation - they luckily had space but are ful on the 26th so we are going to try to book a trip to halong bay that ight.
This keyboard is infuriating so I'll sign off now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Bye, Britain! I'm at Heathrow waiting for a plane so thought I'd pop in and say hello. I wonder where my title at the top of the page has gone? Can the rest of you still see it?
Oh, for interest Claire and Dad, BA European flights leave from T1 not T2 - still, I expect the exercise will have been good for us!
No other news. We had a nice time at home but pretty quiet really. Lots of shopping (once again I had to repack one of the cases because it was overweight!), which reminds me I must nip to Boots now and get sun cream and mossie repellent.
See you all in Rome (maybe), Hanoi (maybe) or back in Tokyo in September.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Back in blighty
Actually I'm at work but I don't think anyone will notice me sneaking in a little entry. (Only, hmm, I've found evidence of several colleagues reading this site so I might be being less successfully sneaky than I imagine! Hello everyone!)
Britain is grey and quite chilly; what happened to the heatwave? We had a couple of quite-nice days in Scotland but Cheshire is distinctly overcast. The car is OK but nothing special; we seemed to get downgraded again but the girl very kindly waited for our delayed flight in from Heathrow then gave us 80p to get across the Forth Road Bridge (as I had cleverly packed our British money in one of the cases) so I didn't feel I could complain. And actually it's growing on me; it's quite zippy (not zippy enough to overtake tractors on the road to Macclesfield but that would be expecting rather too much).
Singapore was nice, much nicer than I'd expected. I suppose I had imagined it all to be high-rise and terribly modern but it was surprisingly green and lush and there were plenty of lovely old colonial-style buildings. We had drinks in Raffles bar and also at Harry's, which is where Nick Leesom (is that right?) used to drink. The food was fabulous and I spent a very pleasant afternoon lazing by the pool while Cameron worked. Oh, and there's a night safari - which, as it sounds, is a zoo/safari park place but you go after dark so, rather than seeing sleepy lions and snoozy tigers, the animals are alert and on the prowl. Very cool indeed.
A few days with Cameron's parents allowed us to visit the Edinburgh Tattoo (photos to follow once I find my connecting cable) and the Pittemweem art festival where we recklessly bought an extravagent painting. Yesterday and today we've both worked (yes it is our holiday) though I naturally managed to fit in a bit of a shop with Sara yesterday evening, including my first, very exciting, visit to Boots. And tomorrow we head south to my family. Phew!

Friday, August 01, 2003
Right then, that's us off. Like we did in New Zealand, I might pop in with a quick update from time to time but I might not too. So I'll just see you all back here on September 1st, OK? Have a lovely summer everybody.
Waiting in the queue to buy train tickets to the airport at lunchtime today, it was extremely hot (Katy: I laugh at your 29 degrees! Rainy season truly has turned to summer at last). I felt my blood pounding in my ears and my vision starting to blur and knew my face had turned a delicate shade of green and that if I didn't sit down with my head down in the next few seconds I would keel over. (I've done this quite a lot so I now recognise the signs. Unlike the first time when I kept whispering I can't see! to Claire, standing next to me in assembly. She was just puzzled why I wanted to see - it was only the headmaster droning on - but worked it out when I fell over on her!) I felt my way along the barrier - unable to see at all by now - and found a column I could lean on and get my head down, then a nice little shop to buy some coke and top up my sugar. I then went back, heart sinking, and joined the end of the very long queue again. Except the lady who had been standing behind me, now at the front of the queue, beckoned me back in front! How kind. Especially as I'd been getting cross with her previously (she kept bashing me with her bag. Not deliberately, but annoyingly.) We had a nice little chat about how it was hot and how fabulous my Japanese was and how I couldn't understand what she was saying because Japanese is very difficult, and then I got to go and buy my tickets.
Restored my faith in human nature.