I like my hundred plus ties that I have bought whilst traveling the world. Now I am working on vests. Today we shopped amongst thousands of material stalls in Hanoi I got some great material for vests and when we get back home; Dalian China, next week I will get them made up by a clothes maker from our school.
What does it mean? Over and out and on the way again. Two months’ work, seven days then out of here. Incomplete sentences all in a row. Make it three and my teaching career is becoming robust. Here, there, where/what are we on holiday from? In the 1960s I would take a holiday from myself; being the responsible ageing teacher that currently I am I will not elaborate on what taking a vacation myself entailed. What is remarkable is that I remember the 1960s, I was there, Summer Of Love 1967 or was it 1968? I was living in a commune in 1969 then suddenly I was in Hawaii with girlfriend and her year-old daughter in tow. Now I am in Hanoi 42 years later. The one-year old, Desiree Eva, now in her forties is my friend on Facebook, the mother, San Francisco extraordinary Flower Child did not survive to this day. We were in one of those New Age cults; the Holy Order of MANS, I was going to be a New Age priest. Carol Ann was traveling the highway to being an illuminated Flower Child. The road became so bumpy we crashed too hard; holidays were not to be had.
I am happy though as this photo taken today in Halong Bay of me, me still alive at 64 shows… There is a short clip @ http://youtu.be/03QyKgBVIMw of our trip through the bay.
Forty plus years later I am no longer a street person; my New Orleans street artist days of the 1970s are behind, my single-parenting days of the 1980s and 1990s in Australia are past. One son is doing well as a hip-hop recording artist and graf artist in Melbourne, Australia, my other son, signed by the LA Dodgers; a promising pitcher committed suicide over a love lost a few years ago but every day I wait for him to e-mail me and say ‘sorry dad’. Almost every night I wake to him asking me to help him get his career back on track.
Listening to the announcements on this flight to Hanoi in Chinese as we start a short holiday I am amazed by all that has past. Now I am an expert. My working visa says I am a foreign expert. I have a PhD. I am Dr. Neuage. What a long ways from the streets it has been. Listening to Macy Grey, ‘I Try’, we played that song at my son’s funeral, then I listen to Janis Joplin and I use to dance to her in San Francisco in a different mindset than now. I was always in front of the stage – she was so hypnotic. I am hypnotized on this flight between Joplin and Macy Grey.
Mê Cung Cave. Two kilometers south-west of Ti Top Beach in the Mê Cung Grotto or Bewitching Grotto we saw where people lived thousands of years ago… before the Yanks bombed and acted stupid in the Gulf of Tonkin, HaLong Bay. Were they happier than us without all these trinkets we collect? Now we tourists take photos and paste the photos in youtube and in our blogs. Johnson and McNamara, 47-years ago thought big-business in the States could profit over a war against the Communist Viet Cong guerrillas. Now they make a profit off of us Westerners. I use to protest and burn my draft-card (many times) in D.C. and San Francisco and NYC shouting something or the other. Did it make a difference?
I spent seven years writing a book about my life – more than 150,000 words, ‘Leaving Australia’, there was so much I wanted to say to my sons, then, I just stopped one day. I spent the same amount of time writing my PhD thesis and it is just as long. I made two leather bound copies with gold printing; one for my son who decided to stay on the planet and the other for me. No one else will ever read it; it is a comfort to say so much about myself only to my son and me. I would have said a lot more, stuff about having a son who became a major league pitcher but I had to quit.
This past week the weather is changing a bit from being hot to cool there is little else to say. School is continuing to be a rewarding experience with my main focus in the classroom to teach EAL students along with those who want to learn java script, PHP and etc. instead of just Dreamweaver. A few weeks ago it was ESL ~ English as a second language; not long ago there was EFL with the language supposed to be Foreign though the F word had other interpretations, now we have English as an additional language – EAL; soon it will be ES, English Sucks. I am stuck with English. We had one class of learning Chinese then told our instructor we were too busy and we would try and resume next year. One of the primary features of age is to realize that ‘what’s the point?’ has value as a motivational dead end.
It is so interesting working at Dalian American International School; where once I thought my life was a bit unique (enough that I wrote more than 150,000 words about it – 570 pages, with pictures) I am finding everyone I meet at our school has had much more interesting lives and I wonder why I did not start teaching in international schools long ago. Oh I know why, it took me until I was in my mid-40s to begin university then I went 14 years in a row as I raised my two sons. 1991 – 2005, then last year I did another full year to get a postgrad to get teacher’s registration in Australia so I could teach in China. Good golly. The fact is that I could not get hired in New York City. My last school, Ross Global Academy, got rid of the over 50-year olds so they could hire a bunch of kids cheaply straight out of uni, only to have the school closed down as one of the worse schools in NYC. I spent two years trying to get another teaching job then we gave up. Now I am happy for the process and at 64 I am loving teaching and being the technology integrator coordinator k-12.
Dalian American International School has a good mix of teaching couples in their late 50s and early 60s with a couple of us in the mid-60s range as well as young teachers. Some have been teaching for thirty years some this is their first teaching gig. We blend so well together. A lot of teachers have been teaching in international schools for decades.
From Africa to the Middle East to South America and throughout Asia and their stories are so much more interesting than mine. We have a couple who, with their young child, just managed to get out of Libya as it was being bombed by NATO and the Yanks. Their story surly does not put the States in a very good light and I hope they publish what they went through to move from their teaching in Tripoli to their job at our school. Teachers who worked in Saudi Arabia and tell what it is like teaching children of the royal family. How children are millionaires by fourth grade and how they treat the teachers. Stories from around the world in the educational arena – perhaps we could put together a book just of experiences that would make teachers in the comfort zones of Australia, the USA and the assorted places where teaching is a million worlds away from the classrooms of the International Teachers.
We bump through the sky now, skirting some typhoon that has recently havocked the area. Narda’s son, Brendan, is in Hanoi, she is so excited that we are almost there. Brendan stayed with us a few months ago in NYC and last March traveled to Ecuador with us before going on to Peru and Narda and I went back to NYC to her job and my being excited about having a job somewhere in the world to go to where I am at now.
The last time we were in Viet Nam, about five years ago, we toured the south, from Saigon up to Muni thinking someday we would get to Hanoi for a visit. Back then I was working at the Dwight School in New York City and we were happily living in Brooklyn with no thought that in a few years we would be living in China and on our way to Hanoi for a week holiday. I like the unpredictable parts of life that are good, it is the unpredictable parts I can barely manage. We are all like that. When I played Farmville, more like when I was obsessed with it a year ago; I had so many dead neighbours: my dead son, my dead brother who died of AIDS in 1992, my mother, my father – who we went to New York to look after in 2002 and who died in 2007 age 101 and nine months and there were a few other, life was predictable. I kept giving myself more gifts or my alternative personalities (I had about a dozen Terrells giving me gifts in facebook).
The holiday is going great. At the moment I am writing this on a boat in Halong Bay, the cool night air, just a calm before a typhoon is supposed to come by tomorrow but apparently we should be back on land before it hits. Narda is going strong in the bar area singing with others to karaoke videos. We have several Aussie males, couples from Ireland, Poland, England, Honk Kong, Israel, and our fellow teaching couple from the States; as shown in the boat photo on the left. I am sure they can be heard across the bay.
It is early, only 9.30 PM. I am not that much into singing and since I dragged my computer along I may as well as use it. They seem to be loudest with Queen songs. Good golly they are off key.
I went out on a kayak with Frank, one of our traveling teachers with us in China. As the sea was getting choppy from an approaching Typhoon Nalgae we stayed near the shore.
And whilst I do not know if I have learned much in life I did see that the chicken went before the egg as two motor scooters went by with the chickens first proved to me on the way to somewhere.
I have so many photos of Narda landing a bargain, and today was no exception. I have a folder full of photos of statues and Narda but I like my series of photos with her in shops around the world getting something at a price she thinks is reasonable.
Hanoi is great. More like India and Ecuador in its back to basics life styles. China is trying too hard to be like a Western country on steroids. It is one big building site with an IKEA feel to it. Because Mao managed to knock everything down in his forward purge of the past China is all new. Even the historic sites are really rebuilt historic sites made in the past few years to look like they were really left behind from the destructive force of the Cultural Revolution.
In Hanoi they have yet to come to the concept of traffic lights and it is all quite chaotic.
A friend of Narda’s from Adelaide taught for nine years recently in Hanoi and she said seven years back it was just bicycles everywhere and quieter. Above is so typical, though of course it is the same in China. We have learned to weave through the traffic and get across. We have gone a long ways, as it was only six years ago when in Guangzhou it was three days before we crossed the main road across from our hotel to get to the Peril River.
Eventually we learned to use the locals as a human shield to cross and we use that technique in all Asian countries.
We got swept up in all that is good of the night market. Narda paid 30,000 Dongs ($12 US) for a Lacoste knock off which would have cost maybe ten-times more in the States.
Below you tube videos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucKSOMxv0cg for our night market clip
I put up my videos as youtube videos soon after taking them or they get forgotten. I think I have about 450 videos up from our past decade of travel. http://youtube.com/tneuage
My clip for the boat trip we are on, where I am writing and I can hear Narda’s voice above everyone else’s. Good golly I am married to a 57-year-old party girl; is at http://youtu.be/03QyKgBVIMw. There are lots more of our latest trips. I am trying to keep up with our collection at http://neuage.us/travel with the latest in the section > http://neuage.us/travel/2011/
We got foot-massages after hiking the caves yesterday. One of those things to do in Asia. I use to think old men married young Vietnamese women for sex, now I realize it is for the foot and neck massages.
Narda writing her blog.