RTW01 1980-81

In 1980, my company, NCR Comten, sent me to NCR Japan for software support of the first installations of our Networking Communications Processor.  Recently, a reply to my comment in Cook the Beans blog reminded me of that trip and my visit to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo in 1981.  This was one episode of that first trip aRound The World (RTW). This brings me back to the original idea of this blog to reflect on journeys and paths that brought me here.

I saved the diaries of my travels during those times for many years.  With our moving on, I wrote up some summaries and highlights and saved on Google Drive.  Much of the information written was technical notes and contacts.  Certain parts of that fourteen month trip are very vivid; other parts are just a mesh of several trips through the same areas.  My notes suggest I left Minnesota around 1 October 1980 and returned to my parents home for Thanksgiving in late November 1981.  Unfortunately, only a few blurry pictures and some scraps of mementos remain from that trip.  The many transitions of life and work resulted in a box or two purloined in various archives and the dumpsters of life, later to be left for collection at the side of the road.

Collecting and Collating digital searches, memories, and artifacts for this post reminded me of several amazing coincidences and connections that played out over the years.

First, a link to the itinerary contains a few notes gleaned from my diaries.  It’s a placeholder for my memory as details begin to fade.  The experience was so new and fresh, I never expected the frustrations trying to remember details today.

Itinerary RTW 1980-81

Itinerary1980-81

Here is the list of cities I visited in approximate order.

St. Paul, MN; Tokyo, Japan; Nikko, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Kamikura, Japan; Busan, Korea; Seoul, Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Hongkong; Macao; Manila, Philippines; Batangas, Philippines; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; Singapore; Melaka, Malaysia; Georgetown and Penang, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar); Rome, Italy; London, UK; Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Belfort, France; Bitche, France; Basel, Switzerland; Mont Saint-Michel, France; Cherbourg, France; Windom, MN

Three artifacts:

Three meetings:

The hardware tech assigned to NCR Japan was Sanford “Charlie” Brown.  After Japan, we worked together in South America, New Zealand, and SE Asia. Our paths still cross.  He taught me how to wirewrap.

In a Singapore hostel shared breakfast table with sisters Bea and Ev from France.  Years later they would pick me up from Luxembourg airport after spending ten days crossing the Soviet Union.

Anura Guruge at ICI UK.  He sent me to consult in Paris and Milan on a remote printer problem.  Some years later, I would find and read his first book, SNA Theory and Practice, in the NCR Japan technical library.  Some years after that, I would work with Lisa Lindgren an associate of Guruge’s consultancy.

Three things learned

Don’t be surprised.  Different cultures, different languages, different circumstances all have their ways of dealing with the situation of the moment.  Some of these will be completely different to what you might find usual.  Observe and Appreciate.

Grammar and Language: “Order word not necessary is.” Along with: “Verbs not necessary.”

In those days, I could live in Melaka, Malaysia for U$S 3 / day.  Knowing that, I only worked for fun from then on. I always knew that I did not have to put up with a bad job after that.

Here is the full map thanks to Google:

RTW_1980-81.JPG

In the years that followed, I circumnavigated (both westward and eastward) the earth many times providing onsite computer networking support.  There were some trips to South America and to Africa.  The type of technical career I did no longer exists.  In the past years, we have deviated from the original route more and more as we have free time to venture to different countries.  Here is my TripAdvisor Map:

TripAdvisorMap

In my neighborhood, Gaegeum (개금), Busan

Everywhere we stay for a week or a month provides the same contrasts of the ordinary with the unique. Our month here in a small apartment allows for many discoveries. Some photograph well, some don’t. Some photos are not taken as it would not be polite. I think the ones here provide a nice variety. You can only imagine how many other scenes play out in our daily wanderings in the strip of land between mountains and high rises.


Overlooking Gaegeum
Overlooking Gaegeum
Looking back up the mountain from the overlook.
Looking back up the mountain from the overlook.
OK, everybody turn all together.
OK, everybody turn all together.

Away from the mountain and seaside parks, Busan has few neighborhood parks. We were spoiled in Seoul during May with several within a fifteen minute walk.


Here is the entire park.
Here is the entire park.
The only sports park.
The only sports park.

The computer shops are closed but this equipment looks like a sculpture garden.
The computer shops are closed but this equipment looks like a sculpture garden.
Your corner surreal galery with Teletubbies, Coke bottles, and Old Masters.
Your corner surreal galery with Teletubbies, Coke bottles, and Old Masters.

A cup of coffee, a green tea latte, and blazing Internet connections.
A cup of coffee, a green tea latte, and blazing Internet connections.
Our covered market in the distance on a rainy day.
Our covered market in the distance on a rainy day.
20 oz coffee shop at the other market entrance.
20 oz coffee shop at the other market entrance.

Visiting Gamcheon Cultural Village

Sometimes we plan our outings with some detail. Most of the time, we check local tourist web pages and Trip Advisor – Busan.  With some general destination in mind, off we go and have seldom been disappointed.  Usually, there are all sorts of surprising finds along the way.  The spirit of co-operation and striving found in Gamcheon Village provides an interesting metaphor for modern Korea.

We followed the directions and other visitors from the train station to the bus stop to the top of the hill.  We missed the tourist information office and information sign board around the corner at the bus stop. Instead, we just started following the streets keeping alert to where other visitors walked.  We discovered many nice views and artistic venues without a guide or a map. The village made it easy for this type of visit by installing clear sign posts in many languages and excellent descriptions of the various galleries.
Here are some views that capture a little bit of the atmosphere and the expernce.

Starting out at a photo zone
Starting out at a photo zone
Looking South over the bay
Looking South over the bay
Halfway we found a map.
Halfway we found a map.
Flower pots out for a walk
Flower pots out for a walk
Flower pots in detention
Flower pots in detention

One gallery was set up with multiple hands created from recycled plastic. The clacking of the fingers was activated by movement in front of the piece creating a cacophony of impatient noise or maybe office noise.

Mixed media sculpture activated by movement sensors.
Mixed media sculpture activated by movement sensors.

A Day in Jeju

The South Korean island of Jeju (formerly Cheju) lies directly off the south coast.  Jeju airlines had an incredible sale on fares.  The two of us flew round trip for under 100 USD.  We only had one day to explore so chose and interesting UNESCO heritage location and headed out by bus.  The ride was interesting as it alternated between villages, the coast, and through farm areas.  It was quite easy to get around even though the Maro Guesthouse was a little out of the way.  Taxi driver called to get exact directions.  We each have stored value Korean Travel cards.  We use the same card all over Seoul, Busan, and on Jeju buses.

Here is a pictorial summary.

Evening flight from Busan Gimhae Airport
Evening flight from Busan Gimhae Airport
Day begins with a homemade breakfast
Day begins with a homemade breakfast
Fried Eggs ala C_in_B
Fried Eggs ala C_in_B
Take a picture of the bus stop to show driver on return.
Take a picture of the bus stop to show driver on return.
The Quest: Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
The Quest: Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Unesco Natural Heritage
Unesco Natural Heritage
On the way up
On the way up
From the peak
From the peak
On the way down
On the way down
Heading down overlooking Seongsan Port
Heading down overlooking Seongsan Port
And Down
And Down
And down somemore
And down somemore
Leaving Jeju in the early morning rain with a wave goodbye from the ground crew
Leaving Jeju in the early morning rain with a wave goodbye from the ground crew

Busan and Jeju Island
Busan and Jeju Island