Arrivederci, Europa (See you later)

I’m jumping ahead to today as we wait to go to Malpensa airport after two days in Busto Arsizio, just north of Milan. Another day, I will catch up on Borneo and Qatar. My tablet app does not let me organize the photos well, hence captions at the heading.

Even a village has coffee shops and pastries dreamt in heaven.



Over the last four years, our travels have centered around Lugano and Milano. Many times we flew info Malpensa (MXP) and zipped up to Sorengo and Paradiso to visit Daughter at Uni. Now, she is in Perth, Western Australia, and we complete one more trip to tie up a few loose ends. Our stay in Busto Arsizio brims with memories and nostalgia.

Busto Arsizio was the textile center for Milan during the industrial revolution. The museum has many original machines of the 1880’s and 1890’s.


A typical village square with lanes leading to all sorts of interesting shops.

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

Stops Along the Way

After reuniting with Wife’s family in Tapah, Malaysia, we began what has turned out to be an epic journey in less than four weeks.  I hope a timeline helps me make some sense out of this.

Feb 14-16 Petaling Jaya, a suburban district to Kuala Lumpur.  Wife and I met up with her brother, David, and her sister, Vicki, visiting from Sydney.

Feb 17-21 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam.  A short side trip before our return flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Feb 23-Mar 1 Malpensa Airport, Milan, Italy. Met up with Daughter and classmate on their way to and from Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. This must be our favorite airport as we most often post from the airport’s Art exhibits.  We stayed in the city of Ferno which borders on the actual MXP runways allowing us an afternoon walk of plane spotting.

Mar 2-6 San Diego.  We flew into LAX, Los Angeles for a drive down the coast to visit Brother George and wife Gloria.  A chance to celebrate her birthday and his final chemo sessions.

Mar 7 Los Angeles. Travel Inventory Day. Last sunny day.

IMG_8355
Leaving the cloudless skies
Mar 8-11 Seattle. Home (sort of).

Mar 12 Vancouver, Canada. Lucky we planned to relax and recuperate as it was the wettest, cloudiest March on record.  Our apartment was in Metrotown section of Burnaby city, just east of Vancouver.

IMG_8409
The day without rain
Here’s the whole map courtesy of Google in case you are curious.  For simplicity, not all flights are shown.

FebMar2017