The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Around the World again

Around the world to see what I have seen and what I had missed and what has changed. Before we start I must explain a little. This is a trip that I have planned in my head for many, many years, I and my family had done a bit of a one back in the 80’s but this is to be  much more of an ambitious project. I retired back in July and what with moving and getting the flat decorated we had decided on an end of October start.

My primary aim was to revisit places from my time on the Pacific Rim as a Marine Engineering Officer as well as visiting places that I had been able to get to inland in SE Asia. During the time at sea it was a time of great unrest in the world and I seemed to get drawn like a moth to a flame to many of them. The main one was of course the Vietnam war, and we delivered Avtur (Aeroplane fuel) from Sultanate of Brunei to several fuel bunkering points in the Mekong Delta, because of hostilities we didn’t see a lot of Vietnam, but did enjoy life (all be it dry) in the Sultanate and whenever we changed  the Chinese crews every 6 months in Hong Kong. I had also visited San Francisco on various occasions when on a lumber carrier that had its home port of Vancouver, this then discharged lumber all around the American Seaboard as well as the Caribbean and Northern South America (Trinidad, Tobago, Surinam, Panama, Venezuela). It was a fantastic time of my life and started off a lust to visit far off places and get to know foreign (to me) cultures, peoples and religions. So The first Port of call was to be San Francisco, then on to New Zealand before hitting Australia and then visiting as much of SE Asia as possible.    

 Linda had managed to get 4 weeks holidays so would be accompanying me for the first part of the journey (I feel a song coming on). I had all of my inoculations, my arm being used by the girls at the Doctors practice for practice, I had my last two jabs on Friday morning and so was set to face anything that they would throw at me (this we shall see as the Journey progresses). So bags packed, a few hours kip and then off to Hamburg to catch the little plane down to Frankfurt to catch the Air Bus 380, this is the whopper double decker bus (much bigger than the number 21 that I used for work in Berlin).

I must say they have done a great job on the new airbus, it was a smooth ride over Iceland (the country not the company) Greenland and down through the centre of the USA (this is called the great circle and is the actual shortest distance between two points on the world’s surface)  before landing in San Francisco.

The food on board was plentiful and tasty (Chicken and rice first meal and then Bratwurst, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes for the second), wine was taken with the meals, interspersed with the odd gin and tonic (you need to keep your body fluid intake up).  

We landed in San Francisco airport, where we had arranged to be met by Linda’s friend (and quite a few others that had worked together at Kiel University many years ago) Richard. We would be staying with Richard for our time in San Francisco. A word of warning here, if you are being met at the airport by anyone then warn them that they should bring a good book to read (or as in the case of Richard a pile of term work to mark, Richard is a lecturer at Berkley). But once through the organised chaos, (every plane landing discharges through this funnel and as a lot of planes had landed it was mayhem). I hasten to add this had nothing to do with the security or vetting process, once in front of the immigration officer he was courteous and efficient, it was just the system forces a vast amount of people through the eye of a needle. But after taking about 2 hours to clear security pick up our bags out through the non-existing customs, to be met by (now) our friend Richard.

Richard lives in a period property that looks down onto the centre of the city and very near to the twin peaks.

First off I must say Richard is such a mine of wonderful information, he was able to explain the history of the buildings and the architecture of the buildings as well as the districts of this fantastic city that I first visited 50 years ago on my 2nd sea voyage (I had a fantastic time). After divesting ourselves of our bags and Richard giving us an orientation visit of the Apartment, he left us for a bit of an nap and freshen up.
He then took us up to the twin peaks that overlook San Francisco; on one is the rather grotesque Television tower, which reminds me of the antlers of a pre-historic deity or devil. But what a view, it looks down right into the centre of the city, but even better we were able to see the fog rolling in from the Pacific pouring down the valleys and enveloping the well-known features and Landmarks quite a phenomenon.


We then went to a very nice restaurant called Chow to have some chow, I had a very tasty sliced chargrilled steak, Linda a pasta dish and Richard the vegetarian option (he is not) of a salad. It is nice when you order a meal and it actually exceeds your expectation. The waiter had asked me how I wanted my steak and I said medium rare erring on the side of rare and this was how it was served, thumbs up to Chow.

1 comment:

  1. na Papasi,
    dann mal viel Spaß !
    XXX janice