Update from normalcy SF

2010-11-12 19:11:00-0800

Since I haven't been traveling, it's been a long time since I've actually written on my blog. Right now I'm sitting on my front steps in Chinatown, SF, sipping on cognac and waiting for my wife to come home with the key to our front door.

I've been working back at GWOS where I was contracting before my last trip to Asia. Tien is going to cosmetology school here in SF and we're waiting and waiting on immigration to give Tien a green card. Contrary to what I believed, getting married does not solve any immigration problems.

I've been thinking a lot about life and about traveling lately, comparing my–our current situation to what it was like last year. This time last year Tien and I had just arrived back in Binh Hoa from a trip to Da Lat. It was still my second trip. Near the equator the daylight does not go away in the winter time, and in Vietnam there is no daylight savings time darkening your evenings. I can't imagine why on earth they call it daylight savings time when it takes your daylight away...

As for photography, it's been a little tough to remember to photograph things every day. The life of a technologist is not the life of a photographer, only one can be primary. Logical thought and art use two separate parts of the brain, and creativity in the visual, optical sense has almost nothing to do with the abstract, logical sense. I must admit, I've cheated on my 365 project twice this year... thanks to my technologist side, nobody will ever know which days I cheated on, as I've fixed my exif data.

I'm looking forward to traveling again, anywhere, but for now it's time to sit tight, save money and let things that need to be accomplished be accomplished. Tien needs to finish school, immigration needs to do its thing, and the holidays.. oh the holidays. I want to say that winter needs to get the hell out of the way, but I know that if I just sit back and enjoy it then I may actually have a good time. Luckily for me, San Francisco winters are warmer than the summers, if not a bit more wet.

On the topic of travel, since Tien is technically in the country illegally since her visa has expired and the US has no (to my knowledge) intermediary status between on a fiancé visa and legal resident, we can't really travel outside the country. This is one of the many problems with immigration... they say it's legal if you're here as long as you've filed your paperwork, but there's nothing to show that you've filed your paperwork, so as far as anybody knows she's illegal. Anyhow, we can't travel outside the country, and it's risky even traveling inside the country. When we do travel inside the country I have a few places lined up...

I want to visit Hawaii. I've never been there even though everybody I know has told me to go there. It's beautiful, the ocean is warm, it's a photographers dream. To top it off, I have a friend or two there who wants to show me the local spots. Sounds great! Line that up for 2011.

I want to visit NYC. I've always wanted to. Last time I had a plan to do so was just before 9/11. In fact, my travel arrangements to the east coast were on 9/18, the first day you were allowed to fly after 9/11. Needless to say, I canceled my plans to visit NYC and stuck to the easy stuff, although a 6,000 mile drive home wasn't exactly easy, even without the thieves and luggage rack coming undone on the freeway. So, I've never been there but I'd love to go. I have a few friends who live there, and a few friends in the not so nearby cities like DC and Boston, which means NYC deserves a good chunk of time above the good chunk of time that NYC already deserves.

I want to visit Alaska again. It'll be my third time, Tien's first. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful. Just gorgeous. My aunt lives up there and I fully plan on visiting her next summer during the solstice, which is a photographers dream come true. The sun goes across the sky at a severe angle, never straight above, which leads to hours upon hours of evening and morning light conditions. The landscape is wonderful, the weather is wonderful, the people are wonderful, the outdoors are wonderful. Can't wait to get back to Alaska...

Which brings me to a slight digression from domestic travel... I met My while I was in Alaska, an her family graciously hosted me while I was in Thailand. I regret not having spent more time there... My schedule wasn't planned, I never knew where I'd be from day to day, and I skipped out early on Thailand to spend a few days in Laos before returning to Vietnam, staying for a few weeks and flying off to Malaysia for a week. I *seriously* need to revisit Malaysia, Thailand and Laos, in that order, proceeding on to Sapa and the rest of northern Vietnam. Maybe even stop off in Burma for a while...

So, back to domestic travel, there are a few other places I'd like to go that I've never been. Mt. Rushmore, The Grand Canyon, Florida, even Yosimite for heaven's sake. Hmm.... Maybe I should drive there this weekend or so... before selling the car, of course. Tien and I bought a scooter and it's wicked cool for getting around the city.

And of course, back to Colorado for the holidays. That's the next plan, with a possible jaunt down to San Diego for Thanksgiving. We'll see... But just writing about my travels has perked me up. And of course the cognac had something to do with it, I'm sure... But I do miss traveling, and I do miss SE Asia and the warm weather. On the cold days, I dream of floating in the Bai Sao waters where it was hard to find a spot cool enough to swim. I look at those photos and wonder what on earth I'm doing in dark, cold San Francisco...

By Daniel, Category: blog

Tags: journal /