I just wanted to tell you about the last part of my trip.
I really loved Cambodia. The next day we were there, we returned to Angkor Wat to look at some more buildings, but this time on bikes. Nice to see everything at a little slower of a pace, and it felt really good to be doing something so active. We also took a little trip to see the monastery that had been built where the killing fields were. Princess and I were talking on the way there about how it was recent enough that most of the people we were seeing had probably been here for it all - even our tuk tuk driver friend. So when we got there, we asked him. He told us that yes, he had been here. And he remembered exactly how long it had lasted - 3 years, 8 months, 20 days. He'd gotten sent to work in a labor camp, all day, every day. He was always hungry and always tired, and in the end, he ended up moving to Thailand until a peace treaty was signed in 1992. They killed his father, too. It made the book we were reading much more real. It was very sobering. I'm so glad to have read that book before we got there.
The next day was Vietnam. We were staying in the backpacker district in Hanoi, which ended up being a little slummy, although our guesthouse was one of the nicest we've had. My strongest memory of Hanoi is of the scooters. I'll try to explain. I've been to a few countries and seen some pretty insane driving. But Hanoi is in a league all of its own. It is the most organized chaos on the road I have ever seen. There are a few cars, but there are mostly scooters. Some people may call it bad driving, but I think it requires only the highest level of defensive driving. I only wish I could capture for you the intricate ways everyone weaves in and out of each other on the roads, when they pass each other, when they enter/exit roundabouts. And the honking! It's like a form of constant communication! It's like they're honking just to let each other know they're there. If someone is passing someone else on the road, they'll honk before they get there, and then again as they're passing. It is such a common occurrence that people are never startled by honks, even the ones on bikes. When people are stopped at a light, there will be 5-6 lined up next to each other in one lane, waiting for the light to change. Crossing the street is next to impossible, even if it's just a small side street. And yet, I never once saw a single accident.
We took a day trip to see Ha Long Bay, which is in the standing to become one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. There are something like 1900 small rock-cliff islands in this bay. It really is breathtaking. The only way you can really get on a boat to explore Ha Long Bay is with a tour group, which makes the experience feel a little too structured and artificial, but we tried to make the most of it. We did get a chance to jump into a kayak and explore on our own around a few caves. We also got to wander through a cave that reminded me of Luray Caverns in Virginia. I must say, even though we had to take the structured route, I'm definitely glad I got to see it.
After that, we were supposed to go back to Hanoi and get on a plane to come back to America. (In order to keep from again being detained in China, we had to re-do the end of our trip, which cut off the trip to Ho Chi Minh, but bought us some time in Seoul. I was actually pretty excited about that.) Due to some misinformation from Delta, we didn't get on the flight. But through the process of figuring out what we had to do, we made friends with the staff of Korean Airlines, and to make a long story short, we ended up spending the night at the Korean Airlines station manager's house. He also fed us ("company tab!") and let us ride the employee shuttle to and from the airport. He definitely went above and beyond the required amount to accommodate us, and we were grateful. To top it off, when we returned the next night, we got to hang out in the Business Class Lounge until it was time to board the flight.
This gave me the opportunity to make another, more positive, strong memory of Hanoi: the lakes. Hanoi is full of lakes, and each one is surrounded by a beautiful park. On our unintentional second day there, we spent a few hours just coasting in a paddleboat on one of the lakes, drafting our elaborate complaint letter to Delta. It was the picture of contentment. Definitely my favorite part of Hanoi.
The trip home was basically played by ear. When we got to South Korea, we knew we either had 3 hours to spend there (if we made it on a standby flight that was overbooked), or a day and a half (if we didn't). I was sort of hoping for the extended stay so I could explore the country just a little, but at the same time, I was excited to get home. When we got there, I was fully loopy and out of it. I've had a cold for the past few days, and I'd taken some NyQuil to make it through our red-eye out of Hanoi, but I didn't sleep at all. We made it to the ticket counter to ask about the standby flight, then instead of leaving the airport and actually seeing a little of the country before our potential early departure, I dragged myself to the nearest set of hard seats and crashed. Well, we made that flight, which was sort of bittersweet. It just means I'll have to go back another time.
But now I'm home! Here is the final pictorial edition of our ultimate adventures. :o)
A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.
From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.
In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.
Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.
Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.
We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.
As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.