picture of a chunk of tree with the word "log" on it
Jan 11-12
Pittsburgh to
San Diego

Fred Hansen, Winter, 2005

We called for a cab at 5:45 AM. A typical Pittsburgh cab, it arrived at 5:30. When I hobbled outside in my flipflops, our prospective driver hollered from her cab,
    "Take your time, honey. I'll wait."
With this sweet assurance, our trip began. She did wait. We caught the plane. We sat on the runway.

Sitting thus, my mostly-numb brain ranged over the months past. It had been more than a year since my wife announced her intentions to both be Academic Dean of the 2005 Spring voyage of Semester at Sea and to drag me along. The latter was the more difficult of these tasks because I am a confirmed techie and Semester at Sea is aggressively non-techie. It goes nowhere near Europe, emphasizing widely diverse cultures. Our voyage was to cover Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Chennai in India, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China, Japan, and Korea.

Cuba was kiboshed by the US government in deference to a voting bloc capable of delivering Florida for a presidential campaign. So Venezuela was added. Then revised plans at Semester at Sea reversed the entire journey. We were glad, because travelling westward means every third day has twenty-fve hours. Of course we'll also lose one entire day, skipping from a Tuesday straight to Thursday.

Only weeks before embarkation, the massive tsunami hit the Indian Ocean and swept away thousands Chennai. Latest reports, however, say that the port is intact and so Chennai remains on our itinerary:. It now includes Korea, Japan, China (Shanghai), China (Hong Kong), Vietnam, India, Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and Venezuela.

My mind returned to the plane only to fall asleep. I had had only two hours sleep the night before, but I had completely caught up all my paperwork at home, a rare occurrence.

We reached our hotel in San Diego without further ado. It was the Shelter Pointe Hotel and was great. The restaurant manager served us lunch/dinner at three-thirty when there was nary another soul in sight. I took a hot tub soak outside in the rain.