Saturday, April 4, 2009

Springtime in Austin

I’m taking a page from one of my best friends in the whole world and also one of my favorite bloggers, Gail. Gail’s blog entries often consist of pictures and few words. Her pictures of the flowers, plants and animals in her garden are exquisite. The pictures tell a story and the words are only needed to guide us a bit along the garden path.

Well spring is just exploding in Austin. This is the BEST time of the year in Texas! In Missouri I always liked October the best (Hong Kong was February, right after Chinese New Year when the skies were clear and it was actually cool outside!) but in Texas its April for sure. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been taking pictures of the wildflowers and blooming trees and scrubs. There is nothing in the WORLD like Texas wildflowers! The bluebonnets are carpeting the fields and highways with the most intense blue you can possibly imagine. This morning on the way to the house people were stopped all over The Capital of Texas Highway. They had their babies and children plopped in the middle of the bluebonnets while they snapped away and the babies beamed. Somewhere there is a picture of Nicole and Cody when they were little smiling among the Texas flowers. What nice memories!

Enjoy these pictures friends. Springtime in Austin….

For more springtime in Austin pictures go to my Flickr website:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Packing Up in Hong Kong February 25-26, 2009

We left Luang Prabang on Saturday Feb 21st and flew back to Bangkok. We arrived that afternoon and spent the rest of the day lazing around the pool at our hotel. We had pretty much exhausted our tourist proclivities. We even ate at the hotel that evening! No more adventuresome eateries for us, at least for awhile.

The next morning went to the Jim Thompson house. Silk trader and collector, his house is now a museum. We did a much better job of navigating mass transit in Bangkok and avoiding the massive traffic jams. That was it for tourism though. We went back to the hotel and continued to practice extreme laziness, including a Thai massage. That evening we hopped back on a plane one more time and headed back to Hong Kong.

I wake up the next morning in a mild state of panic. Its Monday and the packers come Wednesday. I wander around the apartment in confusion. We have so much to get rid of – light fixtures, curtains, IKEA bookshelves, TV, all appliances, food, and alcohol. Light fixtures you say? Yes, for some strange reason Hong Kong flats don’t come with light fixtures. You have to buy them when you move in, and get rid of them when you move out. An ad on the AWA list-serve gets some things sold – most appliances, but not curtains or book shelves and not our junky TV. The next option that I’ve heard can get good results is a note in the mailboxes for all tenants of Branksome Grande, towers A/B and C/D (so the curtains would fit) – 100 apartments! This REALLY gets a response and from an unexpected arena – the helpers! Ever conscious of possible bargains, I’m deluged with requests for the TV, the stereo, the microwave. I could start a bidding war! Finally everything is gone except for a few items which I give to charity, and food.

On Tuesday I meet with some of the Local Tour ladies one more time for a goodbye lunch. We talk, laugh and eat good food. I’m chagrined to finally make it to Waygu when we’re leaving. It really IS a good restaurant – darn! It's hard saying goodbye, but I’m hopeful that it isn’t forever and that I will stay in touch with many of them and see them again.

The packers arrive on Wednesday. I’ve heard about this, but watching it is a marvel. About 10 packers descend on our apartment like locusts. They are thorough, fast, careful and use more bubble-wrap, plastic wrap, packing tape and cardboard than I thought was humanly possible. Everything including furniture is wrapped up for the long journey over the ocean. By Thursday afternoon it’s all gone; they even graciously agree to take the charity items to the Salvation Army for me.

All that’s left is the food. I hate to throw it out, so I go down to the management office. It takes a little effort to get my meaning across but they finally understand that I want to give my leftover food to all the building workers to share. Some of the maintenance guys help me carry it down to the office and I’m sure it quickly disappears.

Thursday and Friday night we stay in a cute little boutique hotel in Causeway Bay. Lanson Place, check out their website: We got a good deal on the price and the room is large and convenient. We have to hit our favorite restaurants one more time. Wednesday night we go to Tokyo Joe’s and Thursday night we go to Bo. We meet Adrian at Bo and have a great time talking and catching up. He’s just in town for a couple of weeks before he heads back to NY for Chris’s second surgery. What a difficult situation, but what good friends; surely we’ll stay in touch.

Friday night is the 3M goodbye party. This is such a nice group of 3Mers; I’m really going to miss them. We eat appetizers at Lori’s and then head to El Cid in Stanley for Spanish tapas and guitar-wielding musicians that oblige John Neshiem with their stellar renditions of Eagles songs! It’s incongruous, hilarious and in some strange way, quintessentially Hong Kong.


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