March 14, 2002

    The sun rose from the green horizon in our window side and the view of green and the sun reflecting on the water was beautiful. We took a bus tour in the morning to see the City of Saigon. The former presidential office was the first stop. Since the South Vietnamese president was ousted in 1975, the place was only for sightseeing. We saw gorgeous furnitures and underground operation rooms.

    We stopped briefly at Notre Dame Cathedral built of bricks, where a newly married couple was taking pictures. The bride was cute. We saw from the bus what were French Embassy and US Embassy, and got off the bus at the Historical Museum covering things from pre-historic era to nowadays. What interested us was a painting describing how Vietnamese people fought with invaders from Yuan. We also saw the water puppet show again, though short.

    Then we drove through Chinese Town. Chinese population is large in Saigon, because Saigon was developed first by Chinese. When Chinese came from the north, the Emperor at Hue in the middle Vietnam allowed them to settle in and develop Saigon, which was then just a marsh land. We got off the bus and walked into a Chinese Temple for Heavenly Lady.

    After the bus tour, we two walked around by our own in the city. We walked into a Chinese restaurant and then walked through a shopping street to a huge busy market. We bought items like calligraphy brushes, a small wig, T-shirts, and knit-wear. We were told to be careful about pick-pockets and took care. We returned to the ship by a shuttle bus.

    A band of Chinese tiger dance saw off our ship and we cruised downstream between the beautiful green flatlands again until it got dark before coming to the open sea.

    We dined in "informal" attires with Maria again, Katie and Ed & Peggy Winstead from Florida. Shig took pasta and Sue took fish.


 煉瓦造りのNotre Dame寺院に暫時停車したら、丁度新婚さんが写真を撮っていて、可愛いお嫁さんだった。バスからかっての仏と米の大使館を望んで歴史の流れを感じつつ、歴史前時代から今日に至るものを展示している歴史博物館で下車した。面白かったのは、元の侵攻に対して戦ったベトナム人の絵だった。短時間ではあったが再び水中人形劇を見た。 




 Informalの夕食では、再びMaria、それからKathryn (Katie、Floridaから来たEdward & Peggy Winsteadと一緒になった。重悳はパスタをスミヱは魚をとった。

March 15, 2002

    The ship cruised all the day and Shig attended 3 lectures, all regarding political relationships in Asia. In the lunch, the kitchen of the main restaurant on the deck 5 was opened for buffet of Asian cuisine. There were Sashimi and Sushi in the Japanese corner, Chinese cuisine and what we didn't know.

    It was a formal day. Sue wore brownish purple kimono with a white belt, which attracted attention. As the cruise entered into the second segment for us, we were recognized as "valued passengers who experienced Radisson cruise before" and qualified as members of Seven Seas Society. We wore member pins and were invited to the Society cocktail party. We dined with Dr. Sheldon Simon and his wife Shirley, who was invited on board from Phoenix, Arizona for lectures of international relations, and a party of two ladies, Joan Cunnings and Kathryn (Katie) Muus from Walnut Creek east of Oakland, California. Shig ate Dover sole and Sue took pasta dinner.


 今日はFormalの日で、スミヱは茶紫の着物に白い帯で決め、注目を集めた。クルーズが我々にとって2つ目のSegmentに入ったことで、我々は「以前にも乗船した上得意」となり、Seven Seas Societyのメンバのバッジをつけて夕食前のカクテルパーティに招かれた。夕食で一緒になったのは、Phoenix, Arizonaから講師として乗船しているArizona州立大学教授Dr. Sheldon Simon & Shirley、Oakland の奥Walnut Creekから女性同士二人で来ているJoan CunningsとKathryn (Katie) Muusだった。重悳は舌平目、スミヱはパスタを食べた。

March 16, 2002

    When Shig got up early, as usual, while it was still dark, the ship was sailing upstream in a river. As the day broke, the ship was docked at the Port of Bangkok. We met at as early as 6:30am and took a bus to Bangkok International Airport to begin the trip to Angkor Wat. We got on a two propeller plane ATR 72 of Bangkok Airways with probably 78 seats. The flight to a Cambodian town of Siem Reap took less than an hour, but immigration red-tapes in Siem Reap took almost as long, because everyone except ourselves had to get visas on arrival at the airport.

    We took minibuses because stone gates to ruins were only wide enough for a minibus. We first visited ruins of the stone temple complex called Angkor Tom and its primary temple "Bayon Temple". They were badly damaged and looked very old, but actually built only in the 13th century. Bayon Temple was featured by a big stone platform and pagodas with huge carved faces. We were chased by one-dollar merchants, mostly little girls.

    After a buffet lunch at Sofitel Royal Angkor Hotel, we were taken to another temple called "Ta Prohm Temple". This temple was unique that several hundred years old trees of Banyan family still rode on stone structures, breaking them apart or, on the contrary, keeping stones from falling down. We were impressed by the amazing life force of the trees.

    Finally we arrived at the front entrance to Angkor Wat. It was a huge compound and we were given 90 minutes to look around. It was like a physical competence test with many narrow steep stone stairs in the afternoon heat of more than 30 degrees. Most statues had been stolen, but relieves on the wall could not be taken away. Angkor Wat is featured by its huge size and beauty of relieves. A part of relieves was ones describing Rama Yana, which we learnt at school only by its name. We elected to climb up the very steep stairs to the highest platform, on which 5 pagodas stood. Climbing down was more difficult than climbing up.

    Leaving Angkor Wat, some of us elected to visit a hill "Phnom Bakheng", overlooking the plain and Angkor Wat and famous for sunset watching. Among three choices to climb, climbing up straight, climbing up winding, and on an elephant back, we naturally took the hardest one both ways. Despite our expectation, we could not expect to see the sunset because of clouds, but evening glow above the plain was pretty. We took a buffet dinner and stayed in Grand Hotel d'Angkor within the Raffles Group.

    Before we left the ship, we made friends with George & Jeannette Sink from South Carolina. At lunch we talked with a former HP executive Jim & Myrtle Hall from Idaho. We dined with an advertisement executive in the automobile industry Thomas & Susan Patty from Marina del Ray, California.

 重悳がいつものようにまだ暗いうちから起きてみると、船は川を遡っていた。夜が明ける頃には船はBangkok港に接岸していた。我々は6:30amに集合し、バスでBangkok国際空港に向かった。Angkor Watへの旅の始まりだ。Bangkok Airways社の双発のプロペラ機ATR 72に乗った。多分78席の飛行機だったと思う。CambodiaのSiem Reapという町まで1時間も掛からなかったが、Siem Reapでの入国手続きに飛行時間と同じくらい掛かった。我々二人以外は到着してから空港でVisaを申請取得したからだ。

ミニバスに分乗した。遺跡の何箇所かにある石造ゲートは、ミニバスが辛うじて通れる幅しかないからだ。最初に訪れたのは、Angkor Tomと呼ばれる石造寺院群とその中の主な寺院であるBayon Templeだった。石材の多くが崩れ落ちていて何千年も昔のものかと思わせるが、実は13世紀に建造されたものだ。Bayon Templeの特徴は、巨大な石造のプラットフォームと、その上に立つ塔群だ。塔の四方の側面には複数の石材で構成された彫刻の顔がある。何でもUS$1で売る主として少女のOne-dollar merchantに追いかけられた。家庭内で作った原価タダに近い商品を売るのだから値段はいくらでもよく、最低単位のUS$1で売るらしかった。

 Sofitel Royal Angkor Hotelでバイキング昼食の後、Ta Prohm Templeと呼ばれるもう一つの寺院に行った。ここの特徴は樹齢数百年のBanyanの種類の巨木が幾つも石造建造物の上に今でも馬乗りになっていて、石組みを崩したり、あるいは逆に石がころげ落ちぬよう抱え込んでいたりすることだ。巨木の驚くべき生命力を感じた。

 とうとうAngkor Watの正面入口に来た。構内は非常に広大で、我々は90分の時間を与えられガイドに従って見て回った。実は体力テストのようだった。数多い狭く急な石造階段を30度を越す午後の酷暑の中で上り下りするからだ。実際門前まで来ながら参加せずバスで待っていた人も少なくなかった。石像の多くは盗まれてしまっているが、壁のレリーフは外せないため保存されている。Angkor Watはその巨大さとレリーフの美しさが特徴と言える。レリーフの一部は、学校での歴史で名前だけは習ったラーマヤナを描写していた。我々二人は極端な急階段を上って五つの塔が立つ一番高いプラットフォームに上ってみた。上りよりも下りが難しかった。

 Angkor Watを離れ、希望者だけPhnom Bakhengという丘に行った。辺りの平原とAngkor Watを見晴らせて、また日没を見るのに有名な場所だそうだ。上るのには、直登の道、迂回しつつ登る道、象で登る、という3つの方法があって、我々は当然往復とも一番きつい道を選んだ。期待にも拘わらず雲で日没は見えそうもなかったが、平原の上の夕焼けが美しかった。SingaporeのRafflesホテルグループに属するGrand Hotel d'Angkorというホテルでバイキングの夕食をとり宿泊した。

今日は出発前の船の中でSouth Carolinaから来たGeorge & Jeannette Sink、昼食では元HPのプリンタの幹部でキャノンと関係したIdahoのJim & Myrtle Hall、夕食では自動車業界を広告担当幹部として渡り歩いたCaliforniaから来たThomas & Susan Pattyと知り合った。

March 17, 2002

    While it was still dark, Shig went out for a morning walk along the river near the hotel. White flowers on trees, called "Champei" in Cambodia, were very fragrant. Little girls were collecting aluminium cans from garbage stands. Shig saw several groups of a couple of people dipping and apparently washing bean sprouts in the muddy river, probably in order to raise sprouts.

    We left the hotel at 8am and took a 9:50am flight back to Bangkok. The guide offerred free sightseeing in Bangkok, and we joined. Actually we were taken to a shopping center for sightseeing people, one of the only few shops open on Sunday. Sue looked uninterested at first, but when Shig suggested something to buy, she became earnest and bought a pink saphire ring and two jackets.

    The ship left the dock at 3pm. While we sailed downstream along the river, the both sides of the river were similar to those in Saigon with beautiful green flat land. But the skyscraper skyline on the horizon was amazing and there were seemingly weekend houses here and there in the green along the river. These were the differences from what we saw in Saigon River.

    We dined again with Dale & Pat McDonald from Ohio. Shig took noodle and Sue, a vegetarian dinner.




 夕食は再びOhioから来たDale & Pat McDonaldと一緒にとった。重悳は麺を、スミヱはビジタリアンディナをとった。

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