Without WiFi 

I cancelled my ISP, it was a long time coming. My service sucked, too slow and occasionally dropped,  usually when I was downloading music or podcasts or trying to watch netflix. So nameless provider and I parted ways. I think I will be happier with the $49.00. 

The downside is I have no Internet at home, and internet use at work is strictly enforced so I can’t be checking my Facebook or bidding on stuff on ebay. I can’t check email or ordinary crap like I was used to doing. I was, I am spoiled, it’s a First World problem. 

Since then I’ve been looking for all the places with good free WiFi.  This is my list so far, 3 days without internet.

Public libraries. Bonus is they have computers. However there may be a wait. I cannot say enough about how wonderful and helpful and useful public libraries are and how their funding should be increased, doubled and all staff, even the lazy and surly ones (yeah, even them) get raises. But that’s another rant for another time. Shoutout to Southern Oaks, my home library. www.metrolibrary.org

Dunkin’Donuts Surprise,  you can get your coffee and a donut with your internet. Caffeine, sugar and wifi, what else do you need? Best time is after the morning rush, afternoon is beautifully quiet and slow. Staff does not care as long as you don’t make trouble and buy something. I recommend the blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese. www.dunkindonuts.com

Wal-Mart Where I spend most of my life and nearly all my money, I feel they owe me. Warning, not all Wal-Marts are equal and not all, especially those in rural areas, offer WiFi. Worth checking out though. If it makes you feel better think of it as a passive aggressive protest against a corporate superpower when you check your email while buying groceries.  www.walmart.com

 Starbucks Yeah, a cliche but they are everywhere. 

Bus The buses in Seattle have WiFi and I was so impressed with them when I visited there 2 years ago. No big deal, I was told. My local mass transit system finally caught up and now there’s WiFi here. I haven’t tried it yet, the bus stops near me don’t go where I need to go and I usually drive. Most cities offer WiFi on buses and trains now.  www.embarkok.com

Buying stuff

I was broke, too broke to go to the thrift store, after my trip. My bills were paid, Porkchop and I had food but all I had in my purse was twenty cents til payday. Then like sunrise payday came and I breathed again. I also started spending money again. 

The first thing I bought was this Vera Bradley bag on shopgoodwill.com. A virtual thrift store, cheaper than ebay but shipping is high, usually more than the item you buy. The first Vera bag I bought was a Villager in Twirly Birds pink, this pattern. I think this is a Metropolitan, a small carryon with a laptop pocket. It was 7.99. 

Then I hit the most amazing estate sale this morning on my way to Wal-Mart. Most estate sales have better quality stuff than garage sales but higher prices. They also tend to have, well, boring stuff. Old people things, outdated electronics and the like. This started out that way, one of the first things I saw was a collection of giant rodeo belt buckles. Enticing to some but not my thing. I went on in and was glad I did. This is what I found.

Porkchop making himself comfortable on my loot.

Andy Warhol messenger bag, by LootNYC. My cost, $3.00. There’s a pink smudge on lower right Andy’s face but otherwise pristine. I plan to rock this bag at work on Monday. 

Kipling bag, from Fergie line a couple years ago. I saw this, then the Kipling tag and started hoping that woman looking at the pillows next to it would not pick it up. Please, dear lady, ignore it and move away. Soon as she did I swooped in on it and felt a little giddy. I really felt it when I saw it was 5.00. Has the tags and monkey. 

I nearly bought this because it looks like ‘SOD’ as in “sod off.” I chose it because it was .50 and a pretty box with notepaper inside but there was another bonus.

Victoria And Albert Museum. London, people. I’m an anglophile from way back and still hope to visit London and as much of England as possible. This is one less souvenir I’ll need to buy. There was a matching set of note paper and envelopes for $2. I may go back tomorrow when it’s half price and see if it’s still there.

From right to left: blank notes on silvery paper, Marcel Schurman Christmas cards I remember from my Borders days and cute dog and cat Christmas cards. $1 for each. I collect stationery and yes I might have a problem. 

Beautiful detailed book by the late Kevyn Aucoin, Louisiana boy who was a great makeup artist and full of great pictures. Published in 1997, it’s gorgeous and even someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time doing her own face can appreciate this book. $2.00. 

Kitty cat frame, I plan to put a picture of Porkchop in it and send to my son in Saigon. Porkchop had to check it out first. $1.00
 

Bubble wrap. No tag. Today’s total was 15.71

Miscellaneous stuff I left out

I always learn new things when I travel. I see and eat things and have experiences I wouldn’t have at home. Overall it’s a good thing. However there are a few things I wished I knew before and will hopefully remember next time.

  1. An empty plastic water bottle is your best friend.  You can re-fill that bad boy as often as needed for free from airport water fountains and save a buttload of money on bottled water. Also empty it, chug that precious water before going through customs or security.
  2. Bring favorite packaged food, for yourself and as a gift from foreign parts. This obviously applies internationally but regionally too. My brother-in-law brought a ton of Ale8 home to OK from KY. I wished I had brought protein bars and Diet Sprite to Saigon. Put chips, a muffin or anything non-liquid in your carryon, you will be glad you did.  
  3. Consider using a backpack for your caŕryon. Not only can you stuff a lot into it but use it once you arrive at your destination. I used mine when souvenir shopping, sightseeing and just getting around, made my life easier.Best $3 I spent, bought on sale at Wal-Mart 
  4. Wear comfortable clothes, especially comfortable shoes that come off and on easily. Important for  domestic security  (international didn’t care ). If you don’t have stinky sweaty feet you might slip off the shoes during a long butt numbing flight, as long as you put them on when you leave your seat. 
  5. Neck pillow. You may look goofy wearing it through the airport ( I know I did) but it’s worth it, especially on long butt numbing flight. Coopmart, 99,000 VND, about $4.35 USD, best souvenir ever
  6. Backup  earbuds/headphones for phone, laptop or tablet. 
  7. Uber app, just in case. Cheaper than cabs. 
  8. Depending on airline, a sturdy taped up box can qualify as luggage and be checked as baggage. As long as your name and address are on it in big, easy to read letters it’s probably a go. If I go back to Saigon I am so doing this. 
  9. Thank everybody you meet or encounter along the way. A lot of people are jerks when they travel and good service often goes unappreciated so be nice. 

I’m back

I spent an extra day and uncomfortable night at Inchon airport in Seoul because I missed my connection to home. I ‘m still wired, on Saigon time so here are some pictures.  My sister Kandi picked me up at the airport and I gave her some highlights. More highlights below

I got hooked watching this, it’s really commercials for designer clothes but has some great, off the wall “what the heck did I watch?” moments.

www.fashiontvplus.com 

click on “fashion films”

The dreaded black egg. It takes 4 months to do this, it’s a delicacy. It tastes like a gummy egg, but I didn’t go for seconds

This was my room, the first night. Upgrade

My real room. Ptetty good, it had a mini fridge

From breakfast buffet

Good but no syrup

What I really came for

Tiger and Bear, Korean version

I think that’s spam but don’t quote me

Don’t know what it says but looks impressive Inchon airport

Book store, that says it all. Unfortunately no English language books

Welcome home, cart rental $4. Free at every other airport I’ve seen but in OKC?  Nooo. I schlepped my bags instead

I’m here

I came to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for my son’s wedding. It’s been worth it. I listened to my Wings lose to the Rangers, with ice cream flavored oreos in a nice hotel room instead of at home with plain oreos.

Traveling was rough, no matter how well planned when there’s a 13 hr nonstop flight in the mix. I have a flat Indian butt, like the Princess in Princess and the Pea, I can feel it no matter what. I squirmed and shifted in my seat over several countries and the International date line. It took me nearly 2 days to adjust to the time difference, climate and the idea my child was going to be somebody’s husband. 

There was a lot going on, manoeuvring not just me but his 3 friends from OK. 2 of them have never traveled outside the US and none of us speak Vietnamese. When he took us out for bun bo hue (like pho) we recreated the cover of the Abbey Road album, all in line following Bear across the streets. He looked like a mama duck with 4 confused and slightly terrified baby ducks behind.

Tokyo Narita airport 

Saigon jewelry store, took this before security told me I couldn’t take pictures 

Indoor market stalls. 

Oanh told me Bear got his hair cut here, blue sign with gold scissors.

The church Nha Tho Nguyen Duy Kang

Some of Bear’s friends, including the Oklahoma Three

On the road to the bride’s village 

Food was good 

Karaoke list. 

Views from rooftop cafe and from my balcony 

Getting ready 

I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again. 

I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex. 

I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.

I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section. 

Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.

My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.

Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos. 

There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet. 

Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB. 

Yoga

I have done The Yoga for a few years, off and on. There is still a lot I don’t know or understand. There are a few things I have learned.

What I think of when I say  “The Yoga.” But this isn’t yoga, sorry.

Nearly anyone can do yoga, if they really want to try. There’s seated or chair yoga, yoga for senior citizens, pregnant women and kids. I started when I was over 200 pounds, clumsy and terribly self conscious. I was fortunate enough to have a gentle and wonderful teacher who knew what she was doing, allowed us to modify or even skip poses and offered encouragement to everyone. She also told us stories about her cats. 

Nobody cares how deep you can bend, how high you can lift your leg or even what you look like during class.  No, that’s not absolutely true; some people are judgemental but they are the minority. Most aren’t there to compare themselves to others and those who are will not last very long unless they change their mindset. That’s usually those chicks up front who come to class in $100 yoga pants and makeup

Yoga is physical but it’s mostly mental. Consciously thinking about your breathing is more important than pushing your body harder. There is something incredible that happens when you finish the final pose. Your head is clear and your mind is charged and refreshed. It’s probably the extra oxygen. I’ve felt better after a walk but it doesn’t compare to the combination of calm and energy after yoga. 

Yoga will change your body. You may be lucky enough to lose weight but you won’t get a yoga body like on Pinterest. Unless you are built that way. It’s not going to change your height, bone structure or body type. You will look and feel better, and be more toned over time but you won’t look like a ballerina if you have an Elmer Fudd body. I know this from bitter experience.

Speaking of body, yours may do something embarrassing.  You might, you will pass gas. It may happen in a crowded class that is silent except for the sound of breathing. Because your body is feeling loose and there’s movement in your breath your body will feel relaxed and comfortable enough to let go a little. If it happens in that crowded class keep going. No one will speak up, class will go on, you will live and if it is really crowded it is possible that no one will know it was you. I’ve been in classes where someone passed gas, it was no big deal and as for who dealt it, I’m going to plead the Fifth. If you feel you are going to fart it’s best to let it go instead of holding it in, you will feel better. Holding it in restricts your moving, is uncomfortable and you may cramp. Also it’s a good idea to go to the bathroom before class. You don’t want to have to run in between rows of people on your way out of the room just because your bladder can’t wait. I know this from bitter experience. 

You don’t have to become a Hindu or Buddhist to do yoga. There are different types of yoga and it does include philosophy and religion but it doesn’t demand you change your beliefs. Even atheists can do yoga. Most yoga classes and videos I’ve seen are about breath, movement and concentrating on how your body feels. 

Some people will throw around the Sanskrit names for poses (asanas, as you’ll hear). Some people know a lot about chakras and other aspects. A lot don’t, if they are honest. You don’t have to know this unless you really want to delve into it. I just follow the teacher. Most will give the English names such as chair pose, child’s pose and lizard. You will recognize them after awhile and not think much about it. 

One of my facebook friends posted a picture of a sign outside a yoga studio that said something along the lines of “we are our own heroes.” Much eye-rolling and snark followed. Getting up and going to yoga class when you really don’t feel it or would rather sleep in is not heroic. It is discipline. Ironically yoga humbles me rather than exalts me. I am aware of my strengths but of my limitations as well. If I start feeling smug I will lose my balance or feel my t-shirt slide up.