Pacific Rim Tour

December 1979 to June 1981

Joann was infected with wanderlust long before I knew her. Ever since we’ve been together I’ve heard… “Bob, we just have to go traveling. If we don’t, we’ll regret it.” So here goes… we sold our house, quit our jobs and bought one-way tickets to Bangkok…

Over the next 1-1/2 years, this was our route.

Vancouver • California • Hawaii • Korea • Japan • Taiwan • Hong Kong • Thailand • Malaysia • Sumatra • Malaysia • Singapore • Java • Bali • New Caledonia • Australia • New Zealand • Tahiti • California • Vancouver

These links will take you to all of the photos…

Wednesday December 5, 1979 Vancouver, Canada

We departed Vancouver at 9:05AM on Western Airlines “…the only way to fly” as the commercial used to go back in the 60’s. At 12:00N, the smog cutter special arrived at LAX. We took the airport Greyhound to the scary Los Angeles bus station then transferred onto one to Oceanside. From there it was local bus to Leucadia, arriving at 5:00PM. Dave, Ariel, Nicholas (six months old) and Issla (black Lab) were glad to see us and they loved the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Rather than sleep on the couch Ariel had arranged for us to stay at Joan’s (a friends) place four houses up. Mmm that California sun. It’s so nice to sit out on the deck at 10:00PM in 80 deg. warmth sipping on the Courvoisier VOSP (CA$24.00) we picked up at the Vancouver duty free.

Thursday December 6, 1979 Leucadia, California

  • Beautiful morning, the Santa Anna’s wafting through the Avocado trees… 75 deg F.
  • Late breakfast… shopping in La Jolla, Levi’s and praline ice cream.
  • Dave’s at work till 7:00PM
  • incredible crab quiche for dinner (1/2 C. cream – 1 package
    dry mushroom/onion soup mix – crab – 4 eggs – etc)

Friday December 7, 1979 Leucadia, California

  • David took the day off from studying for his upcoming
    Architect exams next Monday and Tuesday.
  • Late breakfast at Hungary Jack’s.
  • Down to the beautiful beach… the waters way too cold to
    swim… David surfed and I took some good photos, I hope?
  • Mexican food at Anita’s #2 in Oceanside… love those chili
    relleno… great Cal-Mex food.
  • More Cognac and good smoke.
  • Joan’s neighbour was B&E’d which scared the shit out of us as
    our travellers cheques and plane tickets were in her place while we were at
  • David (of Golden Lotus) a friend of Brian and Deb’s took us
    up to the Ashram gardens in Encanitas.

Saturday December 8, 1979 Leucadia, California

  • Late breakfast again, hung out for awhile, then Jo & I went
    shopping for towels and another address book as I had washed ours earlier in the
    day… Oh my God what a fool.
  • 5:00PM caught the Am-Trak to LA. US Border Guards caught 10
    illegal aliens on route.
  • Bus & taxi to LAX just in time to find that flight 005 to
    Honolulu was cancelled… we had a choice… they would put us up in a hotel
    till 9:00AM Sunday and fly us out on a DC-10 (needless to say Joann freaked) or
    if we wanted to wait for 747 seats, we could find our own hotel.
  • We decided on the former. (I should say, I decided)
  • They shipped us off to the Airport Park hotel along with 300
    other very hot travellers. Some had already been waiting 2 days already because
    of some problem in Seoul. We heard there was a lot of snow.
  • after much bullshit from the unorganized hotel staff we hit
    the sack at 11:30PM.

Sunday December 9, 1979 LA, California

  • I woke to find LAX socked in with fog. The flight coming in
    from Seoul had been diverted to Las Vegas… Flight 005 delayed indefinitely,
  • 11:00AM, the fog burns off and our plane makes it’s way from

    Las Vegas

  • Finally board the plane and get airborne at 12:30PM.
  • Arrived in Honolulu at 4:00PM… raining, hot and humid.
    Swiss franc .589US
  • Joined the “Aloha Club” to qualify for a cheap flight to
  • met a fellow who drove us to Brian and Deb’s doorstep… he’s
    a cloud seeder in Rapid City South Dakota
  • they aren’t home so we go across the street to the beach…
    they look as happy and brown as native… the condo is great

Monday December 10, 1979 Maui, Hawaii

  • accommodation consisted of a mattress removed from a
    hide-a-bed and put on the floor… no A/C just a large Casablanca fan
  • On the beach by 9:00AM only 100 yards from the condo… the
    water temp is about 75 the air 85… must be careful not to burn these lily
    white bodies… unaware of the force of the surf, Joann was beaten to the sea
    bed… face first… coming up with stars in her eyes and blood running down
    from her nose… sans glasses. Incredibly we found them on the bottom in the
  • Brian had a Volkswagen Thing reserved for the rest of the
    week… went off to buy mask and snorkels… good price… then on to Lahaina…
    not impressed, just like any other tourist trap

Monday December 11, 1979 Maui, Hawaii

  • Up at 9:00AM for poached eggs and fresh papaya… packed a
    beautiful lunch… tuna and egg sandwiches, Perrier and fruit, then off to La
    Perouse Bay… “The best spot on Maui” for diving… 30 miles of very rough
    road… dummy Bob forgot the lunch!?
  • Snorkelling is great… 30-40-foot visibility.

Tuesday December 11, 1979 Maui, Hawaii

  • today we drove along the north coast to Hanna… the entire
    52 miles is only 1 ? lanes… the 50-60 moss covered bridges were only 1 lane
    … the most exotically lush jungle road you could imagine… driving in the
    open car, the aroma of the ginger flowers drowned the senses… wild papaya
    which we picked and ate… mangoes and passion fruit all growing along the
  • Then to the seven sacred pools… skinny-dipping and sliding
    down the rocks.
  • back at the ranch and a phone call later we discovered that
    we either had to catch a flight tomorrow at 7:15AM or stay till December 23rd

Wednesday December 12, 1979 Maui, Hawaii

  • caught Korean flight 001 to Seoul via Tokyo, departing at

Thursday December 13, 1979

  • Presently at 37,000 feet in seats 12A and 12B of a 747… 6
    hours out of Honolulu.
  • December 13th is lost in space for now.

Friday December 14, 1979 Seoul, Korea

  • Touched down in Seoul exactly 12 hours after leaving
    Honolulu… seemed like a bitch of a long flight… local time 8:30PM.
  • We soon discovered why there had been so many delays at
    LAX… there had been a military coup three days earlier… no pictures allowed
    at the airport or of the military everywhere.
  • tourist office gave us bus info and made a reservation at the
    YMCA… $22.04 + 10% tax +10% service charge included, no tipping allowed by
    order of the government ($1USD=500wan)
  • the room was the shits… broken down bed, drab colours on
    the walls, floors and furniture if you can call it that… our first impressions
    were less than favourable
  • With the arrival of morning, our apprehensions became
    justified… 23 deg. F. with a cutting 25 mph. wind… colour it grey, the
    entire city of Seoul seemed to be one colour.
  • We walked about a kilometre to find somewhere to have
    breakfast… from the looks and stares you’d have thought they’d never seen
    whites before.

Saturday December 15, 1979 Seoul, Korea

  • French toast… 3 squares of bread de-crusted and coffee…
  • Off we go shopping and sight seeing… yuk!… dingy little
    shops… high pressure merchants… while standing at a window, a young man in
    his twenties walks up and says “Good quality”, referring to some merchandise in
    the window, asks if we want a shoe shine then grabs Joann’s breast and walks
    away… we stood frozen, stunned… from then on it was arrogant people…
    remarks under their breath all day.
  • The mood was lifted only when we sat in the Hilton lobby
    reading magazines… we spent the afternoon there.
  • 6:00PM, back to slum-room to wait for our morning mercy
    flight to Osaka.

Sunday December 16, 1979 Seoul, Korea – Osaka, Japan

  • The bus ride to airport didn’t change our minds… if we ever
    see Korea again it’ll be too soon.
  • Flight to Osaka, 11:00AM – 12:00N… the airport was a trip
    into clean bright friendly affluence, Japan was going to be very comfortable.
  • Caught the first bus to Kyoto… weird, my first experience
    at driving on the left… 30 Km.=$4.00USD
  • Most of the cars and trucks seem to be kiddie-cars… small
    and toy-like.
  • Info desk at the Kyoto train station gave us the name of an
    inexpensive Japanese style Inn… Ryokan Ichiume, Sagaru Gojo Higashikiyamachi,
    Shimokyoku Kyoto… (xx-075) 351-9385 $12.00USD/couple…(the place that was
    recommended to us was full, the G&S Tani (Tani House), 8 Daitokujicho
    Murasakino, Kitaku Kyoto. (xx-075) 492-5489)
  • Joann saw the room… fantastic.
  • the first evening we walked around the local neighbourhood,
    tiny three meter streets, small little houses with no yards at all and sliding
    screens instead of doors… sushi to go $1.12USD for eight pieces

Monday December 17, 1979 Kyoto, Japan

  • it was a cold hard night in the tatami room… no central
    heating, lucky to have our down sleeping bags… woke up wide awake at 4:00AM…
    haven’t dealt with the jet lag yet
  • Coffee and toast at a modern coffee-house, $2.40USD… hot
    towels and big smiles.
  • Walked about 5 Km around town… shops are so modern…
    prices for clothes are equal or greater than at home… many of the restaurants
    have plastic models of the food in the fronts windows with price cards for each
    item… food can be very cheap if you shop and eat as a local… camera gear
    cheap, 28mm-2.8f Rokkor lens, $105.60USD… good calculators cheap, $8.00USD…
    Seiko digital watch, alarm, stop, timer, $76.00USD… we’re going to have to be
    careful or we’ll be shopping our faces off.
  • On our way back to the Inn we found a sushi bar that had the
    sushi on a conveyor-belt… just take the plates of sushi you want, 2-3 pieces
    per plate, $0.40USD, unbelievable… also passed by a coffee house called the
    “Jam House – Rock Shop”… young people lounging around drinking coffee, reading
    Japanese comics and listening to all English LP’s played through big JBL’s… we
    requested Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus.

Tuesday December 18, 1979 Kyoto, Japan

  • Sleeping better now… more coffee and toast… cultural site
    seeing and shopping.
  • Back to the Inn at 5:00PM… Joann discovered the shower and
    is in the lobby talking to a girl from Switzerland.

Tuesday December 25, 1979 Kyoto, Japan – Merry Christmas

  • It’s 8:10PM; Joann is reading the book that Dave Fultz just
    left for her. We met Dave at the Ichiume. He’s 27, 6’3″, 160 lb. from Chicago…
    university student, well spoken, martial arts expert.
  • The three of us shared Christmas dinner… ? lb. of crab, 3
    chicken breasts, I tomato, ? lb. of potato salad, a large platter of sushi, a
    small Christmas cake (Japanese style) and 1.8 litre bottle of “Haku Shika” total
    price $21.60USD.
  • Have moved to the Tani House… ah; love that heat…
    outside, raining 40 deg.
  • Dave’s joke… “How many Californians does it take to screw
    in a light bulb?”… “Five”… “One to screw in the light bulb and 4 to share
    the experience.”
  • Last night, Christmas Eve was incredible… Mrs. Tani invited
    us to a “Christmas party”. When we entered the ladies dorm, a long low table
    3×10 was completely covered with sushi, sandwiches, Christmas cake, fresh fruit,
    wine, coffee, tea, candies, etc. and around which sat an Argentinean (George had
    been travelling for six years… Joann was in awe), a French lady, an American
    (Sean), two girls whom I know nothing about, two Japanese gents from the travel
    info Centre, Bob from New York, teaching English in Osaka, a couple (he from
    Glasgow, her from Massachusetts), import-exporters sort of, a couple from Turkey
    (professor of architecture, and student exchange), a friend of Mrs. Tani’s who
    is taking English language and literature in Kyoto, Mrs. Tani and her two
    children… beautifully, magical evening.
  • This last week we’ve been having breakfast at a different
    caf?.. cheaper coffee. The first day the waitress asked if we were American and
    if she could speak English with us (Joann, Dave and I)… we agreed. She was
    very sweet, learning most of her English from Sesame Street.
  • The next week consisted of many breakfasts with them, giving
    of gifts back and forth. You can never get one up on them. We were given special
    tea, small gourd wine flask and others. They took us (3) out for lunch… bought
    us lunch at their restaurant. Boxing Day night we had drinks (Mrs. Inoue’s
    home-made plum wine… Japanese vodka and sake) and dim sum on the house. Shigeo
    was very sad that he couldn’t communicate well enough to tell us all the things
    he had to say. He was a great guy… long grey hair… Ex-karate… 53 years old
    and also a tap dancer.

Saturday December 29, 1979 Kyoto, Japan – Taipei, Taiwan.

  • Left Osaka on the 2 ? hour flight to Taipei.
  • Chiang Kai-Shek airport is beautiful… 4 ? years old… huge
    and stark… utilitarian. People at the airport are very friendly.
  • Bus ride to town (40 Km) ok. We had phoned the Taipei Hostel
    for a room t $5USD per night. ($1USD=35.98NT)
  • Transportation is cheap here. City buses 1.50NT… taxis 16NT
    for the first kilometre and 8NT every other. The first taxi we took, the meter
    read “15.00”… so I gave the driver 200NT… he quickly gave me 50NT change and
    I stood there for a second and thought, hmm… I guess it read 150NT… quickly
    did the math, came to about $4USD and thought, OK!… later I realized that fare
    had truly been 15NT and that he had got a quick 135NT tip… good night for him
    and really it had only cost me the $4USD. So, not the end of the world but it
    was the principle.
  • The hostel looked a little hostile… the proprietor, Tony,
    was a young enterprising local… two co-ed dorms, three bunks in each and three
    private rooms… the dorms were $2.50USD and the private rooms $5USD… luckily
    we were able to snag a room, and I use the word very lousy… it was more of a
    tiny attic over a stairway with two metal cots, but the door locked and made us
    feel a little secure in this foreign land… culture shock anyone??
  • in attendance we had two Australians, one Kiwi (Mary) and one
    Swiss (Vic)

New Years Eve – Monday December 31, 1979 Taipei, Taiwan.

  • Yesterday we read about selling blood… so this morning we
    went to the Veterans Hospital to have our blood tested to see if we would be
    approved as donors… mid day we went to a mountain temple 20 Km out of town and
    climbed 2 Km of stairs to get to it… in the afternoon we went back to the
    hospital to give (pardon me, I mean sell) 500cc of blood… $67.57CDN.
  • The Party… three Americans, Peace Corps workers on vacation
    from Korea and “AWOL”, about fifty years old, piercing eyes, loves guns… hates
    “Japs”… supposedly makes his living as a con-man in Japan… certified weirdo.
    We all drank beer, ate Taiwanese potato chips (good beer, bad chips) and
    listened to our tapes on Tony’s tape deck… was a good time considering it was

Wednesday January 2, 1980 Taipei, Taiwan.

  • This morning we set off on an all day trek to Hualien City
    down the East Coast.
  • Gerry (American, living and working in Japan, studying the
    Japanese flute and teaching English) and Roger (Australian, been studying
    Chinese medicine and is leaving for home the long way via Rome) accompanied us
    on this incredible journey.
  • We took the train to Suao east near the coast from Taipei…
    then a bus which travels 113Km and takes 5 hours