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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

Flying back home

When I left Burma I had a slight cold which took a turn for the worse in Singapore. For two days I had to stay in bed with a bad cold and diarrhea. Somehow I had eaten or drunk something in Burma which caused my diarrhea problems. Thanks to some very good medicine which Pete's wife got for me from their doctor, I was back on my feet and drinking beer again in one of Pete's favorite restaurants. Lu Lu had gone to the market as she did every day. It was part of her world and she felt home at the markets.

Originally we had planned on our return flight to visit my family in Holland. We would have stopped in Karachi, Pakistan and the Middle-East. It was February and the winter in Holland was very cold. We had traveled through Asia where the average climate had been 95 F. To take Lu Lu with her arthritis problems in her legs to such a cold climate was not in her best interests. So we decided to return home to the West Coast again. The trip had tired Lu Lu so much that she was looking forward to going back home.

Another day of nice, warm weather and sunshine. I started to like this city, but unfortunately it was our last day in Singapore. It was early in the morning and we were packing our suitcases as we had a flight scheduled for Hong Kong at 1:00 PM. It's kind of sad that we have to leave the Bone family. They made us feel so at home, and in Singapore everything looks so clean. Pete took us to the airport again. His mother came along. Pete's wife and children were not able to come along to the airport because the children had to go to school and Pete's wife was a teacher at school. Saying goodbye is always the saddest part of any trip you take. Now we had to say goodbye to the Bone family; we had spent more than three weeks with them.

Our flying time form Singapore to Hong Kong was 3 1/2 hours. During the flight we hit a little turbulence and Lu Lu got a little worried.

The flight from Hong Kong to Hawaii was an 8 1/2 hour flight. The plane was not full, so many people could stretch for a nap during the flight. I was happy for Lu Lu that she could take some naps during the flight. In Hawaii we were thoroughly checked by the emigration and customs. In Thailand Lu Lu and I had bought some gold chains, rings and crosses. I had neglected to declare them. When the customs started to check our bags and luggage and found the rings in Lu Lu's bags she started to question us why we didn't declare our gold we bought in Thailand. We were taken into the office in separate rooms and we had to take all of our clothes off. When we were checked they took us to the office where I had to pay a hundred dollars. I should have known better but I was a little bit neglectful, and I paid for it.

We had planned to stay in Hawaii in a hotel close to the airport for two days to rest. As it turned out every hotel was booked for the Hawaii open golf tournament. President Carter and former President Ford were at this tournament. We drove around everywhere to find a hotel room. Finally I told the taxi driver to take me to my cousin's house. My cousin and his wife were surprised to see us again. I told him that we had changed our plans of going to Holland. They were very glad to have us again. It had been such a long flight and a tiring day that Lu Lu and I, not long after we were in my cousin's house, fell asleep.

The next day we went with a friend of my cousin for a little ride around the island. We saw the dolphin show at the fishing park. The drive along the coastline with the blue-looking clean water and coral-reefs just loaded with all kinds of fish was just a beautiful scene. The sunshine and the cool breeze always makes you feel very relaxed. Albert (my cousin) and his wife, Rosita, stayed home and did all the cooking for us. After Lu Lu and I had our dinner we just fell asleep. We were still trying to recuperate from our jet lag.

CONTINUED: Our Return to Washington
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index