When at 3 pm Frank, the driller, gave up his efforts to free the bit of the well he was drilling, and declared that we would have to pull all 120 ft of auger, I felt like swearing. We had started at 6 am, and by now the day was sweltering and we were facing another three hours of hard, hot work (well, the drillers were going to work hard, while I was going to dehydrate slowly under the 106ºF heat “witnessing” the whole operation). The County had been directed to install 8 monitoring wells, and I had been very happy to offer my services as the registered geologist in charge, but it had meant staying in the
Central Valley for the whole month of
July, which in principle was against my travel religion. Now it became all too
clear why I avoid the Central Valley of California in the summer. I had been
working under the sun for days on end, and this mishap was the straw that broke
the camel’s back.
Short of heat stroke, my mind wandered through my plans for the late summer: A week traveling on a scooter through
south Vietnam, and 12 more days reconnoitering
also astride a scooter. Yes, I realize that I would be heading for the equatorial
rain forest, and that it is the monsoon season there, but at this point the
idea of a torrential rain was most welcome (we will see if I feel so optimistic
by the end of my 20-day trip to southeast Asia!).
I flew Asiana Airlines, with the expected stop in
Seoul, and landed in Ho Chi Minh City
( Saigon) at 11 pm of August 4. It was an
uneventful but very long trip during which I slept for very long hours (all
that accumulated tiredness served me well this time) This time I broke down,
and paid a US$75 fee to be received at the airport, be given VIP assistance
with the arrival procedures, and be driven to my hotel (I probably paid too
much, but for once I didn’t feel like spending two hours at the airport
figuring things out). The ride through Saigon
took a good time, and I was able to become reacquainted with Vietnamese traffic
while somebody else drove; it was very nice.
If all goes as planned, early tomorrow morning my scooter will be delivered to me at the hotel and El Diablo will ride again!