Singapore & Gulf of Tonkin

Singapore Skyline:

From the straits, Singapore has a dramatic, futuristic skyline. It is light years different from Jeddah or Salalah which are sere and austere by comparison.  Singapore looks like a millionaire’s mistress, all flash and curves.  We passed by during an electric storm with lightening strikes raining down on the skyscrapers.  This added nature’s energy to the already heady cityscape rising from the jungle at the edge of the sea. 

Gulf of Tonkin:

We are traveling northeast in the China Sea, just passing the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin, where a provoked incident ignited the longest war in American history.  The USS Maddox, at the center of it all, was part of a local command under Captain George Morrison, father of the Doors vocalist, Jim Morrison.  Small world isn’t it?

By my good fortune, I was motorcycling in France at the time and missed my summons to be inducted.  Too bad the Maddox wasn’t docked at Cannes for R&R.  Too bad Lyndon Johnson was so new in office.  JFK seemed to be unwinding US involvement in Vietnam in the months before his assassination.  It’s all too bad.

We have an honor guard of gulls this morning frolicking in the updraft provided by our headwind.  They swoop in low, ascend, peel off, and return in a marvelous carousel of cheeky birds who fly this morning for the sheer joy of flight.   I wish I could join them.

We’ll arrive Xiamen shortly and from there I will make my way by train to Shanghai.  The CS Ural  has been my Walden Pond.  I have been happy here, but need to get back to the world. The Dragon Lady beckons. 

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Copyright Jack Kelleher © 2014.