I arrived here actually over a week ago on the Southwest Chief train 3 from Chicago. It was a 24 hour ride and being in a sleeper quite nice and private. I could also go without my mask on which was nice since wearing one for 24 hours seems like a lot. I had known I wanted to visit Santa Fe on a day trip on RioMetro but I had gone back and forth on where to go for the last weekend. Before, I thought I was flying to Austin to see friends. Then I would have ridden the train to Flagstaff and back. That got changed so I monkeyed around with what I wanted. You know. What I really wanted :-). I really wanted to ride the Chief all the way to the end in Los Angeles so I could say I had ridden both routes as I wanted.
In the process of riding east I had decided while still in Hanoi to stay longer in Chicago and Albuquerque. Both seemed to offer a variety of activities from food to beer to walking to fun. Chicago was a blast to visit. I think the high point had to be the food and the best thing to go do was the Chicago Field Museum. I have not been to a museum quite like that in awhile. The Taipei National Museum I think was similar and I felt overwhelmed there. The Chicago Field Museum offered it all and in such depth and coverage and wonderful visual and audio explanations. I could not see it in one day in Taipei and I suffered the same problem in Chicago.
My friend Paul asked me on WhatsApp what the best thing was. I have a hard time with best things. I think it is because I go out so much and do little things. I remember telling a Vietnamese friend once about walking in Tokyo and ending up after so many hours walking back on the same street I started on. He thought that was so funny given the size of Tokyo. I thought it was fitting and a tribute to the city. To me, if you cannot lose yourself in Tokyo walking the side streets and alleys, see the little shopping centers and bars where each evening the beer flows and talk erupts, and finally find yourself again after being lost you need some day tour. A wonderful experience in a vast city. So the best thing is hard for me. I do think just walking any place is always the best for me. I like to find museums and galleries and parks but I like finding nothing and seeing the intricate geometry and math of those small spaces. So, I would whisper back to my friend,
I found nothing each day and it astounded me, saddened me, made me happy and brought joy.
I doubt I would have found the things if I did not walk each place. Perhaps another retrospective is Hanoi. It has to be one of my favorite places to go walking but especially in the Old Quarter. The den of small streets and alleys crisscrossing north of Hoan Kiem Lake in some majestic but sporadic map where alleys suddenly end at a beauty salon and the ladies smile and laugh and tell me "Xin Chao". Then I ask for pictures and we get into the selfie times. My Vietnamese friends would ask what I did on a day, what was the best, and I was at a loss for words. They just smiled and would agree that I was in the right city at the right time.
and then I realized something
On this ride though with trains going in both directions and sensing the almost end to my New Mexico stay, it has dawned on me there is no favorite thing. Nothing stands out and it was a personal journey that I also shared on the blog. Some things went by the wayside like Facebook and messenger. I gave up those things because in the end, I realized the blog was the best way to share. No special app. No funky stuff with ads. The blog here at micro.blog became the best thing.
Yep. That's it folks. The blog that held all the memories, moments, and experiences and also let me share with my other community on mastodon. Without the sharing and publishing, the words would amount to almost nothing. When I realized that, I knew that Facebook was on the way out. I won't ever deactivate the account but I also will never use it again to chronicle my times and places and things.
After all, that's why I have this thing.