Patterson Family
The second home leave was different in that I was sent to a two week school in Houston, Texas. That meant that we would be gone for 70 days. That is a lot of time to spend out of a suitcase. See the places we visited

We took Singapore Airlines to Bangkok. I cant say aenough about this airline. We would take it when possible. They made a normally bad experience into something that you could tolerate. Their friendly service was the best that we experience all the time we were traveling the world. They were the bench mark that we used to judge other airlines. The only other airline that came close was Japan Airlines.  This year we had to go West to East because of the school that I was attending. We had decided to visit Bangkok, Thailand on our trip to the USA. I had chosen a hotel called Indura Regent which I knew nothing about before we arrived. Choosing a hotel sight unseen was something like a crap shoot. Travel agents usually did not know much more about hotel than what was written in their brochures. You never knew what it would be like until it was too later. I decided the best way to eliminate a little of the unknown was to choose a five star hotel when possible. They were more expensive, but you usually were happy with them. The Indura Regent Hotel turned out to be a great hotel.

The highlight of the stay was when we went to the Rose Garden, whicha was an area set up to depict the various cultural and life style events in an around Thailand. This is where Yvonne found the elephants. Yvonne and Cassandra really enjoyed riding the elephants. Normally, Yvonne did not like taking the "tour bus" when we visited various places around the world. She did not like being able to go to the head when she needed, which was quiet often. However, in Bangkok she agreed to a tour; never knew why she did it. The bus picked us up at the Indura Regent and we went to several temples, a salt farm, the floating markets, and the Rose Garden. I was partial to the floating market. This was a place where the farmers would load their boats with produce to sell. It was all aon the canal. Small san pans were loaded with the various things that they want to sell at the market. We were able to walk around the area where they gathered. There were stores that stocked item that a farmer would need. They also had crap to sell to tourist. I always enjoyed seeing the basics of a country. This was a big part of their economy. They would haggle over the fruits, vegetables, and live stock from their boats. Needless to say the place was crowded. See More Pictures of the Floating Market.

After visiting the shops and watching the boats loaded with produce we all gathered for a boat trip on the canals of Thailand. The boat was power by a V8 engine that was attached to a long drive shaft with the propeller. This type boat became well know when it was used in one of the James Bond movies, The Man with the Golden Gun. We left the floating market and went thorough the rest of the village  and out into the country side. The thing that hit us was how similar things looked to Indonesia. It was a great way to see Thailand without wandering around trying to find something interesting. See More Pictures of Boat Tour

We toured an area where they were making salt. It was quiet an aundertaking. They  pumped sea water on to the land using wind mills. The water was then allow to evaporate causing salt flats. Workers would then go in and pick up the salt and transport it to warehouses for distribution. The beauty of the operation was that there were very few modern machines employed. The main points were the windmill pumps, evaporation and then manual labor. As I recall Yvonne's opinion of it was who cares how salt in made. Cassandra seemed to like it and I really enjoyed the engineering.

We stopped at the Grand Palace which was once the palace of the King of aSiam. I guess this was where Anne went to be a nanny to the King. I kept wondering when Yule Brenner would come around the corner barefooted in his pantaloons. I thought it was a neat place to visit. I think Cassandra and Yvonne both like it. At this time we had not visited many places like this as this was only our second home leave.

For our evening meal we went to a restaurant that was Indura Regent Bangkok  designed like wayside inn that travelers of old would stop and spend the night. The servers were all dressed in native dress of Thailand.   Cassandra and Yvonne really liked the atmospheres and the food. See pictures of the restaurant.

We then boarded Royal Thai Airline for  a trip to Taiwan. We went there to buy some clothes and other things for our home in Indonesia. We stayed in the newly built the Grand Hotel in Taipei. It was a very nice hotel overlooking Taipei.

We took Japan Airline from Taipei to Honolulu. We were late leaving which made us late getting into Tokyo Haneda. Japan Airline had made arrangements to have a vehicle at the foot of the stairs to take us directly to the airplane which was waiting on us. To make things better they upgraded us to first class. It got better when we go to Honolulu. The hotel clerk informed us that they had no rooms at the Outrigger and were going to put us up in the Al Moana. We thought that this was a bum deal as we did not like the Al Moana. He said don't worry, you will like it. The put us into the Al Moana Penthouse. He was right we liked it muy grande. We were in the place the Jack Lord of Hawaii Five O was standing in the opening credits of the show. The only draw back was that we were not staying there very long.

A shopping trip was made to Lubbock and then we went to New Orleans to visit with Murphy Hebert, Elmer Crochet and to see the Terrytown Country Club that we had been a member of before going to Indonesia. From there we went to Houston for a school sponsored by Chevron. The instructor was an industry recognized authority on reservoir engineering by the name of Muss Standing who worked for Chevron Research. The course was a three course in Formation Evaluation.  Caltex had sent Bahaki Hakim, Jack Weaver, Edy Sudiarto, and myself to this school.  Edy's wife Teti was having a problem with the food in the hotel and had not been able to eat. We solved her problem by taking her to a Chinese restaurant where she could get some rice. After that she was ok. Edy was on a training assignment with Texaco. He said that when they first arrived it was hard to find rice in the quantity that would sustain an Indonesian family. He actually went into Safeway and haggled with them over rice and got a discount. Indonesian would haggle over anything.

We then boarded KLM and headed for Amsterdam to visit with my sister. My brother-in-law was the manager Holland  for Amoco. He had a rig running in north Holland so we got a tour of that area. Of course my sister found some places that Yvonne could spend some money. She wanted to buy some Delft vases and doodads. A trip to a ye olde windmill was a necessity. I really enjoyed the way the machinery worked. Cassandra's main comment was that it was slightly cold. See other pictures of Holland 

While we were in Holland Yvonne decided the it would be nice if the two of would go to Brugge. She had been there when she was a young lass and really liked the ye olde atmosphere. Frances started aiding and abetting the conspiracy. It might seem like I was not sold on the idea and got in a lot of trouble when I suggested that we take  Cassandra. Well, this was one of those girl things about a romantic trip without children. I knew when the whole thing started, that the only answer that would keep me from being abused was to say AYE AYE. Well Frances being overly supportive of Yvonne offered her car for the trip. Well, things were like the rolling ball in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, I had only one option; keep running or the ball would get me. The net of it was that we bid Cassandra and Frances adieu, pilled into the ancient small BMW and eased on to the Autobahn. Things started off bad when I got on the Autobahn. I did not know that the speed limit was what every you thought fit and that they believed that trucks had the rule of the road. The little BMW would not go very fast without vibrating and making funny noises. The next thing I knew I heard a loud air horn and look in my rear view mirror and all I saw was DAF. There was a big truck riding my bumper and blowing his horn. Scared me something fierce. I soon got the word to get out of the way of trucks. I was convinced to go to Brugge without a hotel reservation, something I never did. We checked at several hotels, but nothing was Brugge Town Hallavailable. It was suggested that we go to the Tourist Bureau. There I found out that a festival was planned for the next day. They were able to find an inn that would put us up for the stay. When we got there it left a little to be desired, but it was that or sleep in the stables. I dumped the luggage and Yvonne and asked the clerk where I could park my car. He suggested that I park in the Town Center. Well, this did not work because they were blocking it off so that they could set up for the festival the next day. I drove around for the longest trying to find a place to stow the little BMW with no success. I finally gave up and went back to the hotel. The person at the desk was new and he suggested that I follow him across the street. He pointed to a space that had a sign that you could not park here or the car would be towed. After discussing this bit of information with him he pointed out the alley was too small for a tow truck to get in there. It was this or drive around all night. As it turned out this seemed to be a good place because no one towed it. Well when I got into the hotel I was hungry, but they said that the kitchen was closed. This got Yvonne stirred up and she got rather vocal. Her tirade got us two sandwitches and some tea. The next day we did enjoy the festival and the sights of Brugge. When we started back to Holland I decided to take the secondary road instead of the Autobahn. That worked for awhile, but later had to get back on the Autobahn. I now know why the Germans like their big Mercedes cars; it is self defense. See more pictures of the trip to Bruge.

We then boarded Singapore Airlines for out trip home. We stayed in Singapore for a few days then on to Pekanbaru. We had been gone for 65 days and were happy to back home.
Back to Vacation 1975