Saturday, November 03, 2012

Travel letter from Des

Amongst the letters I've come across in the last day or so is an aerogramme from Des, sent from Canada, when he and Monica went over for a reunion with some of Des's wartime squadron.  I only know that the date of the letter was 17 Sept - there's no year, although by squinting very hard at the postmark it could be 1980.  (It could also be 1930!)  [John Stokes has now confirmed that it was indeed 1980.]

I think the letter was written in a couple of stages: one long stretch and then a little bit to fill up the last space at the end.  

Dear Pat, Daphne, Jack and Co,
    This was to be a copy (virtually) of my letter to John and Barbara, but as I began that in San Francisco it would be inappropriate.  On the evening of 10 Sept we had a banquet in the Monterey Room of our hotel - went off OK, but 'banquet' would be a grandiose name for it.  I believe a batch of Aussies and perhaps Tour No 1 (which did not eventuate) were to join us (27) but this did not happen.  However I'm sure all enjoyed the night.  It was a nice hotel, in fact all the accommodation has been very good.  You would be interested Jack in the plumbing fixtures.  No loose plugs in the basins - steel (or chrome I suppose) ones operated by push rod which comes up through the tap assembly - new to me.  Usually showers have been over the bath with separate taps (ie H& C) regulating temp. & supply through the bath faucet - when temp. adjusted you lift a lever and the water then travels to the shower rose!
Pretty hard to squeeze letter writing into the day, but occasionally it is possible usually in morning as cases have to be ready about an hour before bus departure when we are on the move.  Tour to date has been immensely enjoyable with quite a few highlights, some recorded on film, but I guess a movie camera with sound would have been needed to capture some of the spirit of the moment, eg, the 'Bert Albert' [Alpert, probably] band in the street at Tijuana.  Wish you could all be with us.  Monica has just [been] watching a moose opposite the hotel.  There had been a couple of elk earlier.  Hope the bears wait until we depart before making their appearance!
The current version of the Airtram - you
can see why Monica might have had her
eyes shut!
Enjoyed S.F. where we took a bus tour of city and some also visited Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf for a look around and a bit of shopping.  Fabulous shopping - could have spent a fortune, but we still have a long way to go.  On to Edmonton and Winnipeg today.  Flew to Vancouver on DC 8 and stayed in centre of city - very noisy at night.  Great bus tour of this beautiful city including visit to Queen Elizabeth Park with sunken garden where some Japanese?? weddings were being photographed.  Unfortunately my pictures are a little disappointing.  Had dinner one night at revolving restaurant 32? storeys up (highlight of visit).  Also spent time in tremendous shopping mall which spread underground to link up with two big stores, Hudson Bay Coy and [word indecipherable].  On way to Kamloops by coach we stopped at Hell's Gate, a fast stretch of deep wild water on Fraser's (?) river.  Descended gorge by Airtram which took about 28 people (including Monica - probably with eyes closed!) to where snacks, restrooms and ingenious salmon by-pass were located.  Travel Lodge Motel very comfortable and quiet.  Enjoyed Chinese meal at restaurant.  Indian heritage fairly evident along the way.
28 Sept. At this stage the reunion is over - met some wonderful people and had great time.  More later. Love Monica and Des.  xxoo