I decided to write the majority of this travelogue in the past tense.
Part of that decision stems from the fact that there is simply not enough time to enjoy the present while constantly taking notes and regurgitating it on the webpage. It sounds too much like a tourist check list.
The primary reason is that the significance of events becomes more apparent with the passing of time. While everything has its place and probably its reason, the initial context is not always clear. Often an event requires reflection before you realize its place within the puzzle.