Took the red eye out of Logan at 1:30 am, with 14 other “missionaries “and 34 additional suitcases of medical supplies plus our personal gear.
We booked economy premium on Cathay Pacific and Steve got us the bulkhead which was super comfy complete with a silky comforter . I took the good drugs and slept much of the 14 hours and 53 minute flight with breaks for the 3 course dinner , 2 movies and full breakfast. This is what drugged rest looks like:
Hong Kong is 13 hours ahead and Cambodia and the rest of our travels should be just 12 hours ahead of home. Yesterday when Laura was driving us to Fair Haven, VT I casually remarked, ” this time tomorrow we’ll be in Phnom Penh” and then laughed to realize that , “they are already this time tomorrow now”. Time is a bizarre concept.
We are indebted to our fearless leader, Dr. Dan Caloras . Organized, dedicated, detail jockey , good humortarian, and committed to service to the impoverished and medically compromised. The more hours we spent talking, listening to last year’s stories, reviewing details, whom we’ll meet and work with, the dignitaries that will visit us, sensitizes me to the depth of heart and seriousness of this mission. Once a year, this being the project’s third year, this Rotary group from Charlestown, NH partners with Phnom Penh Rotary to bring this mission to Takeo Province, one of the poorest in Cambodia. We will go into the jungle and set up the clinic in 6 different villages each of the 6 clinic days; breaking down and setting up, tables , pharmacy, “roping” the sections inside the pagoda for waiting and screening. 12 hour days diagnosing, triaging, standing, treating, cleaning. So far, as I understand it, Steve and Jim’s dental chairs are plastic lawn chairs. But for now, we hope to be met by Lan a Vietnamese woman friend of Dan’s who is connected to the Sight Hospital.
Another 12 hours have gone by since we landed. A busy time, 1 am on Sat and Steve asleep in our hotel of modest means in Phnom Penh.I’m hoping to get up at 5 to watch/participate in tai chi on the common before dawn. We have a good view from our hotel which has a “sky bar” on the tenth floor. The city is ringed by Tonle Sop , a huge long lake which goes way north into the Cambodian heartland and the Mekong river which goes north and meanders through Thailand, Myanmar,Lao and China and goes south of Phnom Penh into the Mekong Delta over 2700 miles altogether making it one of the longest rivers in the world. Did a little walk around the city. It is quite large with a mix of abundant markets, Tuk Tuks, motorcycles, ancient temples, garish lights, bill boards and food carts and a cute baby..I hope this blog thing is ok. Too tired now for anything more than sharing some sights. Actually I just moved into a new round of wakefulness but tai chi awaits…