My luggage in Anne's tuk tuk
I am finally here in my 'heartland' after 18 hours of flying. Thanks to all of you who were praying. The last leg of the trip was a bit of fun as I sat next to two Khmer young people. One, a young 22 year old gal called Sopheak who has lived in the U.S since she is 12. Now she has completed 4 years of university in Minnesota in marketing and was having trouble finding a job there and has now come to Cambodia to see if she will have better luck on this end The other guy was a 30 something year old guy. We had a good chat about how people are hired in Cambodia. It seems that people have to submit a photo with their CVs but even if you may be more qualified, the consensus was that they hire the 'better looking' person. I love hearing these stories as it is just another facet of how cultures and countries operate. Sopheak and I have traded contact info. One never knows when these contacts could be divine connections. It's all about networking!
I arrived at the airport and the luggage came through quite quickly and zoomed through customs except for the customary question 'what's in that bag?' I told him it was my clothes and that I was working with an NGO. With that I was off into the cool open air breeze ---yes its actually cooler here than in Toronto. The exit out of the airport has changed due to construction so I was steeped right into a crowd of people who were all anxiously waiting their loved ones as they crowded around....its pure chaos but I love this. This is what its all about. From the crowd, I heard my name and it was one of my dear friends Anne who is a nurse. She has been serving with Marie Ens at Place of Rescue and decided to come and surprise me at the airport. Thank goodness for her as we could not find my two drivers from the hotel nor Mickey my tuk tuk driver. A few phone calls made with Anne using her Khmer and it seemed the hotel staff came an hour earlier and since I was not to be found, they left. There was a mix up on the flight arrival time. Oh well, this is Cambodia and right off the bat, one has to be flexible. Things are not always as they appear and don't always go smooth as we plan. This will be a good reminder for me who is so used to liking order and control :-). Anne had her personal tuk tuk driver and so instead of taking a taxi, I opted for the open air ride to the hotel. This is just an example of God sending His angels. He truly knows what we need and when we need it and it was great to have the company on the road back to the hotel.
One of the great things at arriving late at night is the roads are quiet. There is less traffic but it is interesting the things one sees along the route to the hotel. We saw one of those large tractor trailer type trucks turned over on its side as crowds of people gathered around. A few minutes later another crowd was standing by a concrete median----yes there was a motorcycle accident...one motorcycle completely mangled and the other one with the driver next to the concrete median. We both chuckled and said 'this is Cambodia.' I have a feeling I will be using that phrase a lot. Life in a 3rd world country is never dull. There is always something to see and discover!
Its nice to be at my 'familiar' hotel. The staff remembered my visit from last year and greeted me warmly. They were apologetic about the airport mix up and paid the tuk tuk driver. Of course being Asian myself, I couldn't help but ask for a further discount so suggested that perhaps they could give me a discount on the room. I figured if you don't ask, you don't get! Tomorrow they will ask their manager. Ironically, they mentioned that they had given me my old 'room.' So to say I feel at home is an understatement. The room has been renovated---new furniture, new curtains, new floors...its great to be here. Another thing to be thankful to the Lord about. He really goes before us in every way.
Well its just after midnight here but am not too tired although it will be nice to sleep in a bed after sitting twisted on an airline chair for the past several hours. Tomorrow, my other friend Cathy who serves at World Hope---a short term assessment centre for girls who are rescued from the brothels, will come and take me around to my temporary but new 'abode' which is not too far from the hotel. More to come! For now, time to sign off!