I woke up early and felt really good Monday morning. Niels and I headed next door to the hotel for breakfast and had traditional american stuff. For me it was an omelette with toast and Niels just went for the toast with jam. And coffee, of course!
It was a good day today. Niels kicked off the photo project with 3 different classes. It was quite impressive how many of the children have a pretty good command of English.
Niels and I arrived on Sunday morning into Phnom Penh right on time at 11:00 am, and yes, I know it was three days ago and I'm just writing about it now.
It was a pretty long trip for both of us, though it really didn't feel so long. Door-to-door for me was around 26 hours and for Niels a little longer since he flew out of San Diego and I flew from LA.
I had a pretty cool experience when dropping off my Hertz rental car (I rented a car rather than leaving my car in the parking lot at LAX). After getting my receipt at rental return, the attendant offered to drive me to the terminal, which was amazingly helpful considering I was traveling with 4 bags which otherwise I would have had to lug on the shuttle bus.
It took a while in the terminal with it taking around 2 hours to get my boarding pass and get my baggage x-rayed.
Once on the plane I had an interesting experience – I sat next to a couple that was also from San diego (not that big a deal I guess), but the woman volunteers for a fundraising organization based out of Rancho Santa Fe that raises money for organizations just like Class Act. Nice!
So the plane took off at 1am and I went to sleep. I woke up, watched two movies, had breakfast, plane landed in Taipei, Taiwan, couple hour layover, took the flight to Phnom Penh and was greeted at the airport by the director of the school we are supporting. His brother drove us in his car to the hotel, we had lunch (mine was a rice and chicken soup, a local dish, really good, Niels had a spicy prawn soup) hung out for a little while and I crashed around 9pm.
It's been a while since I've been on a long trip, and I've been putting off packing. I've been told it's warm so I should expect to wear shorts, a short-sleeve shirt and sandles/flip-flops. I think I should be pretty happy with this dress code!
Niels divided up the items we're bringing for the students. We have a 50 pound per checked bag limit. I have the stuff I'm bringing spread out on my bed. For the kids there are cameras to be used in the photo portfolio project, as well as books, bookmarks and pens, markers and pencils. Many of the books were donated by the Encinitas Kiwanis Club.
Then there's my stuff: reading material for the flight, passport, visa (which I was able to get off a Cambodian website), "just-in-case" meds like Cipro if I eat the wrong thing, Malaria medication for the trip to Angkor Wat, Pepto Bismol (my father told me I had to bring it), a water bottle with a filter (in case there's no bottled water available), ipod, headphones, and my new Lenovo Ideapad Netbook to stay connected.
The days are ticking down until our trip to Cambodia to visit a school we've been sponsoring for 8 months, plus we're bringing our most recent art project, a photo portfolio project, to two schools and an orphanage. There was some recent press about our trip in the North County Times.
Here's a photo of Niels, Jessica and me from a recent get-together, and a photo of the whole crew at a send-off dinner last night. We're leaving Friday night.