I’m in Phnom Penh, staying with Mr. Savuth’s family (pronounced “sa-VOOT”, as in “foot”). This is my “time zone acclimation day”, but the problem is there’s not too much for me to do right now. Right now it’s…but let’s rewind a bit, back to SFO on Friday 9/9.
At SFO Security
Not only did I forget to take my laptop out of my bag, but I forgot I had sunscreen in my backpack completely. Can you tell I haven’t travelled by plane in a while?
Flight to Seoul/Incheon
I flew on Asiana Airlines, a Korean airline which was actually quite nice, with sufficient legroom and food that was fairly good. When we took off, though, the usual announcements (in both Korean and English) had me thinking of the Weird Al song “Albequerque”.
Cause I had my tray table up, and my seat-back in the full upright position…
When we were taking off, I wished I was sitting on the right side of the airplane, so that the last thing I’d see taking off was Berkeley, across the bay. Instead it was a Marriott.
Once we got in the air, I started checking out the in-flight entertainment system. With the language set to Japanese and the music on the K-pop channel, it was pretty much like I never left Berkeley. (I was wearing my TR shirt for the trip.)
Incheon is actually a separate city outside Seoul, but more excitingly it’s an island. It just happens to be one of the two closest airports to Seoul.
Once again I forgot to take my laptop out of my backpack going through transfer security, but this time they let it slide.
Even though the previous flight’s meals were good, they weren’t exactly keeping me awake. (Keep in mind it’s about midnight PDT right now, and airplane sleep isn’t very invigorating) I needed sugar. So I went to a coffee stand, and ordered a chocolate muffin—in Japanese, rather than English (in the Incheon international terminal, both languages show up all over the place). Why? BECAUSE I CAN.
Flight to Phnom Penh
…but remember that thing about a Marriott being the last thing I saw leaving SF? I saw a KFC ad flying in here. Go figure.
I was the last one out. Literally the last person to leave the international terminal. Since the plane was already delayed, that meant I didn’t end up leaving the airport until about midnight, Cambodia time. I felt very bad for the poor Star-VAC program assistant who had to wait for me, at night, an hour longer than he should have.
We took a Tuk Tuk to my host family’s house—a Tuk Tuk is a sort of motorbike hooked to a covered trailer. Everyone was already asleep, of course, but Mr. Savuth came down to let me in.
Tired as I was, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. I think this was partly due to excitement, partly from time zone difficulties (1AM here is 11AM PDT), and partly because it is very humid.
(I’m not complaining; everybody warned me, but man.)
In the morning I went down for breakfast, and somewhat met the other members of the family (without picking up names >_< I need to work on this). They’ve had volunteers before, so they know what to expect, but…
…the language barrier is very awkward. They speak some English, a fair amount actually, but in a heavy accent that it might take me some time to pick up. (I wonder if my English sounds accented to them, or if it’s enough like TV/movie English that it’s not an issue.)
There are other volunteers staying here, but none of them are here this morning, and two of them are leaving tomorrow anyway.
I’ll talk more about actually being here later, once it’s past the first day. Still, I’m very happy to be here, and am looking forward to the orientation tomorrow. It’s an adventure!
P.S. Because I’m grabbing time at internet cafés and such, don’t expect responses to comments anytime soon.