Pam is back in Cambodia for a series of meetings to continue to develop her community health and outreach initiative. I am simply on March Break and tagging along because Phnom Penh is such a neat city and a nice break from KL. Yes, I know, it is a strange life when one calls getting out of Kuala Lumpur a break from the routine. I do recognize the irony.
Phnom Penh continues to surprise me each time I come here, which is about once a year. Pam talks about the improvements she sees on her frequent visits, but it is hard to gauge without actually being here. There is a median divider down the middle of the main road leading from the airport into town now, eliminating the always dangerous stream of traffic that used to flow over into the oncoming lane, and there is even an overpass on the busiest intersection. This main thoroughfare is now cleaner and more ordered than many Malaysian roads. Will wonders never cease!
We are staying in a nice little guest house in a part of town known locally as NGO-land. Most of Pam’s contacts and colleagues are close by, and it will give her an opportunity to check out some venues for next year’s conference held this year in Manila. Like most hotels in town, this one is under construction; expanding to meet the demand for the increasing number of tourists who are now flooding into Cambodia from all over the world, drawn by its fascinating history and unspoiled beaches and natural beauty.
Pam’s schedule is not so tight that she and I won’t get some time together. We just recently celebrated thirty-four years of marriage and you don’t get to say that unless you take time over the years to do things that you both enjoy together. Two of those things have always been a love for the wide diversity of peoples and cultures in this world, and a desire to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves have a chance to achieve some level of personal health, safety, success and peace. Hopefully this week we will have a chance to do both of these things.
Last night we took a walk down to Sisowath Quay to a really nice restaurant overlooking the Mekong and had a very pleasant time listening to some local music while we watched the Khmer fisherman ply their ancient boats along the water. Ocean going boats can travel up the Mekong as far as Phnom Penh, a distance of 550 kilometers, using the tidal surge from the ocean to assist them. Every six hours the river changes direction, now flowing out to the sea, making this a very dangerous stretch of the river, as the deaths of nine dragon boat rowers a few years ago proved.
This morning after a very nice latte and fruit salad for breakfast we went out to church at a small Anglican church around the corner and heard a very sound sermon preached by the Anglican minister of the International Church in Phnom Penh, Peter Warren. We invited a young German couple and their two small children for lunch afterward and chatted about Germany, missions and their hopes for ministry in Cambodia. Tomorrow Pam will get down to work in earnest and I will do some planning for my next unit on Drama. We are both looking forward to the week.