Sunday, May 18, 2014

SUNDAY, 18 MAY 2014



Up at 0300, to the airport at 0400, departed at 0630, arrived Jakarta 0720 (and thought of Kristi's brother, Ryan, because he lives here), departed 0915 (45 minutes late), arrived in Singapore 1130 to pouring rain.
I booked a hotel that has a free airport shuttle. Long story short, the shuttle driver that told us he would take us to our hotel was actually the driver for the partner hotel (Village Chagi), which is on the opposite side of the airport (even after I asked him numerous times if he was taking us to Village Katong). Hotel paid for taxi, and when we arrived they told us they were giving us a "club" room with all the perks and amenities. Well worth the hassle!
As I reflect on this wonderful trip, I come to the same conclusion I have with every one of these trips. I wish I could take all of the good of each country and its people and mix them all together to create a true Utopia. 
The USA has so much plenty and ease of life, but it seems as if all of that has made us an impatient, depressed, and self centered people. I saw so many people that have to work so hard and have so little, yet they all seem so happy. 
I find that when I pass by people they look at me with suspicion...until I offer them my smile...then they light up like a Christmas tree. It felt like they think I don't like them, but a smile aways assured them I do, and then they are happy to return it. Everywhere we went the students asked if they could take their picture with us. It was comical, because there was always one in the group that was the designated inquirer. They were terrified to ask, but when we said yes the whole group celebrated. Yesterday when it happened at Candi Prambanan a Canadian girl in her late 20's was walking by and mumbled, "Sucker!" Wow, really? Jim and I were always happy to do it. I sat there and wondered why--because I am a mother and grandmother. I love kids and I love to do whatever I can to help them have a little joy in their lives, and taking 2-3 minutes of my life to pose with them is well worth it. I have yet to figure out why they think it such a great thing to take a picture with us.   
Traveling in a third world country is always hard for me because I wish I had the means to fix their poverty. My biggest wish for them would be to have water treatment plants and sewers, and running water in their homes. Refrigerators in the homes? Maybe, but then the fact that they eat fresh food everyday, because they have to go to the market twice a day for their food means they eat much healthier than we do--not all the prepared junk. However, I have a hard time with the exposed meat and seafood sitting out all day in the heat with flies. I wish they could have refrigerators for that.
My second wish is that I had an unlimited number of $1 bills to hand out to every little child and vendor who asked me to buy their wares for "only $1." One dollar is a huge deal to them.
I know there is a lot of turmoil with our government right now, but after talking to the people in Viet Nam and Cambodia I am grateful to live in a Democratic society. I am grateful for the freedoms we have to voice our opinions, and to come and go as we choose.
Once again, I am so thankful for the opportunity I have had to take this trip. I am grateful for a husband who not only loves to travel too, but has taught me how to go beyond the tourism part of it, and how to enjoy it to its fullest by getting to know the people. I'm grateful for Linda and Hank. We have so much fun being with them, and we're so grateful for their generosity. Most of all I am grateful for my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ...for creating this beautiful and diverse world, with all of its many cultures and people. 

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