The travel back home was not fun - after a 2 hour flight to Hong Kong and a 12 1/2 hour flight to L.A., I started feeling ill. Fortunately, we had already planned to stay overnight in L.A. It was not a fun night in the hotel, but I was feeling better the next morning and we got home safe and sound and I even went for a run - well, a jog and a walk - this morning.
Some final thoughts about our trip:
- If you are going to go on a long trip, it is essential to go with a group as good natured as the 14 members of our delegation. I mean - I had to beg someone to complain so it would be more natural (thanks, Susan!). What a great group of people!
- While when I was younger it was fun to go on a totally unplanned trip, at my age, I prefer advance planning - preferably by someone else! Our tour manage, Shiv, was wonderful and all arrangements were absolutely perfect.
- Both countries were highly interesting, but Cambodia surprised us the most. Everyone we met was friendly, welcoming and gentle. While admittedly we only saw a small section of its society, what we did see what totally at odds with the Cambodia we saw in visiting the prison and the killing fields where horrible atrocities were committed. In fact, we noticed how few old people we saw - it's a very young population, due not just to the deaths, but to the large number of people who left during the Pol Pot years.
- Still, we were impressed - in both countries - by the efforts to improve the legal system as exhibited by the lawyers who met with us. Both legal systems, particularly Cambodia's, are comparatively in their infancy. Improving them is critically important, not just in family law, but to encourage foreign businesses to invest. In both countries, we met with lawyers who are working hard to accomplish this.
- Tuk-tuks are great vehicles and should be imported to the U.S., especially to New York.
- Vietnam should rename its currency to something other than the "dong" to avoid cheap humor (OK, I was mostly guilty of it). And, they need to revalue it - 20,000 dong to the dollar (no, I'm not making that up!) makes converting prices in one's head a bit difficult.
- Cambodian woman are the most beautiful anywhere I've been!