So – suppose you have a family with three young children and you’ve just traveled for 24 hours straight. You’re halfway around the world, and you have no clue how jet lag is going to affect you in the coming hours and days. How do you plan your schedule?

We’ll return to that question in a moment, but now let me resume the story that I started a few days ago.


Eurasian tree sparrow
Eurasian tree sparrow

Friday morning, we were all awake by 5:30 a.m., even though we had gone to bed after midnight the night before. For Ordinary Spouse and I, the memories of our previous visit to Cambodia started to come back to us. Phnom Penh has a unique morning ambiance – a combination of heat, humidity, smoke, city smell, and roosters crowing – that we had forgotten. And when we checked on the girls, they were all gathered together on one bed, looking out the windows, and taking in their new surroundings. Soon thereafter, Middle Daughter had identified her first new bird: a Eurasian tree sparrow. And we established a bit of routine that continued on and off throughout the rest of our time in Cambodia: a refreshing cold shower followed by rice, pork, and pickled veggies for breakfast.

Rice, pork, and pickled veggies
Rice, pork, and pickled veggies

So, back to that question – how should someone plan a schedule for a jet-lagged family in a new country? Well, first leave some time unstructured in a non-stressful environment. We spent the morning doing a lot of meaningful nothingness at the home of the Guest Complacent. We got to know our 8-month-old cousin/nephew (and played with his toys), explored the house, and discovered that you could see a long way from the rooftop…

Playing with The Nephew Complacent
Ordinary Spouse becomes Ordinary Aunt
One big singing bowl
OS gets her bell rung
A construction worker across the street
A construction worker across the street
The construction project across the street
The construction project across the street
The rooftop view
The rooftop view (click for a much larger view)

So that’s the first part of schedule planning: intentional relaxation. But relaxation is easy in the morning when everyone is awake. What happens in the afternoon when everyone is ready to nap… for the rest of the day? According to the Guest Complacent, that’s when you have to go out and do something!

And so, Friday afternoon after lunch we set out to see the Royal Palace. But before we get to that, I want to say a little something about getting around Phnom Penh…


Up next: Traffic in Phnom Penh

After that: The Royal Palace of Cambodia

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