Tag Archives: The Adventures of Yazoo and Huckleberry

The Adventures of Yazoo and Huckleberry (Ch. 2)

“And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.”
Luke 10:2‭-‬3 NASB

You’ll notice that I’m being fairly cryptic in these posts. You won’t see city or town names, and the names of the people are changed. I have purposefully omitted pictures that could be used to distinguish our location as much as possible.

We left Northwest Arkansas on Friday morning but the long flight and layover put us at the hotel just after midnight Sunday morning (local time).

I slept on the bed near the window and I peeked out that first night, but it was rainy and a little foggy so I didn’t pay attention much about what I was seeing.

I slept well that first night. A full five hours. The bed and pillows were comfortable and clean. I really enjoyed the hotel and all the room amenities. Our host company man had picked out the hotel, so I didn’t know what to expect.

With the currency conversion as it is, you can get in a really nice hotel for a good price. We took advantage of that on the nights we could because we didn’t really know where the agenda was going to take us.

The big window in the shower was only slightly creepy since there was a huge highrise next to us. And yes, it had a full height toilet. But, the bathroom door was frosted glass and faced the sleeping quarters. So, only marginally awkward.

The alarm went off that first morning at 6:30. I planned with Yazoo to get a workout in before we started our day. As I looked over to check on Yazoo he was already up trying to make some coffee with his little instant coffee packet he had in his kit. The room had a kettle to heat water quickly, but not a proper coffee pot.

We both had kits set up for each day. With hindsight, I overpacked kits. I probably had over 20 pounds of daily kits created. I was preparing for village life with no real understanding of what the word village meant. I eventually ended up leaving several of the Premier Protein bars in the office in another city were the FS office is located.

Daily kit

The temperature outside was nice for a morning workout, probably 55 degrees Fahrenheit. We were located in an area that is like springtime temperatures year round. It is a mountainous region and the elevation in this big city was higher than Denver, CO. However, because of the numerous high-rise buildings, we could only see those beautiful mountains when we went on the roads that looped around the city.

We did a short 30 minute body weight and jogging workout in the parking lot of the hotel. This is when Yazoo informed me that hocking loogies and spitting them on the sidewalk is encouraged in some countries for health benefits. After the workout I washed my hands vigorously even before jumping in the shower.

He also later told me that they use grey water pumped out of big trucks with sprayers to water the hedges. Thanks, brother. I’ll do my pushups with more vigor next time.

Our host company man, who we will call Switzer, didn’t join us for the workout so he showered before we returned to the room. Yazoo offered to let me go next. When I was done he offered me some electrolyte powder that he had brought with him. Yazoo said his super buff fitness loving friend who doesn’t eat carbs told him about it. So, I grabbed a complimentary bottle of water, poured it and the powder into my over-sized double walled stainless steel water jug, and took a few sips. I’d be keeping this container filled up anytime I had the chance.

After showers we learned that we would be staying in the same hotel for the next two nights. So we transferred some items around between our rolling carry-on and our backpacks. Then we headed down for breakfast at the hotel. I didn’t know they had breakfast so I had eaten a Premier Protein bar.

The breakfast at the hotel was excellent. It was also very different. There was a type of bacon on the buffet, but I’m not sure what animal it came from. I ate it anyway. I had more coffee and a few other local foods including a version of yogurt. Which I surmised was a good idea to help get my intestinal flora ready to deal with all the local foods.

I also ate a steamed bun. Which has an odd translation to English when you look at the description next to the steamer. There were many different kinds to choose from. But the one translated as “bacteria sachet” really caught my eye, and I had to have it.

After breakfast we waited for the taller company guy, who we will call Fulmer, to pick us up to get our day started. We had the privilege of being accompanied by two company men most of the week. And I am so thankful that I was able to meet them and build lasting memories while experiencing the providential hand of God throughout the process.

Fulmer’s home base was in the big city we were staying in. He and Switzer are both full time with the company in the big Asian country. They each have their family with them and have been there for several years.

Now Switzer was staying with us in the hotel and was home based in a city about three hours fast train ride north west of where we were. But, he was good friends with the regional leader over Starbucks locations in the region we were in. And he enjoyed reporting back about every store he visited. We had coffee at Starbucks almost every day and sometimes twice.

I’m not generally a huge Starbucks fan, but when in a large Asian country where you don’t know what anyone is saying and can’t read the menus, I am a huge Starbucks fan.

You wouldn’t know unless you’ve been outside your home country, but when you enter a place that reminds you of home it brings comfort.

Because I live in a smaller city back home and I don’t frequently visit big cities, I had never heard of a Starbucks Reserve store. In this large city, there were three. And folks, this was good coffee. The first couple trips in I played it safe, but Switzer kept getting some reserve beans/roasts. So, I ventured out eventually and ordered some coffee that they make in this contraption that I’d identify as only ever having seen on that show Breaking Bad. Yep, it was really good!

After getting our coffee on that first day we sat out on the Starbucks patio for a few minutes and discussed operational security for the company. Switzer told us that we would probably be awkwardly stared at and that was perfectly normal. He told us to just imagine that we are dancing bears on a ball or something weird like that.

Switzer then drilled us on our story in case we were taken into custody. Yazoo is an international business owner, really, and was there on business. I was simply a tourist and was tagging along with Yazoo on his business trip. All true. We all got a company polo with the logo embroidered on it. Fulmer had gotten a good price so we each had two to wear.

This is the point were I found out that we would have access to a washer and dryer during the week at Fulmer’s place if needed. I over-packed. And this will cause a little regret later on when I had to choose not to purchase a few gifts that I wanted to bring home because of luggage space. I did end up leaving a pair of dress shoes there with my new friend, Kevin from Asia, who you’ll meet in Chapter 3.

The Adventures of Yazoo and Huckleberry (Ch. 1)

It was my first trip outside of the U.S. and it was going to be a big one.

Caution but not fear. We are headed for Asia.

Yazoo is a cool travel companion. I don’t talk much, and he loves to teach from his experiences.

Let’s start with a Correction of Errors. Put a snack in your backpack, not just in your rolling carry on.

My plan was to transfer a snack to my backpack once we landed after our short flight from NWA to Dallas. But that didn’t happen, our flight was delayed. We ended up having to get on a standby list which would put us in Dallas at 10:25, and our flight to “very large city in Asia” was leaving at 10:55.

Well, we landed and parked by 10:25, but the pilot didn’t park close enough to the ramp! When we all sat back down they moved the plane and we tried again to unload.

Yazoo called AA Flight Advantage when we were about to land to ask our next flight to wait on us. But I’m not sure if they did. We sprinted through the Dallas airport like two crazy men from Terminal B to the train to take us to Terminal D. Then we sprinted to gate D##.

They were yelling at us to hurry because everyone was already seated. We got on the plane at 10:53 and had to move someone who had been given our seats.

And our carry on bag had to be put up front about half a mile away from us on this big 787B Boeing. So, I just had to eat whatever snack they gave me.

This was a huge plane with a second floor for crew sleeping quarters.

I am thankful we made our flight. Thank you, Lord, this must be in your plan. I didn’t want to stay in Dallas overnight.

After settling into our seats I found power ports to keep my phone charged and a personal movie screen that I could control like my own tablet with movies.

It was a 14 hour flight from Dallas to “big city in Asia” so I watched a few movies.

We had seats at the emergency exit so we were able to stretch our legs. But all three seats were filled and the whole plane was full. So we were cramped elbow to elbow.

They served three meals on this flight and they were not bad. I didn’t eat most of the last meal as it was basically just rice and I wanted to eat meat when I got to the airport.

I never was able to get any sleep, so the plan was to just stay awake until getting to “final destination in Asia” at near midnight local time. I thought I would sleep like a rock and set my internal clock to the new time zone.

“Big city in Asia” is huge. When we got close to the airport I started seeing all the highrise buildings. They are everywhere. It’s amazing how much fog/smog hangs around those buildings.

Once we unloaded we had to go get our transfer ticket for the “Asian country” airline flight to our final destination city. I didn’t have any trouble going through security at XNA, but the boys in “big city in Asia” were very thorough. They even took one of my backup batteries because the markings had been rubbed off from old age.

Once we got through security we found some food. McDonalds in “Asian country” has some really good chicken wings. No kidding.

Mcdonalds has different food at the Asian locations including bubble teas. We both got the spicy wings which were really good but risky.

We had a five hour layover in the airport so we looked around terminal two for a while before relaxing again. I picked out a shop that I wanted to stop at on the way out for some souvenirs for the family.

While at the airport we also took time to brush our teeth and use some of the Dude Wipes we brought to freshen up.

This too was a slight change of plans. We originally planned to stay in the AA Admirals lounge, because Yazoo is like super gold platinum member or something. He said it had showers and free meals. What he forgot was that the lounge was in the International terminal, which we had already exited and could not get back in! 😀

We were blessed to get good seats on the flight to our final destination because we sat on a three person row, with only the two of us. I was really feeling the lack of sleep by this time. I had been awake for almost thirty hours with only small head nods for sleep.

We had several moments of scary turbulence on this flight. We flew through some thunderstorms and I could see lightning outside the plane windows.

Were were on a big older Airbus with 63 rows and 8 wide seating with two aisles. This was a three hour flight with a movie in another language.

This is the point where I found out that the movies I had downloaded on Vudu didn’t work. I just watched the in flight movie the best I could and held on as the plane jostled around. It was a weird movie. Something about a circus and the workers fighting ninjas and an elephant?

I admit that eating those spicy chicken wings was a bad idea. I reflected on that decision a couple of times as I held on for dear life in the restroom at the back of that plane. Luckily I had my wet wipes handy.

But oddly I think the Lord was looking out for me. When we got to our final destination I stopped in the restroom at that airport and all I found was those Asian squatty potties. These are basically porcelain lined holes in the ground. I was so thankful that I had gotten all the spice out on the full height plane toilet. 🙏🙏

When we arrived it was about midnight local time in our destination city, but the company men we were coming to visit were there waiting for us. I was glad to get to the hotel alive, because even at midnight traffic was heavy compared to my town.

And I was correct in my assumption, I slept well that first night.

Isaiah 26:4 NIV Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.