Saturday Evening Post Feb 20

Written by Jack van Ommen on February 20th, 2010

For the last three days I have been bothered with a a nasty tooth ache. The last time this happened was between Papua New Guinea and Palau in January 2006. Far away from any dentist. I panicked and got some help by e-mail from my dentist and then it just went away. This time it comes and goes. I am taking left over Vicodin for the pain. The Saigon clinic where I had my broken crown replaced, last month, was extremely helpful by phone and e-mail. I’m taking antibiotics as well. If the infection does not go away by Monday I’ll have to find a dentist. Saigon knows of none to recommend. The vicodin makes me a bit whoozy so I did not want to ride my bike in the (controlled) mayhem.

There is an excellent piece about the Mekong River on National Public Radio at  :http://www.npr.mobi/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123892203 that touches on the pollution of the rivers and ocean. The below picture is what the tourist or travel brochures avoid showing. Garbage disposal is a huge problem in Asia. You might remember that for large stretches of the waters around the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia it was impossible for me to stream a trap line because it would just catch plastic bags. Garbage cans in public places are rare. The way garbage is collected here is by depositing one’s trash in small plastic bags on the main road close to the side walk, in the evening. What’s left of it after the traffic has run over it and the rats and scavengers had their pickings is scooped up by hand in the early morning by the municipal garbage collection. The liquid wastes from restaurants runs out of the trucks and they occasionally stop over a storm drain to spew the garbage truck’s slush. I’ll spare you the smell.

 

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