Sunday, July 28, 2013
07.28.2013 - 07.28.2013
We had to be up before dawn and got up at 4:30 am. I heard Lily's voice in the pitch black telling me it was time to get up. It was a struggle to force myself to wake up and get ready even though part of me was looking forward to going home. I miss my sons, my pets, family and friends.
All the hotels that we have stayed at have been around three storeys and none of them have elevators. I expect that that is due to cost but am not certain. It is not easy to lug suitcases (yes, especially mine as they are heavy) up or down the stairs. The staff at all the hotels have been amazing with helping to get our luggage to and from our rooms. There are always several hands to help and the job is completed quickly. Most of the Cambodians are of small builds and not very tall, are slender and incredibly strong. I have met more than a few women that are shorter than me which is much more rare in Canada. They are a very physically fit people.
Sing, our driver would be arriving with Leah at 5:00 am to take us to the Phnom Penh airport for our flight back to Vancouver. Fortunately there was little traffic and the city seemed to be mostly asleep except for a few people doing tai chi on a street corner. It is the calm before the polls open for the election at 7:00 am.
When we arrived at the airport our airline China Southern Airlines was not even open for check in. We had to wait until 6:00 am and then we started to get checked in. Last time my suitcases were weighed together, this time it was done separately, and I was told the limit was 23 kg each going home, not the 32 kg that it was coming to Cambodia, at least that is what it said in their website. Anyways lucky for me Rainbow had room and took my heavier items, books and some products into her bag and all was good again. Minor glitch as I managed to misplace one of my suitcase keys, likely dropped by me inside a suitcase as I was rummaging around to lighten the load.
I had a lot of stuff and almost the entire team was carrying a bag for me. I had my carry on which was a large backpack, a day pack which was my purse, a large wooden piece of art, a bag of snacks, a bag of duty free and a bag of beer. So lucky to have such nice people on the team to help. Thanks guys! You are all so very helpful.
There was one other minor glitch as Linda's booking said she could only bring back one suitcase and so chivalrous Clark (you like that name Clark?) checked in Lin Lin's second bag for her.
We got through security quickly and went to sit down to wait. Did some shopping at the duty free and was happy to be able to buy some spices which was the one item I had not had time to get before leaving for home. The duty free in Phnom Penh is quite expensive for a lot of their items such as chocolate. Spices were reasonable but likely higher which was to be expected. I didn't look at hard liquor prices but I am assuming that it is decent.
Some of us had breakfast and we also enjoyed our last bit of the wonderfully tasty Cambodian bananas. I had a ham and cheese croissant at a "French bakery". Otherwise nothing that really caught my eye. Methinks I am actually shopped out. I did my utmost to stimulate the economy in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Before we knew it it was time to board our flight at 7:30 am and then off to our only stop in Guangzhou (known historically as Canton which is where my mom was born), China. Checked out a few stores and I did buy a birthday gift.
We were treated to a super wonderful poem that Vivian wrote. She captured all the nuances and the true essence of this trip and it was perfect. Thanks so much Vivian! It was awesome! Will post that later in the blog.
Our layover here would be short, about an hour and a half. While we were there it started raining and it turned to very heavy rain. An announcement was made and our flight would be delayed by 45 minutes and wouldn't leave until 3:00 pm. We were further delayed as we sat on the tarmac for a bit.
I fell asleep before the plane even took off. Getting only five hours of sleep was catching up to me. Had a meal and watched a movie, Snitch, and then went to the task of blogging.
This flight has had a lot of turbulence and it has been neverending, going on for a couple of hours. The plane was really rocking from side to side and up and down. The stewardesses had us close all the blinds. Kailey guessed that there was likely quite the storm outside which the stewardesses preferred us not to see. People might get scared.
It is now nearly 8 pm China time and so we have been travelling for under five hours. We have I think, about seven and a half hours to go. I may have to stop blogging and will sleep again if the turbulence doesn't settle down.
Kailey and I decided to go visit the others. Our seats were scattered throughout the plane. Clark was on the left side of the plane, Rainbow in the middle close to him. Vivian was in a middle row, aisle seat a row behind us. Lily was in a window seat on the opposite side of the plane and I think Viola was on the right side of the plane as was Lin Lin who had an aisle seat. We visited Clark who had his eyes closed and then we went to visit Lin Lin. Clark had come to visit earlier. I think he really misses his harem. Life is just going to be quieter for Clark. We then went to visit Lin Lin. It is now just under six hours before we arrive in Vancouver. We are all kind of bored. I took a gravol but haven't dozed off. I couldn't get comfortable and the plane is stuffy. I just had half a beer hoping to be able to relax some and fall asleep. Maybe blogging will help me doze off as well.
Also half watching Snitch again as the movie was interrupted several times due to announcements by the stewardess for people to please sit down. After the third announcment a woman finally sat down and nope she was not Chinois. They have mostly been behaving well. When I went to the back of the plane to the kitchen there were a bunch of older Chinese guys chatting it up with the stewardesses.
Getting drowsy finally. Beer/gravol combo working. Didn't like to mix booze with medication but I gotta get some shut eye. The combo kicked in and I got to sleep for three hours. Total bliss to get a real rest. Back to blogging.
I did fall asleep again and slept until a short time before we finally touched down in Vancouver at about 1:40 or so.
Jeremy was inside to meet me and Andrew was outside in the car. Nancy, Joe and Michael surprised me and it was sure nice to get a big hug from Nancy.
Got all my luggage, thankfully nothing was lost or delayed and it was back to reality.