Saturday, July 6, 2013 and Sunday, July 7, 2013
07.07.2013 - 07.07.2013
Saturday, July 6, 2013. It was the day...we were really, really going to Cambodia today. I had been waiting for this day for so very long as I had first spoken to Rainbow about Cambodia late in September, 2012, nearly 10 months ago. I had run into her at sky train and at that time I was packing up the house and getting ready for my big move to the West End. Over the years I had told her that I wanted to do a volunteer trip and she had kept in touch with me and periodically would let me know where they would be going. Unfortunately, the timing never worked, at least not until now. The bonus was that it is Cambodia, a place I have longed to go to for many years.
The week before we left I was running around getting last minute things done. I was pretty tired, still going to the gym and getting in as much hot yoga as possible. I was also anxious, scared about going, excited to be going and panicked about going. How will I cope? Will it all be okay? Will I be able to hold up in the heat? Will I be physically fit enough to do all that needed to be done? It wouldn't matter as I was going regardless. I didn't want to panic too much as I also was scared that something could go wrong at the last minute and this trip that I had dreamed of for so long wouldn't go ahead.
Our team travelling to Cambodia, consisting of Lily, Vivian, Viola, Rainbow, Linda, Clark and Kailey (We had never met Kailey or Clark yet as both lived back East) were to meet up at the Southern China Airlines desk at 10:00 am. Our flight would be leaving at 12:30 pm.
I always like to get to the airport early and was dropped off by my friend Mary Anne for 9:00 am. I prefer to just wander, read a book or just hang out, rather than to have to rush to get to the airport.
By 10:00 am people were starting to arrive at the Southeast China Airlines counter. Soon the group was all there and we were so very excited.
We checked in our bags, went through security, had something to eat and then went to hang out in our departure gate. We were getting to know each other and the conversation flowed comfortably.
We boarded the plane for the first part of our trip and our flight was uneventful. We were seated throughout the plane, mostly aisle and window seats. Time was spent getting to know each other and we also got some much needed sleep. Linda had had her exam the day before we left and she was exhausted. She was out cold on the plane pretty quick. I was pretty tired and had a glass of wine to help me fall asleep.
We arrived in Guangzhou around 4:55 pm, which was our scheduled arrival time on Sunday, July 7th.
We spent the layover time checking things out in the various stores, okay, I did...others read, slept or talked. A few of us got some food at the Blenz located in the airport...Chinese food which felt so unreal but cool at the same time. We had just over four hours to wait around before boarding our flight to Phnom Penh.
Finally, after travelling for some 23 hours, we arrived in Phnom Penh. We were delayed leaving China by about an hour and so by the time we arrived in Phnom Penh it was well after 11:30 pm. We were rushed through customs fairly quickly as the customs guys wanted to go home and we were the last to get through.
After exiting the airport, the heat and humidity hit you immediately. It felt the same as it did in Cuba. We were greeted by two drivers, one of whom was Kevin who we would get to know over the next few days while staying in Phnom Penh. Our luggage was loaded into two vehicles and we received ice cold bottles of water. The streets from the airport to Phnom Penh were very quiet. It was a Sunday night and it seemed like the whole world was asleep.
We arrived at Indochine 2, our hotel for the time we would be in Phnom Penh. We figured out who we would share rooms with and got to our rooms and got to sleep after our long trip. We were in Phnom Penh. Look out Cambodia. The barangs have arrived.