A Travellerspoint blog

Day 21 - Last Day in Phnom Penh

Saturday, July 27, 2013

sunny 34 °C

Morning came way too soon. I didn't look as bad as I could have. We stayed up way too late last night but we couldn't help but want to enjoy each other's company. It was the last night that we would be able to stay up that late as tonite we need to be fully packed and early to bed. (Yes, I know, I have lots...opening up a Cambodian gift store upon my return to Vancouver, ha ha.)

It is a semi-overcast day and I really enjoy looking out our hotel window. We are facing the side of the hotel and there is no shortage of activity. Food carts on the sidewalks are doing a brisk business and the female butcher across the street is in the usual position, squatting up on a table where the raw meat lies. She is cleaning a chicken. Here the meat is sold outside at a stall and it doesn't always seem to be sold separately. Chicken, beef and pork all together. Definitely not your butcher shop back home.

I was beginning to feel sad now and somewhat reflective. My new close knit group of friends would never be together again like this in Cambodia. All of us, except for Rainbow had never been to Cambodia before and so we got to share the newness of it all. Two of the team who are of Vietnamese heritage had been to Vietnam before, but this trip was oh so different. I had been to Taiwan as well as Hong Kong but that was in the early 80's and really an entire lifetime ago. I was so very young then and have lived a great deal since. Having traveled in Asia previously did help me to adapt to this trip that much faster though.

This was an experience of a lifetime. I had been asked recently, over two weeks ago or maybe at the start of the trip by Rainbow a similar question to "What is something new that I have done recently?" I cannot even count all the new things I have done on this trip. Ride on a motorcycle, plant rice, hold a firefly, hold a praying mantis, get to be less than two feet from water buffalo, teach yoga to a room of children (one of the happiest events of this trip), and the list goes on.

Cambodia has become a new love. My heart will never be the same as I have already left part of it in Cambodia. It is the people of Cambodia that have my heart and especially the children. Life is not easy here and you are always greeted with warm smiles and kindness. I do really hope that I will come here again and not before too long. For many years, over 15 from what I can recall, I have always dreamed of coming to Cambodia. Buying a Cambodian Barbie when it first came out back in 2004 made me think about Cambodia more. Although I still didn't clue in about Angkor Wat's existence I wanted to come here. Even after having watched Indiana Jones, I didn't know. I will now need to watch Lara Croft Tomb Raider.

There wasn't one particular reason for me wanting to come here. The surrounding countries of Laos, Vietnam and Thailand had not held the same allure. I do want very much to travel to Thailand and Vietnam though, but Cambodia was always the first destination for me. I do believe in fate and some part of me has always wanted to be here. The people are wonderful and I have to say I have been happier and felt more at peace these past 3 weeks than I have been since my Michael died. This trip has somehow managed to heal me. I feel lighter. I have seen first hand what is truly important in life. I have always known but now I have lived it to some degree.

The experience was not always easy and there were times when I just wanted what we were doing to be done. I will be forever grateful to have been fortunate enough to come here and do what I have done to help. I am lucky to be able to do so.

Breakfast was at the hotel, Indochine 2 of an omelette with french bread, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of tea. I need the caffeine today. I had a very quick breakfast and then I went to get some blogging done.

We went to the Russian Market, named this as it was attended by mostly foreigners from Russia back in the 1980's. This market carries much nicer goods than the other markets. Here there are a lot of wood carvings, silk and items by artisans. We spent maybe an hour there and then it was time to get going. Back to our hotel for an hour and then back out again for lunch. Also a quick stop at a Staples like store to get memory sticks for people to use to upload their pictures of Cambodia. We anticipate that we have taken a few thousand pictures amongst all of us.

Kailey and Linda went to get us coconuts and we happily enjoyed what might be our last coconut in Cambodia. It was the juicest and best chilled one that I have had here so far. The day had been really nice so far and I was looking forward to going home but just a bit sad too.

Rainbow finds a perfect restaurant for us just a few doors down from our hotel. Lemongrass Restaurant serving Thai and Khmer food. This turned out to be the best food that I have had in Cambodia. I ordered Ocean prawns in a red curry. We also had an appetizer of salad rolls to start. Some ordered milkshakes and the chocolate banana one was pretty amazing. The restaurant had a very nice ambiance and dishes were very reasonable by North American standards. My entree was $9.00. Dessert was bananas flambe with ice cream and I split that with Vi. Can you say yum!

After that, back to the hotel for a little break as we all gave Rainbow our camera memory cards to upload all of our pictures to her laptop. The goal was to then copy all of them to memory sticks.

Apparently we took over 4000 photographs. I believe that at least 300 are of water buffalo alone. Ha ha. I also believe there are a few of food (guilty, as I do like to take pictures of food).

Dinner was at 7:00 pm and we were going to the restaurant that was featured in the movie The Killing Fields. Our driver Sing arrived with Leah to take us to Foreign Correspondent's Club. http://www.fcccambodia.com

Dinner was nice. Everyone was happy to be going home tomorrow but also a little sad. We each took turns and shared what this trip has meant to us. I hope that my team members will see just how much this trip has meant to me by reading my blog entries. I apologize if I have digressed or gotten any facts wrong. I like to think that I blog the same way I speak, so kind of all over the map. Sometimes the memory doesn't work as well. It was tough to blog at times as I didn't always feel like it or I didn't get a chance to write about that day when it happened.

Rainbow, our team leader has a new tag line "Angkor What?". We all love you Rainbow and this trip would not have been as amazing if you hadn't been the one to lead it.

It is now about 10:30 pm and I hope to finish off another blog and then complete the balance of my blogs over the course of the next few days. I had hoped to finish it all before I left Cambodia but we had too much talking to do, sightseeing, shopping, eating and laughing. We had lots of living to do.

Awkun and suk so by (Thank you and good night). Cynda's last night in Cambodia. I do really hope to be here again soon.

Posted by Sydney324 08:51 Archived in Cambodia Tagged markets shopping cambodia volunteer hope phnom penh

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