Sunday, July 17, 2011

Phnom Penh and our last day...

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We were up at 4am this morning to make sure we make it to Phnom Penh in time to visit the Royal Palace... Actually we switched bus companies and got to PP within 4 hours... Had plenty of time to have breakfast on the river-front in front of the Palace, and then we split into a couple of groups and took a guided tour... To top it all off, the King of Cambodia drove-by as we left!! Check out the photos!! :-)

We stopped-by KFC for lunch - not the healthiest, but the kids don't really need to watch their weight... :-)  They LOVED KFC and this was a great way to finish-up our beach holiday...

On the 5.5 hour bus-ride back to the orphanage at Bakong the kids watched some DVDs and slept - of course we had some cookies and bananas as treats as well... :-)

Breakfast at the river-front...
Even the Lion is wearing one of our hats!! :-)))

Mr. K, our tuk-tuk driver from Siem Reap, joined us
at the beach along with his wife and daughter. When we
got to Phnom Penh he asked if he could take a couple of hours
while we were at the Palace and go visit his parents - he hasn't seen
them in 2 years...

The king's lomousine driving through the Palace when we arrived -
getting prepared to go out later in the morning...

In front of the Throne Hall...

The mannequins at the back represent the colours the Royal Household
staff wear on each day of the week... Red on Monday, Orange on Tuesday,
Blue on Wednesday, and so on... :-)

We took lots of individual photos so the kids could make
their own photo albums - this is Dara at the Royal Palace...

The view looking out of the Silver Pagoda, with the Emerald Buddah...

Some of the older kids at one of the Palace Towers...

Kedang in the Palace garden...

And of course Ryan had to find a monk...
Who's actually from Brisbane - g'day mate!!... ;-)


Posing as teapots in front of the teapot topiary... :-)

And as we were leaving the Royal Palace...

The King of Cambodia drove-by...
Look closely and you can actualy see him waving - 2 hands in the back window... :-))

Lunch at KFC... We took-over the restaurant as usual... :-)

Arriving back at the orphanage in Bakong after our beach holiday!! :-)


Our last day - written by Alex, Ryan and Steph -

We woke up this morning to our alarms at 7.30, knowing full well it was the last time we would be woken by this sound in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Also known as our second home...

The three of us went about our morning routine, stopping for breakfast - the usual: Alex: fruit and a muffin, Steph: a panini or watermelon and Ryan: 4 chocolate croissants and a muffin, along with Mr K, our tuk-tuk driver, who loves the chocolate muffin we buy him each morning...

It was fairly common now for us to experience technical difficulties with motor vehicles, so we weren't very surprised when we heard a snap of the tuk-tuk while driving over the bridge... :-)) 

Mr K called his friend who took us to the orphanage in another tuk-tuk, where we spent the day hanging out with the kids. Today was our very last day so we decided that we would simply "be" with them. Ryan played basketball while Alex had her hair done and Steph played games with the kids...

There was a very different energy at the orphanage today, everyone knew that the end of our amazing trip was very quickly coming to an end. This did not however mean that the laughter and fun slowed down, if anything there were more smiles and laughs packed into the small time we were there...

We were surprised to find out that our plane was leaving earlier than expected, (3 HOURS EARLIER!) - this of course changed all of our plans as we were meant to relax all day and then go out for one last “family dinner.”

When we arrived at the airport, the tears started rolling down our faces but we soon realised that our flight had been delayed for an hour and half (The Buddha answered our prayers!), so we decided to take the kids out for ice-cream... :-)  As we ate our ice-cream, we looked at our photos from Sihanoukville and laughed about all the fun memories we shared together...

Then the time came to say our goodbyes, this was by far the saddest moment of our trip, knowing we weren’t going to see their smiling and energetic faces the next day. Our goodbyes went on for what seemed like forever........

On our last day - saying goodbye at the orphanage...

Ice-creams at Dairy Queen at the airport,
while the kids sorted over 1500 photos we took and printed out for them...
Each one got to make their own photo album!!  :-)))

The bitter-sweet goodbye at the airport...
We had 2 beautiful weeks with our kids and did so much with them...
Goodbyes are always hard... :-(


A final note from Alex -

First of all I would like to say thank you to Aviv, Michelle and Steph once again for having me on this amazing trip. I'm more than lucky to have such a special second family :)

Steph and Ryan - my partners in crime for 2 weeks. If only recording artists were on the tuk-tuk with us each day - we could be famous!! :-)   Thank you both for the laughter - "okay waowwwww" there was a lot of laughter... :-))))

I always learn to be grateful when I return to Cambodia. But this trip has taught me to be truly grateful for absolutely everything. Not just for food, water, shelter, clothing and education. But the gift of the beaches, the sand, the snow, the airplanes and everything that is part of our everyday life that we take for granted.
I was definitely not ready to go back home this time. I know I can speak for Steph when I say Cambodia feels like home to both of us. As we walked from the terminal to the plane, we both stood outside on the tarmac and didn't get on the plane for about 15 minutes... We said to each other "Come on there's still time we can run back"....

But all good things must come to an end, and this trip was no exception.....

Alex


A final note from Ryan -
This was my first trip to Cambodia and not my last... I loved every second of it and the kids have taught me so much about myself and what life has to offer. Hopefully I will see them in the near future!!

Ryan


A final note from Steph -

Going back for the 5th time, I no longer went to a third-world country to see and help less-fortunate people -I went home to see my family... Every day I will miss them and they are forever in my heart...

Steph





This is our final blog for this trip - thanks for taking the journey with us!! 
We'll be back to see our kids in Cambodia in December/January...  :-)

Alex, Ryan, Steph, Michelle and Aviv

8 comments:

  1. That was a perfect sign off to our trip. Once again, thank you very much to Aviv, Michelle, Steph and Alex. I will never forget this trip!

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  2. Thank-you again - this is a great last blog guys. :)
    Proud of us and I'll forever laugh at our songs :p

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  3. To Aviv & Michelle, Thank you for looking after Ryan so well. He had such an incredible time and amazing memories that will stay with him always. Hoever I'm not keen on him shaving his head & wearing orange robes when he becomes a Monk??!!

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  4. Well done to you all, it looks like everyone had a blast, especially all the kids. It has been great as usual to follow your journey.
    Mary C.

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  5. I definitely love Cambodia..

    ''But all good things must come to an end, and this trip was no exception.....'' Hard life

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  6. Cambodia travel will indeed immerse you with Asian culture that is so diverse and rich.

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  7. Interesting blog Steph!! Please visit my page www.arielgchapuis.com

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  8. Great Blog! I truly enjoyed Cambodia Tour with the help of your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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