Monday, July 11, 2011

Sihanoukville here we come!!!.... :-)))

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Well, to say that the last 24 hours went as planned would be as far from the truth as can be... But as always, we made the best of the situation and had fun along the way...

The night before we left for Cambodia's beach-side township, Sihanoukville, we went with the local travel agent we were using to check-out the bus we booked. Instead of a new coach, with  a toilet and TV screens, we saw battered old bombs, with a stench that just can't be described... :-&    Our travel agent found another bus company, so at 10pm we went with her to check their bus - which was newer, but still far from luxurious... We wanted to book a nice bus for the kids, as we'd be spending over 10 hours on it...

So after getting back to the hotel after 11pm, our day started with a 2am wake-up, for a 3am pick-up from our Guest House... Don't know 'bout you, but less than 3 hours sleep isn't our thing...  You can imagine the mood we were in when the bus turned-up 45 minutes late!!!.... That 45 minute delay was going to be a problem unless we made-up the time, as we had to arrive in Phnom Penh by 9.30-10am in order to make it to the Royal Palace before they close-off admissions at 11am... Anyway, while we were waiting, Somnang headed to the bakery to pick-up 100 breadrolls (cost - $7.50 - for 100 breadrolls... That's 7.5 cents per breadroll...) and when the bus arrived we headed to Bakong to pick-up the kids, who were waiting in front of the Bakong Temple. We arrived at 4.15 instead of 3.30 - only to find-out the kids were so excited that they couldn't sleep and have been waiting there since 2.30am.....

All on the bus, we turned-off the lights and slept until sunrise before stopping for breakfast... The bus was not moving fast enough to catch-up on the lost time, and before we knew it, turned off the main road - telling us that buses can't use the main road anymore... A little more digging and basically the driver decided to pocket the tolls by using the slower old road - which was partly sealed, and mostly unsealed with pot-holes the size of small cars... :-|

Well, then the bus broke-down... No, not kiding - the bus broke-down... :-||  We waited for an hour before another bus from Phnom Penh came to get us - fortunately the video was working and the kids didn't mind the wait... We got to Phnom Penh at 1pm, so the Palace was way off the cards... We headed for lunch by the Mekong River, took-over the entire restaurant and ordered the kids' food - but the restaurant RAN OUT OF RICE!!!!!!!  AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!  How does an Asian restaurant run out of rice?!?!?!?  Welcome to Cambodia.... :-))))    Expect the unexpected - and deal with it......  After a lunch that took 1.5 hours (motorbikes dispatched to other restaurants to get more steamed rice...), we piled back on the slow replacement-bus and headed to Sihanoukville... A trip that should have taken no more than 5 hours, took over 6.5 - so we missed the sunset and arrived well after dark......

Settling on pizzas for dinner, we headed to the nearest pizza shop and ordered 19 pizzas... After 15 minutes, no pizzas... After 20 minutes, no pizzas. 25 minutes, still nothing... After half an hour, we headed to the kitchen... to find 2 staff members (that's the entire restaurant crew...), feverishly making our pizzas - in an oven that could only bake 4 PIZZAS AT A TIME!!!!..... At 15 minutes per batch....... Done the maths yet?? Our 19 pizzas took over an hour  and a quarter to make......

So, a day that was completely off the scale in terms of challenging us to rise above the unexpected...

We're out in the street... At 3am... Waiting for our bus... :-)

The kids lining-up in their teams - Smart Kids, Dragons, Dolphins,
Angles and Party Animals - before boarding the bus...

Breakfast at a roadside stop - the breadrolls we bought at 3am were
still warm - we also had hard-boiled eggs and bananas... A well-balanced meal... :-))

Glee, Rio and a couple of other movies kept us entertained... :-)

Our bus driver under the bus - in 40 degrees,
on the scorthcing road, trying to fix our bus...

Steph and Alex thought they'd try pushing the bus to Phnom Penh... :-))

Our 'Priscilla Queen Of The Desert' moment...
Steph, Alex and Ryan performing 'I Will Survive'... :-)))))
(Check-out the road and pot-holes...)

The Mekong River promenade in Phnom Penh...

Lunch in Phnom Penh before hopping back on the bus for the rest of the trip... :-)

Glad tomorrow's a new day...  :-))))


  1. Hi i am Kasumi.

    I'm from Garden International School and we went to S.O.C just last week.

    I was talking to Sen, and he told me you are amazing. He said you are really kind to the kids there and surprise everyone with parties and take them out.

    Sen was also telling me that you were taking them to the beach! The pictures looks amazing. I was actually on the phone with him two nights ago and he said they are having a great time!

    I hope i can go back to meet them again and i hope in the future i can meet you as well. I am actually in school now so i hope i can talk to you more some other time.

    Please wish them all good time at the beach!


  2. What a day - Can't believe so many things went wrong. However the kids all look very happy so I guess it will become a very funny story for all to tell. Did you video the Priscilla song - would love to see that. Hope the next few days run according to plan!! Have fun

  3. Hi all OMG!!! What a day!! Hope the rest Of the week makes up for the terrible start. Have fun! Don't forget the sunscreen. (Look who'se talking) LOVE THE BLOGS.
    X x x Baba

  4. you inspired me to start this!

    please read it~!

    all my wishes to the kids there at the beach, especially Kadeb and Sen!!!

    thank you so much

  5. hey, i don't think you remember me, but we briefly met in Cambodia, I was the girl holding Kie. Well hi, I'm Ana, and I'm just so happy to know that your family is taking part in bringing all these kids happiness, they deserve it so much! The kids truly are blessed to have met people like you! I really wish I could go back like you have, but I can't so far, I'll try my best to, though.
    Not sure if you remember, but I went as a school trip,and everyone that went is in tears right now, we all miss the kids so much (please pass this on to them, I hope they remember my name!). I hope you all have a great time at the beach with them, as all of the girls were telling me about how wonderful it will be!

    I really hope I can talk to you soon, you seem like an amazing person! I'm glad I met you & your family, even though it was very brief.

    Keep doing what you're doing! aahahahahha :)
    love, Ana x