A Floating Neighborhood

Friday, August 7, 2015

On the last day we took a boat ride through this neighborhood. I can't even begin to describe what an incredible experience this was....definitely one of my favorite things we did in Cambodia. It just shows you the impoverished view of a town. Even as tourists boats are coming through their backyard while they're trying to fish and stuff they're still all waving and smiling at us coming by. I have no idea if they're genuinely happy to see foreigners or if they just know that tourism is what will build their country. Either way I love them. 

While driving by I saw this little boy that was about Anna's age....maybe 2 yrs old? making his way up one of those tall ladders. The steps of the ladder were literally almost as tall as he was and he was all by himself way up high going up them like it was just stairs - no biggie. He'd seriously break his neck if he fell but no one seemed concerned! 

Also so many nakey children's bums running around. So cute. 

As we were leaving the village the little van that we were in broke down! But no fear because every Cambodian man in site came running to get things back up and running and everyone here is a handyman so we weren't stranded long. They're so resourceful and self sustaining.

Bye Cambodia! We flew from Siem Reap to Bangkok and then had another flight from Bangkok back to our home in Phitsanulok in northern Thailand. When we were booking the flights there was only about a 50 minute layover in Bangkok so I was thinking, perfect! Buuuuuut I failed to forget that we were crossing country borders so of course we would have to go through immigration and get to another side of the airport which takes quite a bit of time. 

After purchasing the flights we had called the airline about another problem and the lady on the phone realized the two flights we had were only 50 minutes apart and she said there's no way you'll make it.  You just won't. It's not enough time. So we were like crap.........but we basically decided to go for it anyways because we really didn't have enough money to buy another flight and really didn't want to take the long bus ride from Bangkok.  

So luckily we know the Bangkok airport like the back of our hand because we've been there so many times. We had it all mapped out in our heads where we would go. We got on the plan leaving Siem Reap and told the flight attendants about the pickle we had gotten ourselves into and asked if there was anything they could do. Here's the deal....we would land and then have 50 minutes before our next flight would board.  They sort of looked at us with big eyes and said they would try to do what they could. We had already checked in for our next flight so they took our information and called the Bangkok airport to give them a heads up that we'd be on our way...running frantically. They also let us move from our crappy back of the plane seats to some empty ones at the front.  We just had our bags on our laps and as soon as we heard the ding that people could stand up we jumped up and went in front of everyone on the plane. I felt so bad trying to push past a few people but they didn't yell at me. So unfortunately our plane took off 30 minutes late and so we had landed 30 minutes late which meant that we now had 20 minutes until our next flight was boarding.  We were the first people in line off the plane and the flight attendants and everyone at the front of the plane was wishing us good luck (shout out to amazing Asia Air for being the best airline ever) and then they opened the plane door and we all just jumped onto the tarmac and started running for it.  

So there we went. A group of American girls running as fast as we could.  I had my 15 lb backpackers backpack on and my shorts were a little too lose and falling off as I ran. Leslie had a duffle bag off her shoulder. Angie had TWO backpacks. We just ran as fast as we could.  Through the crowds of people waiting to board their flights. Down the longest hallway of my life to immigration. Up ahead I could see a sea of asians and I just thought...we're screwed if that's the immigration line. Turns out they were all waiting for visas so we just got in a line and pushed our way through the asians, weaving in and out where we could and ran hard for the immigration line. Luckily there was no line! We only had to wait for like one person before we went through. No issues at immigration. Then down the stairs and ran around looking for the exit to customs. Leslie saw the sign "nothing to declare" and screamed there it is! We all started taking off through the doors and then I hear this faint, "Jeeeeeeeen!" scream and I realized I couldn't see Mallory so I just yelled, "we're this way!!!!!!" and she follows my voice and then I see Mallory's head come popping through the door and we were out in the public part of the airport running again.  We ran past all hired taxi drivers holding up signs waiting to pick people up.  Weaving in and out the crowds of people in one of the busiest airports around.  I was a few people in our group back so by the time I got up to where the first person in our group had already ran by I could see EVERYONE laughing and pointing. Here we are the Americans for your entertainment. 

Up the two levels of escalators.......down one hall and around to the other side.....down another hall to where we finally hit the security line. A guard apparently knew we were coming because without saying a word she just smiled and pointed us in the right direction. Through the security line (no issues), found our gate on the screen, and then CHEERED when we realized it wasn't the farthest gate in all the land.  We kept running and got to our gate just in time.  18 minutes. EIGHTEEN minutes people. That's all it took from the time the plane door opened to get to our next gate. I would like to thank all of you Air Asia flight attendants for having our back and letting us off the plane first, every asian cheerleader along the way (because I like to think they were cheering and not making fun of us), and my shorts for not completely falling off as I ran. 

We made it to the gate exactly at boarding time. Except then in true asian fashion it boarded 30 minutes late so we had time to sit and wipe the sweat off before boarding our next flight.  This was our elation that we made our flight and didn't have to take the crappy 8 hours night bus back to our home.  

As much as I absolutely loved Cambodia....I really missed Thailand. I realized it as soon as we got to Bangkok and the first person gave me the little bow and a hello.  Thailand - you're tops in my book. 

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