Hi, from a glorious sunny morning in Siem Reap.
I am awaiting my breakfast whilst beginning to write this blog and am overlooking the newly installed swimming pool. I'm sure that at some point today I will be lying beside it and cooling down in its water.
It seems very strange to be writing the 2 October when I'm not too sure where the 30 Sept and 1 Oct went to.
My journey began very well after a quick shower, cup of coffee and cuddles with B and Stan before Heather took me to Ebbsfleet and the start of my journey. HS1 arrived and I joined the grey/black world of commuters - no one speaking or appearing to acknowledge anyone else, but all connected to a phone, ipod or computer and frantically pressing buttons.
The first aggravation of the mornng was when the ticket machine to the underground at Kings Cross told me there were insufficient funds on my Oyster Card to pay for my journey. Luckily, there was a real person selling tickets and adding money to Oyster cards who didn't have a queue in front of him, so the problem was quickly resolveded and I was soon like a sardine squashed into a tin on a Picaddily Line train to Terminal 3. Very quickly the crowds eased as we left the centre of London and I was able to claim a seat and a Metro paper to read. Once there I joined the snake of people pushing, pushing and carrying their loads of luggage towards the terminal required. I needed to hurry as I still needed to secure an aisle seat on the flight. Once on the concourse I was able to stop for a breath whilst I looked to see where Singapore Airlines Departure desks were. To my horror I couldn't find the info anywhere, my flight or airline did not exist! I concluded there must be an error on the board, so quickly dashed inside to where I expected them to be. Still no sign, so had to find someone to ask and was told that they had moved 10 days ago to Terminal 2. If only I had booked through them instead of another online flight site - I might have been told of it. Asking directions I quickly set off again to retrace my steps and find the new Queen's Terminal. By now time was ticking away and NO AISLE SEAT, I was feeling stressed and very sweaty. As soon as I walked into T 2 I saw all the self check-in machines for Singapore Airlines and queues of people milling everywhere, my heart sank, but a lady soon reassured me there were plenty of people around to help. It soon became obvious that there were many teething problems and I was directed to queue yet again to check-in with a real person. Some relief, but time was an issue, but my turn came reasonably quickly. Another problem was quickly highlighted - my luggage was 2.7kgs overweight and that would cost me an extra £90, fortunately, the lady said I could step aside and see if I could remove something from my bag. After a search for the keys and panicked opening I took out a couple of things which I hoped would account for the extra weight, but then had to unpack my rucksack so that I could use its liner as another bag. This was successful, my boarding cards were issued, BUT NO AISLE SEAT. However, she suggested that I tried to change once I was at the desk immediately before boarding. Not happy, I set off through security and into departures to look for the speakers I had promised to buy for Alan and a desperately needed cup of coffee. However, time and the terminal were against that plan, there are very few shops there, no Dixons and by now the Departure gate had been announced and boarding would soon begin. It was a long trek to the gate - down extremely long and steep escalators, a walk underground and then escalators up again and another walk to the gate. Another queue at the desk but I persisited and was able to exchange my seat for an aisle one - I could relax again and prepare myself for the long flight.
The flight was very easy, no turbulance or anything to worry me, I was sitting next to a young couple who were going to Bali for their honeymoon, on their first long haul flight. Although I didn't sleep, the journey passed relatively quickly and we were unloading at Singapore. As I had a 5 hour wait before my next flight I found a spot where I could relax and sleep if necessary to while away the time. At some point a guy came along and asked me where I had flown from and was going to and then he explained they were giving away vouchers worth 40 Singapore $ to spent in the airport. By claiming mine it enabled me to buy a meal and drink. On my way to a cafe I literally bumped into someone I knew on her way to Grace House too, so after showing her where to claim her vouchers we went to eat and talk and catch up on the lat 12 months. Before long it was time to board our next flight via DaNang in Vietnam for Siem Reap. This time I was seated next to a newly married couple from Venezuela so were travelling SE Asia for their honeymoon. It was fascinating talking to them, they had left their own country, as it was too dangerous to live there at the moment, to work in Mexico, but hoped that they would be able to return after the next elections in 2019. Both highfliers it seemed as though their travels included staying at the best hotels in each destination.
As we flew in Siem Reap it was obvious that they had not had much rain during the wet season - was it waiting for me? Instead of flying over an ocean like lake there was only scattered areas of water lying, but as we descended into Siem Reap the storm clouds burst, and there was an amazing lightning show and thunder claps. It didn't take long to get my visa, luggage and clear security or find my tuk tuk driver, someone I knew from last year and be on our way. However, before we left the airport I made him open up the tuk as I wanted to see what was happening on our journey. Luckily for me the rain lessened, but the lightning display continued in its full glory.
I was welcomed back to Bou Savy like a long lost friend and was soon talking to some Globalteer volunteers who are staying, although invited out for dinner I declined and stayed to sort myself out, shower and sleep. I had requested the room I had last year and was very pleased when I was taken to it again. I don't think it has changed and felt at home immediately that I was in it.
Thursday 2 October
After a reasonable night's sleep I got up to face a new day of discovery and visit to Grace House. A leisurely breakfast overlooking the new pool and then a walk to rent a bike from the lady I have used for the last 3 years. Another great welcome there, a good bike found for me, price agreed and I was off to explore, visit and shop - a coffee pot and coffee essential for my well being. It was great having the freedom again to cycle on such a beautiful day, although very hot, the cycling did generate its own cooling breeze - effective until you stop and then suddenly you are drenched in sweat.
I managed to arrive at G House in time to join them for a cup of iced coffee, much needed and enjoyed. It was great to see everyone again, but missed the morning kids as they had already left. The tour of the site and seeing the new development was wonderful - a home to house 5 or 6 disabled children who would only be left alone in a corner at home and ignored, as they cannot contribute or help towards feeding the family and people believe that their disability is caused by something they have done wrong in a past life. By 3 o'clock I was fading rapidly and needed a sleep, so after shopping returned home, showered and slept, just managing to wake 20 mins before I was supposed to meet Bridget, Alan and Jill for dinner. The shower and walk managed to wake me sufficiently to walk into town and dinner at Viva, but I did take a tuk back afterwards.
Friday 3 Oct
After a good night's sleep and breakfast I'm raring to go - another beautiful morning and soon I'm going to cycle out to G H to prepare some work for Monday.
Have a good weekend everyone and take care, lov to all, J
Heather Wow, you sound like a travelogue. Glad everything is going well Enjoy