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Oct 18, 2017
A Whole Year!
It was humbling last week to realize that it's been one more orbit around the sun since my game-changing trip to Cambodia.
Humbling, because I had planned on writing several more posts about my trip at the time, but failed. Game-changing, because I learned a lot about myself on the trip.
In honor of failing and getting back up again, I thought I'd write a post or two over the next couple of weeks about some of my adventures in Cambodia.
AND - I want to announce a trip - open to anyone (until it fills up) - that I'm taking to Ecuador! (Details here)
But, back to Cambodia
I'd been in Phnom Penh since late Monday night exploring and catching up with my friend, Tarek, and his girlfriend, Dominique.
Friday morning, Tarek and I took a 5-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap arriving around 3 in the afternoon, too late to go out to the temple ruins.
After getting settled, we walked into town. It was dirty and hot as we dodged muddy puddles along the side of the road.
We sat down outside under the overhang of a restaurant, blessing the ceiling fans that spun lazily overhead. We had small plates of garlic prawns and olives washed down with Angkor beer. It tasted divine. We sat for a couple of hours, too hot and lazy to get up and move. We discussed life, past and present, and delved into some interesting and different philosophical questions.
When we finally got up, it felt good to walk around. The sun was down, and we strolled by the marketplace. I'm usually an adventurous eater, but there were definitely some foods I passed up while in Cambodia - snakes on a stick and fried tarantula being two of them.
Fried tarantulas and snakes on a stick - not my cup of tea!
When we got back to the hotel, Tarek realized he had forgotten his herb, so we caught a tuk-tuk over to a reggae bar that he'd been to before. We sat on bar stools talking to the owner, Pierre, discussing our best bet for replacing the forgotten wares.
I was startled when a little cat jumped up on the bar next to me and started preening itself. So cute!
I had assumed cannabis was legal in Cambodia, because there are pizza places all over called "Happy Pizza," and "Ecstatic Pizza," and Tarek explained that it was because the pizza boasted weed as one of the toppings. You could order the "Depressed," (no weed), the "Happy," (some weed) or the "Extra Happy," (lots of weed). Tarek then told me it's not legal, but no one seems to care much.
Pierre gave us the name of a bar where he thought we might have some luck. Our tuk-tuk driver, Sni, didn't recognize the name of the bar, but helped us look for it. After driving up and down the dirt strip several times, we couldn't find it among the myriad restaurants, shops, and bars.
Tarek was hoping for the happy without the pizza. Finally, he decided to go into Ecstatic Pizza to see if he could get some happy on the side.
I sat in the tuk-tuk while Tarek went into the pizza shop, and then Sni pointed and started laughing. He leaned back and said,"Look." I started laughing too. There, right next to the pizza place, was the bar we'd been searching for. It was set back from the road and hard to see. We sat laughing as we watched Tarek sitting in the pizza place, too late to enlighten him of our discovery.
A few minutes later, he emerged victorious, holding his baggie of happy. When we pointed out the bar, he had a good laugh too.
We went back and hung out with Pierre and his wife. They talked about how Cambodia gets in your blood, "Oh ya," Pierre said. "People tell ya they're here for a visit and five years later, they're still here!"
I believe it.
We left the bar after saying our good-byes and went to find some food.
We sat down outside on some rickety plastic chairs at tables hung with plastic tablecloths at one of the many little establishments that dot the street. We ordered some morning glory greens, spring rolls, and strips of beef. We could see the women making the food in a little tent-like area. It took a while for the food to come, but it was well worth the wait.
It had been a long languid day of traveling, socializing, eating, and sipping beer, and I was done in for the day. I had to be up early to meet Sni who was going to drive me by tuk-tuk out to Angkor Wat while Tarek stayed in Siem Reap. We headed back to the hotel so I could get some sleep in preparation for my first day out at the Temples - I couldn't wait!
Abrupt change here...
As I mentioned, I'm excited to announce that my friend, Jessie (she's a luxury travel advisor), has put together a trip to Ecuador! She's leading the way, and yours truly will be there to help you get the best travel photos you've ever had.
This is a 7-night epic trip of a lifetime, and Jessie has put it together for far less than I could have imagined.
We'll spend the first couple of days in Quito where we'll stay in one of Travel + Leisure's best rated hotels, which looks breathtaking. We'll discover Quito's Colonial Quarter that is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. We'll even stand on the Equatorial Monument that marks the exact middle of the world!
From there, we'll move on to Mashpi Lodge - up in the cloud forest. Mashpi is a 3200-acre conservation property that forms part of the Ecuadorian Choco Rainforest. It's one of the world's greatest biodiversity hotspots. We'll have lots of options to go on guided hikes, see waterfalls, bird watch, and (my favorite), get great photographs!
We'll spend the last couple of days at Hacienda Zuleta - a working farm where we'll experience life in the Andes. They offer horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and more.
When I saw this itinerary and took a look at the places we'll be going, I can't tell you how excited I got for this trip. And I have to wait until May!
If you're interested in joining us May 26 through June 2, 2018, shoot me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jessie (email@example.com) an email and we'll be happy to send you all the details.
See you between the raindrops!
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