Spring Break 2012

This post is long overdue. We went on vacation back in the beginning of April but I was so behind with all the moving prep going on around here that earlier posts needed to be added first. I’m pretty much caught up (on the blog that is–we won’t talk about the details of the move right now!!) so I can finally post about our trip.

I really wasn’t sure where to go to be honest. I haven’t traveled much in Asia so there were still so many countries to choose from yet when you factor in cost and traveling with a 4-year-old (even one who loves to travel and is up for almost everything) it made it more challenging. It needed to be relaxing, interesting for both me and Coco and affordable. After doing some research I found the perfect place: Cambodia!

To express how much this trip affected me is difficult. When I visit certain places I just get an overwhelming sense of calm and peace. Cambodia did this for me. Was it that more than 90% of Cambodians practice Buddhism? I found the people of Seim Reap to be so warm and humble and welcoming. Was it the temples and shrines that are all over the city? Maybe it was the visit to the orphanage in the floating village that affected me. I’m sure those all had something to do with along with the great food and, compared to Manila, great air quality and hardly any traffic! Seriously, if we had been living in Cambodia the past two years I doubt it’d be so easy for me to move back to the States.

We visited three temples, ate great food, relaxed by the pool, went to a market, bought some art, went off-roading and watched a cultural show. I think I took close to 1,000 pictures on so they will be broken up into different posts or this one will be way too long!

We arrived late at night and let me tell you that was some drama! Stepping off the plane into the hottest weather I have ever experienced (105 degrees F at night maybe?!) was a shock but the beauty of the airport was immediately calming. It was gorgeous! I’m not kidding. I was too stunned by the heat to get out my camera unfortunately. You can buy a tourist visa at the airport and that was my plan. But when we arrived and I stopped by the ATM I realized I had left my bank card at home! Panic ensued! Actually, I was quite calm considering on the outside but on the inside I was freaking out! My friend J was on the plane but she had paid extra for a seat in the front of the plane so she was through immigration and on her way to her hotel before it dawned on me I could just borrow money from her. I shared the situation with the immigration officer but he was not sympathetic. “Next!” he shouted. I did get him to agree to watch our bags while I tried in vain to find the other co-worker I had seen on the plane. No such luck. After sharing our story with the customs official (“You came her with no money?!”) I realized I did have my Manila bank card and decided to give it a try. Thankfully it worked and shortly thereafter we arrived at the hotel. Man, that was not fun and more than ever I was ready to relax and enjoy our vacation.

The next morning, after Coco’s Easter egg hunt, we had a nice breakfast in the hotel dining room and then went off in search of souvenirs.

IMG_6703 IMG_6704IMG_6715 IMG_6712
We loved their tuk-tuks! Very inexpensive and very comfortable even in the extreme heat.IMG_6729 IMG_6718
A friend of mine suggested I bring a digital camera along for Coco to entertain herself at the temples. It was a fantastic idea. She was over the moon excited when I presented it to her! Look at that face! IMG_6749 IMG_6750 IMG_6752 The best part of giving your 4-year old a camera is now you can be in photos! Yay! IMG_6746 IMG_6745
I got some great gifts for family. The prices were great. Got myself a gorgeous skirt for $10.IMG_6758 IMG_6743 Later we went to our new hotel which we stayed at for the rest of the trip (the same one as J, coincidentally!) unpacked and called it an early night. We were told to go to the temples early in the morning to avoid the heat which also was great advice. More pics to come..

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