Toodle Pip!

September 26th 2009
Published: September 27th 2009
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Yay! Finally the big day arrived and I, complete with very heavy backpack (where did all that extra stuff come from) was able to set off. Things went swimmingly until oh, about Heathrow. Then it all went a little pear shaped. I had, much to my great delight secured a window seat for the journey to Bangkok. I was therefor more than a little annoyed to be greated by an anxious looking man asking I would mind swapping my (much coveted) window seat with the one his newly wedded wife held (which was incidentally situated in the arse end of nowhere).

Well, I did mind as it happens, I minded very much indeed.
For a fleeting second I considered demanding sight of their marriage certificate as proof of her greater claim before agreeing to the swap. However, good nature and an ever ready guilt conscience won out and smiling through gritted teeth I graciously (I hope!) gave up my seat.

It should follow therefor that I sat basking in a halo of good feeling for the rest of my trip, but no. Hemmed between two gentlemen with absolutely no concept of personal space I quickly discovered that the 3 other potential swappees had declined the offer to swap prior to my acceptance, and I sat for the entire trip royally cursing my two newly wedded nemesis'.

Still, I made it in one piece which (for me at least) is unusual and even bagged not only a window seat from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, but an entire row to myself.

Am very pleased with my hotel. Basic, but chock full of charm and ambiance. The staff are super friendly and (quell surprise) I have no complaints to offer, other than I found it slightly embarassing to find myslef greeted by several diners as I made my way from my room to the shower first morning quite resplendent in my (not inconsiderably) flamboyant pyjamas. Lesson learned there I can tell you, get dressed and then shower is now the order of the day.

First day and I was up bright and early for my eagerly awaited trip to Phnom Tamao Wildlife rescue centre. Flagged down a moto driver (man on scooter), or rather he flagged me down. Anyhow, it was a poor match as neither he nor I had the remotest idea where my destination was located. Nothing daunted though, and determined not to lose a fare the young man simply delegated me map reader and navigator and sped off. Ye Gods, if ever there was anyone less suited to navigating it must be me. Not only did I not know where I was going, but I had no idea where the blazes I was at any given moment either. Assuming an air of supreme confidence however, I gaily tapped the chap on the shoulder whenever I felt it may be a suitable moment for a change in direction. Suprisingly (for me as well as those of you familiar with my directionally challenged status) we made it there with but only one stop for help, whereby at least 6 people gather round my quite rubbish map (Lonely Planet assure me it's the best out there, I contend they're talking out of their whatsits!) and discovered we should have taken the last left. Cue suicidal u turn and weaving through oncomming traffic before finally arriving. Grateful to have made it I paid the chap twice the going rate for the trip and waved him off.

The trip to Phnom Tamao was incredible. Animals from all over Cambodia are rescued and rehabilitated here before being released when possible. Those who cannot be released are kept on indefinately. Our guide was fantastic, she clearly loved the animals and knew them well. I have to say she pretty much made the day. For lunch we all piled onto a stilted platform and helped ourselves to some very delisciuos food. Then, as penance for our enjoyment we were forced (well, ok invited) to chew upon the bettle nut. A local stimulant I am assured, but quite revolting and caused nothing more than a bad taste and a slight tingling in my mouth. Then it was time to swing in a hammock as lunch was digested. Swing in a hammock for everyone other than I that is.

Alas I, not being quite as slender and svelt as your average Cambodian, merely mamaged to lay in said hammock with buttocks frimly planted on the ground beneath me. Humiliating? Just a little, but I console myself with the thought that I brought great joy and laughter to each and every person around me.

After lunch it was time for the highlight of the day. Watching the elephants bathe. We were accompanied by two ele's: Lucky and Chhouk. Chhouk is the baby elephant with the prostetic limb, he lost his foot after he was caught in a poachers trap. His current limb has improved his mobility no end but he will continue to need new ones as he grows. He had great fun rolling in the pool whereas Lucky was not so keen on water and kept puting her trunk out for kisses (achieved by gently blowing down her trunk fortunately).

Meeting the tigers was phenominal, allowed into their home we were stood but two foot from each cage (something that would never be allowed at home for health and safety reasons) as the tigers eyed us in turn, possibly weighing up our luncheon potential.

Arriving home exhausted but happy I had just time for one more disaterous ride. This time my mode of choice was a tuk tuk, and confident this time I had a driver who knew where I was going I simply sat back and enjoyed the ride. Phnom Penh is chaotic, dirty (seems there are people dedicated to packing rubbish into bags, and then others dedicated to comming in at the back of them and opening said bags
Lunch cooking area and similar stilted platformsLunch cooking area and similar stilted platformsLunch cooking area and similar stilted platforms

And no, I have no photo's of my hammok episode, so don''t ask!
all over the pavement) and smelly. But infinitely charming. Not least because the people are just so darned friendly.

Anyway, it was becuase of the lovely nature of these people that I had not the heart to tell the driver he'd delivered me to the wrong address. I knew where I was though and it was only two blocks from my hotel (according to the map!) so I set off walking, and walking, and walking, and (yep! you guessed it) walking. Many, many blocks and still no sign of my ever ellusive hotel. I found it eventually, courtesy of yet another tuk tuk driver and upon further investigation it turns out I had indeed been but two blocks away at teh start, I just should have walked East instead of North.

It is now Sunday and I have had a rather sombre day at Toul Sleng which I'll write about later as this computer is too slow and my patience has gone. Tomorrow I leave, not sure where to yet but no doubt they'll have net access so I can keep you all enthralled with my adventures (which to date appear to equate to getting lost, getting found and getting lost again, hmmmm will try to achieve somthing of interest prior to my next installment).

PS Why the photo's of Simon and Pipa? Simple really, am sure there will be times Í'm lonely, homesick, fed up etc. At those times I look forward to logging on here and consoling myself with the thought that things are far worse at home with the terrible twosome.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18



As close to Bambi as you'll get in Cambodia

This chap paid to feed fish to the otters. They were hillarious, five of them lined up arms stretched through the fence like little orphan olivers.

She loved kisses

You can see Chhouk's prosthetic limb on this quite nicely
Lunch cooking area and similar stilted platformsLunch cooking area and similar stilted platforms
Lunch cooking area and similar stilted platforms

Lucky was adept at sucking water from this tube and drinking, Chhouk just managed to quirt the water everywhere


I was two foot from that cage but had to switch flash off and so lost my zoom for some reason. Looks like I was a mile away according to this :(

27th September 2009

Glad you are haviing fun!
Good to see you got there ok and are having fun and not missing home at all. You wonderful dog pooped on the table leg yesterday resulting in me blocking the toilet and having to wash her bed and my trousers!! Anway, keep enjoying yourself x
29th September 2009

Poor Pip, she must be missing me! (OK, OK, let me bask in my disolusions if you please) More fool you though is all I have to say on the matter.
29th September 2009

great photos!
Glad you arrived safely, kids enjoyed seeing the photos Alana and Chloe's favourite pic is the tiger and Xanders is the monkey. heehee youve discovered the joys of tuk tuk travel! Look forward to reading more of your adventures. Ali, Alana, Chloe and Xander x
29th September 2009

hope your having a ball,
just a wee quick note for you, you stay safe an i will be logging on regular to see what your up to, loving what you have wrote so far. lol you should write a book when you come back i think it would be so funny. well dinny worry about trying to answer i know you didnt want to be bothered with that an that is cool, but i just wanted you to know i was thinking about you, so once again jennifer you stay safe !!!!! an ENJOY xxxxxxx

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