Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Coming to Cambodia

March 17, 2013

Matt and I woke up after two hours of sleep to the Thai Airways "we're landing" theme song.  The lights came on and the windows opened up and we saw Bangkok, Thailand below us.  Matt wasn't feeling tip-top while we were at the Chennai airport, and when I woke up, I realized that it must have been something we both had eaten.  Now was not the time for such things, but there was no stopping it.

Because of our delay, the plane was touching down with 15 minutes to our next plane's boarding time.  We crossed our fingers hoping we could make our connection over to Phnom Penh, and didn't need the additional delay of not feeling well.

After landing, we ran through the airport and finally got to our terminal on the other side of the Bangkok airport.  We had to go through security again to get up to the gates, so we rushed a little which got Matt caught with the camera.  Highly suspicious materials surround that camera, and it took extra inspection time.  He was finally freed, so we ran to make it to our gate.

The people had already boarded, and we had 20 minutes until the flight took off, so we knew we had 10 minutes until the gate closed.  It was emergency, though.  There needed to be a bathroom stop.  We sent Mouhsine ahead thinking that worst case scenario, he could collect the stoves and our luggage on the other side.  We ran to through the gate and onto the bus just in time for the doors to close and take us to the plane.  We were the last of ten people to get on the flight, and once we sat down we watched them load our bags on the plane.  We were so thankful to see those bags through the window.

We crashed out on the flight and napped after having our egg and mayo sandwiches.  Mouhsine came over to check on us, and said that he must have also eaten what we ate.  Bad news bears for our crew.  We ended up sitting next to a man he knew that was also headed to the conference.  We had a nice short chat during egg sandwich time.

We woke up again in Phnom Penh, and the three of us made our way to the restrooms in the visa area and hung out for a bit.  Oh belly, belly, belly.  Bad news bears.  Mega-town.

We gained back some of our strength and didn't have a line to get our Cambodian visas, so that was nice.  We found our stoves and camera gear going around and around on the luggage carousel, and went outside to find a SIM card for our little cell phone.  $5 for two hours worth of calling to the US and free calls to other cell phones on the Smart Mobile network.  Not too shabby.

We found a taxi that took us to the Phnom Penh hotel, and realized that we weren't in India anymore.  Our accommodations were a million times better than Youth Camp.  Phnom Penh hotel is one of the fanciest hotels in the Phnom Penh area.  We got in on Mouhsine's reservation. He's being treated by the conference since he's one of the panelists, so the three of us are sharing a room in this fancy place.  He said he didn't mind, and we certainly don't mind, so we decided that we were all family now.  That's now how he introduces us to his other stove friends and colleagues.

The three of us decided to go and find some lunch after settling in.  We walked around the side of the hotel down a side street and found a little outdoor restaurant in the Muslim part of town.  The women all had their heads covered, but their outdoor pots and grills had some tasty smelling food.  No one there spoke english, so we did the point method to choose out our food items.  I got some noodle stir fry with rice.  Matt got an egg dish and Mouhsine some dried fish with his rice.  They braved the iced tea on the table, and I went with the water bottle in my backpack.  After our stint this morning, I was going to be extra careful on my digestive system.

We finished up lunch and headed back to our hotel room for a nap.  It felt amazing!  We also opted for a dip in the pool and a shower.  This is the life, for sure.  We got to check our e-mails and play on the internet, and then headed for dinner.  Our day was full of sleeping and eating, and it was wonderful.  We had a little bit of jet lag, so we needed it.

Dinner was at the Paris Pho Restaurant where they had massive binders with all pictures for the menu.  We flipped through the pages and got some Pho and spring rolls.  It was St. Patty's day, so we sprung for some Tiger beers.  The cold beer tasted good on the hot, humid night.  Everything was delicious, and we all went to bed in our real beds on our real pillows in the air conditioned room with a smile on our faces.  What a day.  I could get used to this place.