We said goodbye to Phom Penh and headed north. The town we were headed for is halfway between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. It can be anywhere from a 2 to a 4 hour drive. I think it took us around 3. It was fun trip. We did not know what to expect when we got there though. Apparently the hotel where the groups normally stayed was booked out by another group (yes from WA and I knew some of the people). One of the ICC children's villages is out here so they were there specifically to help with construction around the village itself. More on the village later though.
Back to the accommodation ... Tanya was forced to find somewhere else for us to stay and being such a big group was proving difficult. We were told that it was probably going to be a down grade to what we would have had as they only had 15 rooms available. This meant shearing. I chalked it up to part of the adventure.
Now back to the trip up. Like most countries, if you travel in Cambodia you will eventually come across an small area where you can break you journey to buy some food and or go to the toilet. We made one stop for a toilet and mum got really excited because they were selling lotus flower seed pods. The seeds are delicious. She bought some. Sopheavy was also in our van and she purchased them cooked. We shared them round for taste testing. They were so yummy. You can't say which is best because the cooked ones taste so different to the fresh raw ones. Sopheavy told us how her mother made a sticky rice dessert with the lotus seeds in it and how yummy it was.
The next stop was just our van as Sopheavy had promised the cooks at the children's village that she would bring some pineapples for them. We just so happened to stop at a place that I had stopped at in 2009. I was sooooo excited because I knew they sold deep fried spiders here. Would you believe that I was the only one who got out of the van to go for a walk while Sopheavy bargained for pineapples.
I have no idea what bird this is.
And the tarantulas. According to Tanya a leg tastes like a potato chip ... not eating potato chips again
A small section of the stop
Back under way Sopheavy produced some Sugar palm fruit for us all to try and she also found some sticky rice dessert like her mother made.
Sopheavy eating the sugar palm fruit
Inside these little packages is sweetened (not overly) sticky rice with lotus flower seeds. I have also placed some lotus flower seeds on the seat next to them for the photo. The sticky rise was delicious. It was the best thing I have tasted in Cambodia to date, and I have had some yummy food here.
We finally arrive at our accommodation which turns out to be a resort with a small theme park attached to it. The main area for accommodation was on an island in the middle of a man made lake (I think it was man made). The accommodation was absolutely gorgeous. We even had a pool right outside our door. From our accommodation we could look over the lake to the theme Park and the "Mushrooms."
Some of the larger rooms had space for two extra beds so there were rooms with 5 people in it. Apparently other rooms were actually day rooms (sun rooms) that had no air con or fans, no toilet or bathroom. Two of the girls were in one of these by the pool. We told them they were welcome to use our bathroom for showers etc. Luckily there was a building that was open and well lit all night and it had toilets. Also lucky for us, due to mum's age, the fact that she had a cold and a cough and that I used a cpap, meant we had a small room to ourselves. There were two single beds and no room for any more.
I mentioned the mushrooms earlier. These are kinda of like day rooms as well I think but because they are over next to the theme park they had a shower and toilet. That was downstairs, upstairs was an open area with wide windows. They are termed the mushrooms because the room above is much larger than the room below. Some our team had to stay in these. Apparently the stairs up to the top room were narrow and as steep as a ladder (yes luggage had to get up there). There was no closed off privacy for the toilet and shower. If you came down the ladder and someone was on the loo (just close your eyes).
Tanya in the restaurant organising our rooms
Outside waiting to be shown where to go
Barely there for 10 minutes and already one of the guys has been in the pool and sun baking.
This room was gorgeous. (Not ours). Abigail and her family were in this one. To the left is the bathroom. The glass is covered in an underwater themed sticker and when you turn on a certain switch, it starts a real water fall. This on the bedroom side of the glass and there is a water catcher at the bottom but it didn't do a good job. Two of the boys were in a sun room that went out over the water. Lucky for them there was an outside toilet.
After unpacking we headed to the ICC Children's Village for lunch. We were to have all our dinners here and lunches would be provided for us as well by the cooks. I sponsor a little girl who is at this Village and kept trying to find her but she was in school so I couldn't see her. When I told Tanya who she was, Tanya told me that she is so gorgeous and that everyone knew her. I was so nervous about meeting her. Kids in Cambodia seem to be afraid of me. I think it is because of my weight which means wealth in Cambodia and not many wealthy people associate with the poor. I think the kids found me fascinating but not quite game to come up to me like they did others. Even when I approached them, I only won them over with taking photos.
That afternoon was spent back at the resort and in the pool. We noticed that there was also a flying fox across the lake so a group went and had some fun on that. I would have gone but I didn't feel comfortable walking around in my bathers like the others so I stayed back. Abigail promised she would come with me again the next night.
That evening we went back to the village for dinner. The sunset along the way was spectacular and dotted with palm trees. I really wished I could ask the driver to stop so I could take a photo but didn't want to hold anyone up.
There were some kids hanging around but again I did not see my little girl. I was told I would definitely see her at church the next day.
Where we ate and the food was delicious. Oh that is Kate poking out her tongue.
our lovely cooks for the next couple of days.