One of the perks of working for an adventure travel company is… getting to go on an adventure! Our operations coordinator, Julie, arrived in Cambodia last week to do some research and development and to check out the newest in boutique hotels for our travelers. Here’s her first field report:
I made it to Cambodia! And I love Siem Reap!!!! Gosh I don't even know where to start.
Today I said goodbye to my guide and driver Sinat and Sypha. I really loved them both so much, and felt they were more friends or big brothers looking out for me.
I went to Angkor Wat for sunrise the first morning, and had a lovely catered breakfast by the moat in the woods with a table set for one (just me!) with table cloths and flowers. I had a delicious quiet breakfast of coffee, pineapple juice, fresh fruit, a delicious rice noodle, chicken and vegetable soup and croissants. A very enjoyable way to begin the day and what a stunning backdrop. I feel so lucky to be have a job that lets me experience something so unique.
I enjoyed my time at Tonle Sap Lake the best by far. It was a glimpse into a completely different world that left me reflecting on my own life and counting my blessings. It's such a different world and one I know our travelers will also treasure.
We boarded a boat and headed down the river to the lake. Along the way we stopped at a fishing village, got out of the boat and walked by the tiny huts made of sticks where entire families were hanging out and working, painting boats, drying beans, fishing, etc. As I understand it, they have limited the fishing months even further, and now people can only fish to feed their own family (a restriction that usually begins in the fall) was put in effect at the beginning of June. It was very hot so Sinat said something to a family in Kmer, and they kindly welcomed us into their shade to hang out with them. Very sweet -- nobody trying to sell me anything, just smiling and looking at me like I was an alien (but I guess I was!).
Along our walk, there was a another hut which doubled as a shop with baskets of fried crickets, bags of individually wrapped cookies and candies, and other local goodies. I gave Sinat a dollar and he purchased about 25-30 packages of cookies, which we offered to the children in the village. Most were very shy and did not swarm us -- we had to go to them, and when they realized what was going on, they shyly approached us. It was touching, but that’s what I love about our trips – seeing how people live, being able to walk among them, and making new friends.
Really, it was quite an experience. I can’t even put it into words except to say it was the most moving thus far, and meant the most to me. More to come shortly!
Julie Ganski, Operations Coordinator