10 July 2015

Lessons Learned in Cambodia

Because I've already published a post about the more serious side of our trip to Cambodia, I thought I'd write a little about the more flippant, lighthearted lessons from the week:

Mekong Angkor Palace Hotel

Mekong Angkor Palace Hotel

1. I learned that our family is easily impressed by hotels.

We were immensely excited by the awesomeness of Mekong Angkor Palace Hotel--our beds were made and our bathrooms cleaned everyday? We got to eat breakfast everyday without having to cook it ourselves and clean up afterwards? Any problems, like the shower that didn't work and the air conditioner that didn't work--were fixed without us having to hire and pay a repairman ourselves? This is so cool! This is incredible!

That's our reaction to staying in a hotel. We were both amused and confused when we read the guestbook and found a number of guests who signed out had written something to the tune of.

"Please include more English dishes in the breakfast for people who don't enjoy Asian food."

"Wifi is weak. No cold water. Pool has too many chemicals. Breakfast is the same every day, variety would be nice."

"The staff is friendly but there is lots of room for improvement."

Our stay was completely undisturbed by any of the aforementioned problems--we thought it was incredibly awesome to stay in a real hotel instead of a YMCA dormitory, so we came up with a plan that every single one of us was going to write really positive and appreciative notes in the guestbook.

We did. Except for Angel. I was unable to stop him from writing: "I had a bit of a toothache during my visit and I was really disappointed that the Mekong Angkor Palace Hotel did not have an in-house dentist to meet my medical needs."

Getting Gasoline in Siem Reap

2. I learned that you can buy gas for your motorbike from a streetside stand where the gasoline is stored in little glass bottles.

Bat at the Royal Gardens in Siem Reap

3. I learned that bats can fly in the middle of the day.

Somehow, in childhood, when the idea of bats being nocturnal was drilled into me, it never occurred to me that someday, I'd be strolling along in the Royal Gardens in Siem Reap and would look up into giant trees filled with large bats, all of which were rather active and noisy and were flying about from one tree to the next. If I hadn't worn my glasses on that outing, I probably would still be convinced that the bats were merely birds, and that my family was just trying to trick me into thinking they were bats. In the photo, you can see that the trees are full of them!

4. I learned that it takes more arm strength that I possess in order to properly shoot an arrow.

Nope, I didn't hit the target, not even once. I was usually about 15 feet short. The only people in our group who hit the target were Dad, Shannon, and Angel. Shannon and Dad both came within half an inch of the bright red bulls-eye. We're blaming their prowess on some prior experience with bow hunting during deer season in Michigan.

5. There's not much funnier than watching little Sarah get the fish massage she'd eagerly waited for the whole week. 

The innocence of youth is just the best, isn't it? Beauty School beat out of me any possible desire to stick my feet into a pool full of fish and other people's feet in the pursuit of relaxation and beauty. Sarah, on the other hand, giggled and chatted with the fish themselves for the entire hour she spent dipping her toes in the pool.

6. I learned that, according to this Before Conservation/After Conservation sign...conservation is practically miraculous. 

I still don't really understand how they took that whole jumble of rocks and turned it back into a building. I'm blaming on the fact that I went with the Mandarin Chinese major instead of the Engineering major.

Have you ever visited Cambodia? What did you learn there?
The Boutelle Family said...

I loved reading these! Sounds like such an amazing trip!

Julianne said...

This is great! I love your reply comments to the hotel :) Some people just can't be pleased!!

Suzanne said...

Ha! Angel is hilarious.

Idk on the bats though. Not cool.

My husband has wanted one of those fish pedicures forever. Just the idea grosses me out.

This looks like such an awesome vacation.


M said...

I would probably fair just about the same with the bow and arrow. It's SO much harder than it looks. Even though it's a little weird, I think I'd have to try the fish bath. It would be a fun story to tell at the very least... said...

Wow! Cambodia just landed a spot on my travel bucket list. It looks like you and your family had a marvelous time. I've personally found that a few of the most helpful secrets to enjoying international travel is going with the flow, appreciating the little things, and keeping a sense of humor! And you've displayed all three. :-)

Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

Hahahahaha! That guestbook signing... people are unbelievable. Also, I don't care when bats fly-- they are creepy, flying, eating, or hanging upside-down.

AwesomelyOZ said...

That sounds like a wonderful trip! Hahaha the stuff people complain about " the wifi is weak" well doh you're in Cambodia! I took archery in high school - can I hit a target any better than you? Probably not. It does take great strength, focus, and precision to get anywhere near the target though. Kudos Clint on the Avengers for his focus. Haha :) Have a great weekend and glad you all had a great time! -Iva

Tayler Morrell said...

This is why I want to travel!

Iryna said...

I love these travel posts. I've never been in Asia, but one of my parent's co-worker absolutely adores Asia. I'm also surprised that you can see bats int he middle of the day. I would be intimidated:) Looks like a fun time you had there.

Unknown said...

what a beautiful experience. thank you stopping by my blog, so glad i found this space.

Jess Loves This Life said...

Haha, my husband and I are also always super impressed by hotels! We just stayed at one that had similar poor reviews and when we got there we were literally like "what is everyone even talking about? this place is awesome!". We don't use AC at home and we don't have a pool or a king sized bed soooo, hotels are our favorites always! Looks like you had such a great trip!

Jennifer Prod said...

how people handle hotels and their staff says so much about them! i think people are hyper-aware they're spending time/money on the hotel, and so they either 1) want everything to be perfect and notice what's not; or 2) are so so so thankful for to be spoiled for a little bit :)

Laura Darling said...

I've never been but it sounds like quite a place! I can't get over gasoline in little glass bottles!

Natalie B. said...

I've never been but, wow, I also thought bats only came out at night. They're all over my apartment complex and it's creepy. Ha! Yes, it takes quite a bit of strength to shoot an arrow with a compound bow. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I loved these, I totally know what glass bottles you're talking about. Those old pepsi bottles! I was impressed by that picture of your hotel too, haha.