Day 19 November 2nd- Our last day at the building project, what a surreal feeling. We get there and the house is looking amazing, the 3 walls are up and all we needed to do is finish the floors and apply termite paint then clean up and we prepared for the Buddha blessing ceremony. It was a hard day off work and an even harder day of emotions. The family is just so overwhelmed with our generosity and I felt great being able to donate so much myself with help from friends and family. Giving and helping those that need it so much really gets into your heart and soul. Once the house was ready we had the blessing ceremony. What a great experience to be part of such a cultural ritual with the family, the Buddhas and the bamboo team. It was quite a draining day both physically and emotionally. Saying goodbye to the family at the end of the day really tugged at my heart but I know now with our help they will live a much better life!
An amazing day completing the house and saying goodbye to the wonderful family.
1 November 2017
Day 18th November 1st - Off we go again early morning to building project. We get there and are greeted by family and we get busy to work. The frame is ready to put up so that gets done by us all and it looks great. We finish off the sanding and get working in nailing down the floor. The house is coming together....roof is on and walls are next. Tomorrow is our last day at the site...look forward to seeing it mostly done. We bought them a bycicle for transportation and the family was just so thankful...felt breath to see their faces! Another hard day over we headed back for a cocktail and swim at the hotel. Got ready and headed into town on our tuk tuk for a well deserved foot massage which was amazing. Charles and I then headed to a great authentic Cambodian restaurant for a fabulous dinner. A great day overall...cant believe this wonderful adventure is soon coming to an end.
Day 17th Oct 31st- A full day of working at the house bldg project. Early morning head out at 730am and we are created at the site by the family and their workers. We get busy prepping all the wood needed for the floors, frame, stairs and we did holes and put together nail chain etc etc. We work hard in the heat and feel it but it also feels great so be doing something amazing for this young deserving family so we all push through. During our lunch break we went shopping to buy them all new home supplies, when we returned we have them all the new stuff and they were overwhelmed and started crying from their gratitude. It felt so good to see how happy we made them. We worked hard all afternoon then headed back to hotel but I still had to get stuff done. I headed out with Vireak our guide to buy big bags of rice as my donation to the village school. Got it done and delivered and the school was very grateful felt so good! Evening was good with dinner and drinks them an early night.
Amazing cambodian dinner at Chanrey Tree restaurant
Working hard at house site, had lunch delivered then presented family with their bike gift.
31 October 2017
Oct 30th continued- after the school visit and the tour of the slums we had an delicious lunch at the teaching restaurant which is part of the New Hope school. Once lunch was done we finally headed to our development project of building a house for a poor family. We met the family and got to work. They are just so overwhelmed with the generosity they are getting from us doing this for them. The work is hard but very rewarding. We were done around 4pm headed back to hotel for a swim and cocktails which was well deserved. It is hard doing such difficult manual labour in this heat but it does make me feel good right in the heart and soul. After that day I needed a massage so we headed in town and for a whole $5 I got the best massage! Off to dinner we went, finally had a good bottle of wine some food then back to hotel to get some sleep before another bust day. Which I was feeling better, this cold is killing me but I am pushing through...onto day 17!
Working hard a building site
30 October 2017
Day 16 Oct 30th- Weekend over so back to work today. Starting our new project but first we headed to the village school Bamboo support where some in our group are teaching. It was quite an eye opener to see how these people live and how grateful the kids and parents ate to be able to get this free education from New Hope school to teach them in English and provide food and other things they need to live. Kids going to this school all live in the slum area which we visited and it was heart breaking. I cannot believe they have to live in those conditions but yet they are all so happy and appreciative of all they have. We take so much for granted in the western world, it is sad and my heart broke for those people. We had a group of kids walking with us through our tour of the village so I decided to buy them all ice cream for about 15 Kids, it cost me nothing but to them it was an amazing treat and it made me feel good. Wish I could do more, with my donations I did try by providing rice.
Day 15 Oct 29th continued. After we got back to hotel we all headed to the pool for a well deserved swim and cocktail. Sometimes I still can't believe I'm here...it feels so unreal that I am part of this experience and I'm doing things I would never have done before. I am so glad Charles is here because he has really made a difference for me since getting to know other women is always hard but there are a few good gals! After a couple of cocktails I had to go lay down as I am getting sick...what a pain to deal with a cold right now I just feel like crap. We all met up a 545pm with me not feeling much better bit I pushed through...we had dinner at hotel which was pretty good then a few of us with our leader went to the Cambodian circus show. It was pretty good and entertaining even though I was feeling like crap and just wanted to be in my bed. After the show we all headed back for a good night's rest! Another great day on my Asian adventure.
Amazing lunch at the school, family we are building home for then back at hotel enjoying well deserved cocktail and pool
New Hope school, slum village and amazing kids
29 October 2017
Day 15 Oct. 29th Amazing day...up at 4am to head out to Angkor wat, what a thrill to see this wonder of the world. We arrived there just after 5am got tickets then took the tuk tuks to Angkor wat to get ready to watch the sunrise. Lots of people so had to push in to get the right pics. Just breathtaking and such a surreal feeling to be at this place that had disappeared from the world after abandoned by the King only to be rediscovered centuries later through the jungle. The place is massive and they still work to recover a lot of it. Sunrise was beautiful then we walked all through Angkor wat then headed to Bayon temple of the smiling faces, again amazing to see these artifacts from so many years ago that stood for so much. Our final temple was Tomb raiders temple where the movie was filmed....pretty cool seeing sites that were in the movie and the great history behind it all. We finally head back to hotel after a long morning in the heat....feeling blessed to have seen these places
Dinner and Cambodian circus
Bayon temple and tomb raider temple
Angkor wat visit
28 October 2017
Day 14 continued Dinner was delicious...hosted by Bamboo and Charles and I had a pitcher of margaritas for only $8. After dinner we walked the streets of the night market and pub streets....what a crazy place! So much shopping so much food so many people and they even have bar carts in the street with loud music and cheap drinks just insane! Love it hear so far....so many amazing things to see I feel so lucky to be able to see it all. In bed early tonight as tomorrow morning we have to be ready to head out at 430am for Angkor wat to see the sunset then tour the temples....a long day but it will be amazing!
Day 14 Up early for breakfast at 7am so we could all get ready to head for Cambodia. In our mini van took about 1.5hrs from Surin to get to the Cambodia border. The process is long at the border, for 23 of us took over an hour to get the visa and approved to cross. Back onto a nice coach bus for the 3 hr drive to Siem Reap. Arrived close to hotel but had to get off bus and jump into a tuk tuk that took for of us in each to hotel down the street. Arrived at Karma hotel a Bamboo place which is great. Nice rooms, great pool, good drinks and fabulous people. We all unpacked, had some pool and drink time then got ready to head into town in our tuk tuks. The roads are horrible and the driving crazy, I think I already have whiplash lol. It is definitely a new check mark off the new experience list! We go to Bamboo's cafe called Fat panda for orientation then after we head to dinner as a group treated by Bamboo. Omg the streets of Siem Reap are crazy!
Visiting Fat panda cafe and downtown Siem Reap for dinner and drinks
Getting on the tuk tuk to head to town
Leaving Thailand, going thru the border to Cambodia and arriving at our hotel. Great place and I got a room to myself!
27 October 2017
Day 13 Well today is my last day in the elephant village and all I can say is wow what an amazing experience. I am ready to get back to some civilized facilities such as a real shower and flushing toilet but I will take all that I have done and lock it in my heart forever. We started the day with some light work around the homestay then went to the river for some kayaking and swim. We then headed back to the homestay to pack up have lunch and boarded the bus to head back to Surin. First we stopped at the Silk village....amazing how these talented woman make this beautiful silk all by hand truly a skill. Finally got back to hotel in Surin around 330pm Friday October 27th and checked into our rooms. What a glorious feeling to have a room with a real bed a hot shower and a flushing toilet! I took a long shower and relaxed for a while before we headed to the night market for yet another amazing Thai meal. Back in my room resting then tomorrow off to Cambodia for the next adventure!
Thai dinner at the night market back in Surin
Kayaking and our stop at the Silk village
26 October 2017
Day 12 Well another day where words cannot explain the emotions I am feeling. I did this trip to do something for myself for once, get out of my comfort zone and really experience life while giving back and it has been all that so far and so much more. Today I got in the little Thai kitchen at our homestay and made frittatas for my group....they loved it and I loved being in the kitchen again. After breakfast we went back out into the field to cut bamboo grass to feed our elephants then plant bamboo stems in another field to grow again....it was tough work in the heat but very rewarding. After our delicious lunch it was time to walk our elephants to the river for a swim again. A 6 km walk in the scorching heat but such a surreal experience....I had to say goodbye to my elephant Nam Kip after our walk swim and it brought tears to my eyes as I will miss these amazing creatures. The joy and the tug to my heart they have brought me these last few days is unexplainable. Truly a blessing.
My beautiful elephant and all the others on our last walk and swim with them....truly an unbelievable experience
25 October 2017
Day 11 continued....well the idiot I am decided to go to the washroom downstairs in the middle of the night without my flashlight and yes I fell and smashed my toes into the cement ugh! It wasn't too painful this morning but by midday they were throbbing and swollen. It affected my activities not able to do the Bamboo planting so I felt terrible but the team was all very supportive. We visited the elephant cemetery and poop paper project....yes elephant poop paper amazing! Got some poop paper souvenirs to take home of course. Had another homemade delicious lunch then I rested my foot for the afternoon while the rest worked. Before dinner we went to the street market got some yummy snacks and I got a bunch of fresh veggies so will make my team frittatas in the morning for breakfast...miss being in the kitchen lol. After the market we had a great dinner of sour soup with chicken over Jasmine rice and spring rolls, I'm in heaven! Chilled for a bit but the bugs are really a pain tonight
Day 11-I need to say that I really wasn't sure what this mission would be like or what I would be feeling. This is totally out of my comfort zone and just not things I could deal with at home. The beds are hard as a rock, the toilets have no running water and there are bugs of all kinds everywhere but I embracing it all and loving every minute of this journey. The people here are so kind and so welcoming always greeting you with a big smile on their face it just warms my heart. I decided to disconnect for the 5 days in the elephant village so this has been very freeing and good for my soul. Life is so precious and being here has made me appreciate everything I have and know that I can't take things for granted.
24 October 2017
Poop paper making
Day 10- Another amazing Day that just has no worlds to express. Started the day early....damn roasters around here don't know how to tell time lol so the first time I woke up was 3am then just floated in and out until 630am. Had a delicious thai chicken and rice soup for breakfast then we headed out for a hard day of work. First we stopped to visit the first 2 elephants that started with Bamboo, Bank and Wan Dee just amazing. The hard work came after and let me tell you it was damn hard for this old body of mine....we are building a pig pen at the school so the kids can have pork with their rice just so rewarding. We had to mix cement by hand, dig troughs and cut metal....it was tough my body hurts but all worth it. We then had another great lunch, rested for a bit before the most amazing afternoon ever. We met 20 elephants in our back yard, each picked one then spent the afternoon walking my elephant to the river and going for a swim....what a blessing! Evening was a great dinner!
My fabulous afternoon spent with my elephant how lucky am I
23 October 2017
Working hard at the school then back for lunch and down time
My morning visiting Bank and WanDee
Day 9 I'm not sure I have many words for this day besides overwhelmed! It started with an early breakfast in Surin which was an amazing Thai meal. We then all jumped in a very authentic Thai truck and rode in the back for almost 1.5 hrs to our elephant village. When I got here I can actually say I am blessed! The homestay I am in has a 7 month old elephant in our backyard, damn amazing! Once we got settled and set up our dorm style room we got changed and headed out for our first adventure. Dressed to the awful gills we headed out to cut bamboo for our precious elephants. It was hard work for 2 hours but we loved it. Back to homestay then we headed to visit an elephant and her baby...wow amazing but my heart hurt because I did not like the mother was on a short chain....hurt and made me sad even if explained to us. We had the baby elephant approach us so many times it was great while the money watched is....what an Ajax
Time to chill with some cold beer and a great dinner
Our day after working hard in the field we visited some elephants
My first delicious lunch at the homestay so damn good
The baby elephant right in our backyard at the homestay her name is Andra
Our home for the next 5 days at the elephant village
22 October 2017
On our way to the elephant village in Thai transport
Arrived around 530pm Sunday in Surin....a long bus ride but we made it. The hotel is much nicer and I scored and got my own room with 2 beds and a real shower, too bad it's for one night. After a nice shower Charles and I headed for a beer while we waited for the rest to meet up at 630pm to head for dinner. We went walking to the night market....an amazing experience and I had some excellent street food, just love eating here. Charles tried more bugs this time him and Vereak had a bad of grasshoppers how disgusting lol. Spent some time at the market then most of the group and Arm our leader went to a bar to have a couple of drinks and celebrate Arms birthday. Good bunch of people for the most part 😉 We headed back to hotel to get some rest and pack up for the morning to head to Elephant village. No wifi for next 4 days so posts will be delayed....it will be good to disconnect for a while and really embrace this adventure!
Having beers, our walk to the market and the great night market
21 October 2017
The hurry up and wait face, our bus for the day and my great hotel room in Surin
Day 8 Early morning up by 6am to get on a bus to Surin an 8 hr ride! It rained all night and I had another crappy night of sleep. Not sure why but just can't get good rest guess to excited of what's to come or could be the strange bed and the strange room mate but hey this is all part of the experience. On the bus an hour into the ride with Charles sitting next to me. Glad I met him great guy keeps me laughing and my drinking buddy lol. Just 7 more hours on this bus....are we there yet lol
Update it's now 12:15pm on Sunday bus stopped at Tesco mall for shopping and lunch...had a delicious curry soup with rice for only $2 and I am stuffed can't believe the prices. Just 3 more hours on this bus and we will arrive at our hotel in Surin. It is another beautiful and hot day out there!
Day 7 Today has been the hottest day yet! Started with a simple breakfast before our orientation with Bamboo at 9:30am. It took a while in the heat to go through our volunteer program then we got ready to head out for a day of touring. It was a hurry up and wait kind of day as they tried to get 20 people moving and some of these women are challenging. It is hectic around Bangkok as they prepare for the Kings funeral. ...so busy everywhere and such a hot and humid day. After 2 temples Charles and I decided to bail and head back to the hotel street for lunch drinks and the most amazing foot massage! Back to the room to cool off have a cold shower and get ready for dinner with Bamboo team. Dinner was delicious but now back in the room early so I can rest up for the long bus ride to Surin tomorrow to prepare for our work at the elephant village....can't wait!
The best part of the day....the most amazing foot massage!
More temple pics
Visit to the temple and in this scorching heat I had to climb 342 steps to the top of the temple!
20 October 2017
What a day...I made it to Bangkok and this place is insane! A little bit of an adjustment from the 5 star resort in phuket...a tiny room sharing with someone I never met and the shower is in the same area as the toilet and sink with no separation.yikes! This is what I signed up for and I look forward to the challenge. Met my Bamboo family tonight and all the volunteers in my group. A good bunch with many different personalities so it should be interesting. Tomorrow we have orientation then a day of sight seeing and getting to know each other before we venture off to the elephant village. Look forward to it all.
Charles eating a scorpion and me eating this amazing Thai dinner
The crazy streets of Bangkok where we are staying for 2 nights
Arrival in Bangkok
19 October 2017
Day 6 I am sitting here on my patio in Phuket reflecting on the last few days here. I still cannot believe I am in Asia and have been able to experience such world beauty. Today I leave Phuket and head to Bangkok to begin my volunteer journey. I am so excited for this next phase. Thanks to Phuket and the amazing people for a truly amazing time ❤👍
Day 5-WOW! I was just in awe today as I experienced things I always heard of and wished I could see now finally did just amazing! My speedboat and longhorn trip to the beautiful islands of Phi Phi, Maya bay, monkey island and bamboo island. Words cannot express the true beauty of these places....swimming with the fishes and just looking at the scenery was a true wonder. I find myself thinking what is my true place in this world when there is just so much beauty around me that people take for granted and don't realize how truly blessed we are to be part of it! Today is my last full day in Phuket, tomorrow I leave this beautiful place and head to Bangkok to start my volunteer mission, my true reason for being here and I look forward to all I will experience and everything it has to offer and I to all those I touch. The world is my oyster
18 October 2017
More pics of my day out in the amazing islands
Phi phi island, Maya bay, monkey island and bamboo island. Such an amazing experience so much beauty.
After our great day we headed back to resort to go to dinner along the beach front at an authentic Thai restaurant. We walked down the pathway along the beach and decided on Smile beach bar....amazing! Fresh seafood and real Thai flavours so good, one of my best meals ever! I am in my glory, food is life I live to eat!
Delicious dinner at Smile Thai restaurant on the beach
Night market in Old Phuket just amazing....except for all those bugs lol
More off the Big Buddha, the amazing views and the temple
The Bug Buddha
Day 3....in Phuket at the Kamala beach resort. This place is stunning. Right on the beach, an amazingly wide beach with beautiful views around looking at the mountain and ocean. The Thai people are so polite and so grateful. I have met up with some people from my volunteer mission 7 of us here out of the 20. Some from England, USA and Canada. Good bunch of people so far but we will see if I want to kill any of them by end of trip lol...just kidding 😜.
17 October 2017
After 2 days of travel I finally made it to my first destination. Spent one night in Hong Kong which was amazing now time for a few days of relaxation and life experiences. The flight was long but Great service from Cathay Pacific. Interesting the kind of people you meet on a flight this long and seeing how the cope with it.
My view for breakfast
My great resort
The amazing beach stunning
My fabulous room all to myself
16 October 2017
Hong Kong airport crazy
Lots of leg room on plane and cute kids that were great near me.