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Craig and Jeane Arrive in SE Asia - Siem Reap

Craig and Jeane Arrive in SE Asia - Siem Reap

Feb 18th, 2006, 03:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
Craig and Jeane Arrive in SE Asia - Siem Reap

Just posting to let you all know we are here. Spent the day with Ponheary - 2 more to go including visit to school to give supplies to the children. Hotel de la Paix is over the top - great restaurant too. Will post more later - fairly hectic schedule.
Craig is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 03:59 PM
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Glad to hear everything is going well for you! Enjoy your trip and give us a full play by play when you return
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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Enjoy the temples!
Kathie is online now  
Feb 18th, 2006, 04:45 PM
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Off to a good start. Have a great time.

MaryW is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 08:19 PM
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marking...can't wait to hear all the details.
offwego is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 09:00 PM
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Glad to hear you made it safely. We'll be with Ponheary next week. How was Thai Air's direst flight?
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 12:09 AM
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glad to hear you arrived safe, I envy you two a lot.. happy travels
jcontreras is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 06:20 AM
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Craig, glad you and Jeane made it safely. I know you're going to have a great time. Enjoy, and I look forward to your posts.
laurieco is online now  
Feb 19th, 2006, 07:29 AM
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As you know, we're coming in two weeks...have collected enough from our Flip Flop Fund to support 75 school children from the same school you have visited. ...with more $$ coming in.
I hope you can post again before we leave on Thursday...with any thoughts, suggestions, details about your school visit, and special pleasures of your journey. (like you have the time to do that!!!) We'll check in while we're in Vietnam.
Safe traveling!
Joyce and Don
jodo is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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One more question, Craig. We are not committed to a hotel in Siem Reap. So you reccommend the Hotel De la Paix? HOw are the beds (I have an awful back!)
jodo is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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Craig-Delinquency Penalty is once again escaped. Looking forward to your trip report. Also, we want to hear the details of your scholastic interactions. Have a great time.
Gpanda is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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The beds at Hotel de la Paix are wonderful as is everything about the place! Was just there in January and loved it.
Paulo59 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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Thanks, Paula. Any reccommendations of room location? We'll do the cheapest room, but make a request anyway.
jodo is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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Craig, so glad the trip is going well and that you seem to be loving hotel de la paix as much as we did. If you get a chance, would you pls write down the info on the author and name of the $60 Angkor photography book that I am trying to locate. Found it in several stores in Siem Reap but mistakenly didn't buy it.
Hope you are enjoying the restaurant at the hotel (temples, goes without saying)
FromDC is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 10:33 PM
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I have not decided whether I will need do a full trip report when we return. I will note a few things here as well as respond to questions and see how it goes.

We have a four hour mid-day break today so there is plenty of time to catch up. Our first day in Cambodia was pretty intense as we were pretty jetlagged and were making the adjustment from the New England cold to the Angkor heat. When we arrived there had been a huge downpour - there was a foot of water in the street out side of our hotel, not exactly an auspicious beginning. We spent the whole day with Ponheary at Angkor Wat and the Bayan - quite honestly we were templed out by the end of the day. I should point out that Ponheary really likes the stories that the reliefs tell. If you are more interested in architectural detail, she says her brother Dara is better.

After a good night's sleep, we set out again yesterday visiting 3 more temples. We visited one of our favorites, Ta Prohm (jungle temple) early in the morning before the crowds showed up. It was very surreal with the jungle noises and all. Overall, Ponheary did a pretty good job at avoiding the tourist crowds but sometimes it was impossible. On the way to Bantay Srei, we stopped at one of many places that make palm sugar - it was interesting to see the father of the family climb a palm tree and retrieve that day's nectar to boil down to caramel for the sugar.

This morning, we went to the school. It was an absolutely wonderful experience handing out supplies to the kids. Ponheary had found a new school for us in a rural area but not far from Siem Reap. It is about a 10 room school with 500 kids. We gave uniforms, shoes and supplies to the 130 poorest kids. Ponheary was very organized so this time all of the kids had been sized for the uniforms and the flip-flops. The kids were all lined up so that Ponheary could match them with her records of the sizes. There were many photo opportunities during the 2 hours we were there. The children were so happy with their new uniforms. Every time we handed a child something, he or she would wai and smile - very cute. My wife Jeane had a field day with her new camera and I was able to take a few photos myself. Later this afternoon we head to the floating market for more photo ops.

I think I can fill in some more details by answering some of your questions:

Offwego - I will be in touch via e-mail when I return to compare notes in detail.

HT - the Thai flight was fine. We were in business class and the seats were quite suitable for sleeping. The lunch meal after takeoff was huge and quite good. The second meal was 7 hours later so plenty of time between. We slept through the third meal which was just prior to landing. We circled for 45 minutes over Bangkok which delayed us for quite a bit - I'm glad we did not try to catch the last flight out to Siem Reap.

Which means...we had to stay overnight on the executive floor of the Amari Airport Hotel. As always, it was a good experience for us - quick check-in, complimentary cocktail hour with enough good food to satisfy - free room service breakfast. They now say it will remain open even after regular flights start at the new airport.

Joyce and Don - hopefully comments above are sufficient, but if not ask. Although the Hotel de la Paix is as nice as any, there have been a few kinks along the way, mostly due to the vast inexperience of the staff. They are nice enough and are willing to help in any way but we struggle to understand them and they struggle to understand us. Aside from minor glitches like items missing from room service orders they did have one big screw-up last night. I had asked that they reserve the Abacus restaurant (new) - they said they did but when we arrived it was closed! This error resulted in a complimentary 7-course meal at DLP's restaurant since you can't get into any good restaurant in SR these days (in high season) without a reservation. The DLP's restaurant called Meric is really quite good. We ate outside (there's kind of an interior courtyard) on both nights and it was quite good. If you do eat there, try and reserve one of the swings. These are suspended 6 foot square platforms where you kick off your shoes and get on to eat - sort of like at Bed Supper Club only one couple to a swing. The platforms swing gently back and forth during your entire meal and are quite comfortable.

Regarding the beds at DLP - Jeane's first comment when she got on our bed was that it was hard. I think the bed is fine and she has had no problems either. Aren't hard beds good for people with bad backs? As for room location, it depends whether you want a view of the pool (very nice) or of downtown Siem Reap. If your opinion of Siem Reap is like mine, you would probably want to opt for the pool view. We are on the third floor which we like because noone is above us. The stereo systems (with preprogrammed I-pods) in the rooms have very good bass which does seem to carry.

GPanda - hopefully I am continuing to provide sufficient information to avoid any penalties. Ponheary sends her regards.

From DC - we are leaving early tomorrow so I don't think we will find your book in time - sorry. Thanks for bringing the DLP to my attention - we would stay here again at the price we are paying. As it turned out we are staying in a deluxe suite but the one you stayed in was not available even though we requested it in advance.
Craig is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 02:24 AM
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The penalty phase begins only at the close of evidence after a guilty verdict has been entered. While your contemporaneous entries are super, we're keeping an open mind. We we were a little disappointed by the possibility of no trip report. The agonizing details MUST be provided. A separate post in not necessary.
Gpanda is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 03:33 AM
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I hope you are going to make a stop at Artisans D'Angkor. Purchases help keep the school going that trains children as artisans.
Balenciaga is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 05:38 AM
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don't think for one minute that you are going to avoid a full and detailed trip report and posting of some pictures upon your return....YOUR ADORING PUBLIC DEMANDS IT!!!!

sounds like a wonderful trip....too bad about the jet lag, but there is no alternative to it i guess....hope things are better today----and then on to LP....
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Hi Craig and Jeane,

Enjoying your report so far from Siem Reap. I hope that the temple touring is going well. Your visit to a school today sounds great. Our family was there over Christmas week and toured with Dara, and I wrote a report about our experience which you read.

Our 23 y/o daughter will be returning to Siem Reap to volunteer teach in mid-March for a short while after she completes her teaching obligations in Thailand. Our family will be making a donation to the children and families who have the greatest need, thanks to the ideas generated from fellow fodorites (thanks offwego!), and it is our hope that our daughter can work with Ponheary, Dara, and the schools to get what's needed to the people. If there's anything that you can share with our family before she goes there, based on your own experiences now, will you please email me at the following address: [email protected]. We are also a New England family...from the Boston area...enjoy your weather; it's cold back home.

Many thanks and safe travels,

terryr is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 06:06 AM
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It's so wonderful what everyone is doing to help out the kids in the area. I still think about the day we visited the school and handed out pens to the children. Have a wonderful trip! Kathy
kathrynj is offline  

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