Friday, September 2, 2011


Yesterday I was in Siem Reap. Every time i've been there I've wanted to go to the Angkor Hospital for Children to donate blood and I've never found the time. This time I decided I wouldn't let myself leave without donating. I've donated blood back home, but I have quite deep veins so it's always a painful process. Yesterday was no exception. The nurse struggled three times trying to locate a vein. I showed her that she had to hunt around my arm's crease, but she didn't. Finally a doctor came in and successfully found a vein, on the crease, first attempt. Today the three entry points are badly bruised. I look like some kind of addict. The doctor complimented my blood, score! Tourists make up the majority of blood donations, as Cambodians believe donating blood will make them weak and unable to work properly. I'll make it a habit whenever I'm in Siem Reap to pop in and give some love back to this wonderful country.

It probably wasn't the wisest decision to donate before transit. It was difficult (and painful) to carry my bags and the bandaids came off in the heat. I was collected for the bus at 12:30 - because the donation took so long I had no time for lunch - and we ended up waiting at the bus station for just shy of two hours for the bus. Due to the rain, the roads were in poor condition and the we were traveling a lot slower than I anticipated. I slept a lot, but was growing a bit tired of being on a bus.

Finally we stopped at a rest station and I sat down to order some food. A cute little girl came over to the table and leaned on a spare seat, smiling at me bashfully. I smiled back and she sat down. Soon her mother joined us, and they ordered too. I found it a little odd, considering the majority of the tables were free, but I was happy to have company. Throughout lunch I caught the girl sneaking glimpses of me and we exchanged awkward smiles. I noticed they were sharing a soup and wondered if it was because they couldn't afford a meal each. I decided to get the bill for the table (a whole $4.50) and went back to the bus. A few minutes later the little girl sat next to me, and leaned into me. I had my laptop, it was charged and fully equipped with The Lion King. We sat there, in the dark, on a wobbly bus, with an ear phone in each ear. Whenever there was a song, she'd tap me on the shoulder and give me the thumbs up. When the movie had finished I searched for music she might like and settled on Justin Bieber. It's my secret shame - Baby reminds me of the first time I was in Cambodia. This little girl didn't realise that just because she could hear the music while she sung along, didn't mean the rest of the bus could. We opened up Photo Booth and clearly had a blast. Eventually she fell to sleep curled up on a ball, resting her head on my lap.

I've said it before: Whenever I go through some kind of difficulty and overcome it with a happy mind, the universe seems to reward me. She was my reward, that bus ride was without a doubt the most amazing I've ever had and it is the very reason I travel. To have those moments with locals where you are separated by language and culture, but still you find some common ground. You enjoy each other's company in the most simple and pure ways. It was absolutely wonderful.

I'm taking a self imposed break from Facebook - not sure for how long. I'm just sick of it, tired of it... I feel like it's the same old stuff over and over. I try to live my life without regrets, but I think when I am 70 I'll certainly be disappointed in how much time I withered away on it!!! It's September and it's going to be a very exciting month for me :D


Daryl said...

This is so sweet, and inspiring, and beautiful. I hope you continue to have these adventures and amazing experiences!

<3 Daryl

Sonja said...

Oh that is so so so cute! What a great story :o)
I love how you explained finding common ground with locals, it's so true.
And that's so amazing that you gav blood there, what a good idea. ahhh i love reading your blog more and more each time I visit! :o)