Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Arrival

So I have finally arrived safe and sound in Cambodia, albeit via a marathon journey and an epic last minute fundraising night. Thanks to everyone who came down to Mac's in Trim on Friday night. It was a legendary night and we raised 1,700 euro, which will go a really really long way in helping me complete my work here!! So thanks a million to Mark Brady, Paul Carroll and Paul Genockey who organized everything on the night, to everyone who got their head shaved (I'm still getting used to having my hair this short), and everyone who contributed on the night. It really was so heart warming and humbling for me.

The marathon journey began with a near perfect flight from Dublin to Abu Dhabi (AD) until we began our descent and were then told that we could not land in AD because of heavy fog, which had made one plane have a minor crash, and so we had to land in Doha and wait for clearance. I had only two hours of a change over in AD to get to my Bangkok flight, but was told I should still make this as no flights could leave the airport. However when we landed and I entered the airport I seen the bedlam that the closure had caused! It took 3 hours of "queuing" (basically wrestling) to even talk to someone. She told me I could get 5pm flight (it was now 1pm) to Bangkok and I could catch a flight to Phnom Penh from there but I had to go to through immigration and to another Etihad desk to get my boarding pass for this flight.

Two hours of queuing later and I got my boarding pass, just to get pass security and find the flight was delayed till 9.30pm, I would now miss the Phnom Penh transfer from Bangkok! That wasn't too much of a problem, what really messed thing up was when I was checking which gate I was boarding from an hour before the flight and it flashed up that the flight was delayed till 9.30am... I marched off to a wee quiet corner to rest my head for the night. I finally made it Bangkok and had just enough time to get my flight to Phnom Penh, however chances were my bag wouldn't make it.

43 hours since I set off from Dublin I arrived in Phnom Penh at 11pm, bag less, but relived to be here. Was a lovely balmy night and outside I meet my contact Andre. He is a German man who lectures in Cambodia and is on the board of the organization I will be working for, the SCAO. They are a partner organization of the SCOOP foundation who have sent me here. I have left links to both of these organizations on the right of the page.

He brought me from the airport along two pristine and immaculate roads, with massive buildings either side. I was surprised and taken aback by this until I was informed that all the buildings were government ministries and thus government officials travel along these roads everyday, thus there perfect condition. The massive government corruption I had read about was plain to be seen. Down all the side streets one seen the masses of make shaft shacks and uncollected rubbish. The real Cambodia for a lot of its citizens.

We stopped for a beer, the local dark stout because I am Irish :-), and then  headed to the guesthouse/hostel were I stayed last night. I am meeting Andre tonight for dinner and a long chat and will then head out to the SCAO school and community centre in the morning with one of the volunteers, where I will stay for the rest of my time here. Will update the blog once I have visited the centre and got more details on my job.

Thanks for reading (will keep it shorter next time!)
Eric :-)


  1. You think you had it bad..... I had to wait 5 minutes just to get into the bathroom today and to finish it off it took me nearly 50 min to drive to Dublin ...instead of 40 min. So stop going on about how long it took you just top get there... :-)
    trilled ya got there safe n sound. Whats the stout like?

    1. The stout was actually quite nice man, just hard to drink in this heat! Have drove by a few bars with Guinness signs outside, so I am defo gonna sample that soon :-)