I'll start with this one:
Traveling with Ashley and Freddy is not for the faint of heart! They make sure and optimize their time! I got to show them around Phnom Penh and where I work as well as exploring parts of Cambodia that I have never been to!
We took two different overnight busses, rented motos, fed elephants, explored ancient temple ruins and caught up on life. That's one thing I love about Ashley and Fred, we can pick up where we left off as if no time has passed.
It was great to be around them because they are in their tenth year of marriage and it was beautiful to watch them together. I could not be more proud of the couple they are and the friendship they have. It was inspiring to say the least. 10 years may not be more than a drop in the bucket of forever but it is a long time in my book!
If I had to choose my two favorite places/activities from their visit it would be the elephant sanctuary in Mondulkiri (I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE WE HUGGED, FED AND BATHED ELEPHANTS!!!) and renting the scooters in Siem Reap!
The elephants because it was another world compared to stinky ol' Phnom Penh (PP). We went to the mountains! I almost didn't leave once I got there. There were trees, grass, mountains, valleys, vistas, COLD WEATHER and friendly puppies . . . oh, and elephants! I was cold the entire time I was there! I wore pants, t-shirt, my khrama scarf, rain coat and it wasn't really enough to stay warm. Freddy and Ashley were comfortable the whole time. . . I may have acclimated better than I thought to Cambodian temperatures. . . The whole first 12 hours I plotted on how soon I could return and how often I could return. Seriously the best. Sigh. Let's move on, it's making me too sad to think about Mondulkiri when I can see PP right outside my window.
The scooters we rented in Siem Reap (SR) made everything exciting! I love riding my scooter (contrary to my feelings a year ago!) and we had the freedom to explore so much more than with a tuk tuk driver. We stayed till dusk in Angkor Wat and were some of the last people to leave Ta Prohm. The next morning we drove out into the country side to explore a river that also had carvings like the temples. It is back in the mountains and won my admiration because we had to hike to get to it. It felt so much like being back home in Yosemite that I could have sat and cried with happiness and joy. We zipped all around on those bikes and made it back to SR in time for me dash off to catch my bus back to PP with only a few minutes to spare!
I may have been exhausted at the end of their trip but it was incredible on all fronts! They were gracious and patient travelers to Cambodia. They were respectful of the culture, willing to endure language confusion, and game for anything that came their way.
I wish I could have offered them more than I did. They always do so much for me when I am in Texas- picking me up last minute from the airport, letting me crash in their spare room, taking me to the airport at horrible hours, and supporting me in every adventure I've ever had. Thank you Ashley and Fred! Arkoon!