Guatemala Day 4

The falling apart tortilla was awkwardly slammed between my palms, over and over again. Laughing at me sloppiness, my classmate was on their sixth. In my frustration I slammed it harder till it fell on the floor, again. Not giving up, I took another one, and took a deep, muttering under my breath “why can’t I get this?!”.  Rubbing it into a ball, then flattening with my fingers. The flour stuck to me, wet soggy. Gross. Still not giving up, I looked up at one of the women in “the women’s cooperation” and watched them do it easily and flawlessly. Her colored dress looked like it had a blanket of smoke over her dress coming from the perfect tortillas cooking. Like the sun of Guatemala, bright colorful, but with of layer of pollution (to my disappointment after thinking it was fog). She slapped them palm to Palm, until it got to her fingers, done and even. Replicating her actions, I formed a relatively acceptable tortilla. I got the motivation especially after Sophia said she wouldn’t clean her side of the room if I gave up.

The women’s cooperation introduced us to their culture. They could balance 50 pounds on their head when back home I can barley balance my books in my hands going to class. From a welcoming smoky smell, we spent the afternoon learning about a traditional dance to tortilla making to an actual Guatemalan wedding.


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Day 1: Phnom Penh

We finally land in Phnom Penh. Our friend Eric sends his driver who arrived and we drove off into Cambodian traffic.

Eric's driver Singha
Eric’s driver Singha

The traffic is so bad it takes 45 minutes to drive 8KM (four miles). As we drive in the car tuk-tuks*, and motorcycle cycle bikes/scooters came so close to our car that if we had the window down they could have easily have high-fived us. Our driver said he was used to it aOnd it was normal. While he was driving us to our hotel he stopped at some sites, which we will explore more thoughly later in our vacation. There are statues, towers, monuments  and last of all our favorite, the bat tree.

Phnom Penh Monument
Phnom Penh Monument

Before I tell you about the bat tree let  me explain how hot it was. BOILING. 97 degrees and 80% humidity. I nearly died. Now for the bat tree: The bat tree is this huge tree with tons of leaves. But if you look closely you can see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bats! Bats that we thought looked small curled up and asleep, but when they flew they were huge! I don’t know how the tree could have sported all the wight! It was amazing.

The Bat Tree
The Bat Tree

Between the jet lag, traffic and humidity we are dizzy and our driver takes us to Brown’s, the Phnom Penh’s Starbucks. I get a scrumptious passion fruit mango smoothie.


Mango, passion fruit smoothie's
Mango, passion fruit smoothie’s

The streets surrounding the city center are lined with small buildings made out of metal shards and tarps except for some small cafés. There is trash everywhere you look and stray animals. The discrepancy between the rich and the poor is gigantic. It’s not what most people are used to but that’s how Cambodia is, and I’m here to see it all.

We get to the Raffles Hotel where we are staying. It is a huge elegant Colonial hotel that has been the ex-pat center of Cambodia for decades. The lady escorts us to a comfy couch area in the lobby. We hand the lady our passports and we think we hear her say: stay here and have a drink. We think we miss heard her because we hadn’t ordered any drinks and we didn’t plan on it. But soon enough another lady arrives holding three tall glasses of ginger iced tea with sugar cane and an orchid flower on top of it. It tasted so refreshing! And she brings soothing cold towels so we can wipe our sweaty brows.  Before we knew it we where checked in to our amazing room and on the side of the pool.

Cold refreshing check in towels
Cold refreshing check in towels


Cheers - Ginger ice tea at the Raffles hotel
Cheers – Ginger ice tea at the Raffles hotel

*tuk-tuks: a motorcycle in the front, a small metal carriage in the back, it should only sit four but this is Cambodia!

27 hours of planes

We start in SFO, first we board. There is a woman flight attendant there to great us, she is wearing a batik. A word that means a dress that specifically came from Singapore.


On the plane before we take off the flight attendants in batiks pass out damp warm towels. It feels so good in my hands and face. Soon we take off and I surf through the tiny  tv looking at the movies and listening to music and doing my homework. As I’m looking out my window I see a peculiar shaped cloud that’s simply a straight line. It goes on for as far as the eye can see.


The food on the airplane was yummy but the best part was the dessert after the first meal, an It’s-It’s.  A chocolatey, oat meal cookiey, vanilla ice creamy, It’s-It’s!


We land in Seoul, North Korea. We wait for the airplane to get a tune up, and cleaned, and for the new passengers to board. We walk around the airport and we find a little Snoopy cafe with statue of Snoopy standing in front of it, it was funny and it made me think of my Uncle Brad who loves Snoopy. We get back on the plane and fly six more hours, then we land in Singapore. So close to our destination! But sadly we still have a six hour layover. I’m in the middle of writing for my blog when my iPad starts to buzz. I’m so tired and jet lagged, that I just absent-mindedly answer. Soon enough the familiar face of the one and only nugget (Amelia N.) pops up. I’m so excited and I can’t believe I’m actually talking to her but it gets better because she starts running around the hall ways at my school stopping all my friends. I explain to everyone that I’m not in Cambodia yet but in Singapore at my 6 hour lay over. Nobody understands but they are all happy to see me.