Phnom Penh, Day 2

Narun picked us up and took us to Prek Eng 2 orphan home. We stayed a while, visited some of the staff and walked on foot to Asia’s Hope elementary school. The kids were still in class. The schools director greeted us and took us around to each of the classrooms. Smiles and waves greeted us at every door. I saw many familiar faces that I haven’t seen in three years. It was an overwhelmingly joyous moment. At two in the afternoon the kids were released for some playtime. A swarm of kids exited every doorway of the school and greeted us with hugs. It’s moments like this that make me want to keep coming back here. We played for while and then walked with the kids back to PE 2. The kids changed into their play clothes and played some more while dinner was being prepared. Sophal (sp), Narun’s wife, had one of the older boys, Soraan, scale a coconut tree on the property and get us dome coconuts for drinks. The were husked and tapped for small straws to drink from. We ate a quick meal with Narun and his wife and then we were whisked back to the hotel so we could switch our rooms. I passed out for an hour or two before Narun picked me up to get John, Kori and the kids from the airport.

John, Kori and the kids were greeted with such a welcoming crowd last night. Narun, Savorn, their wives, the directors of PE 1 & 2 orphan homes, and an assortment of kids all had smiles and hugs ready for them as they stepped off the plane. We quickly departed for the hotel only to get turned around a bit in late night Phnom Penh. Savorn was leading the way. I was driving with Narun. At one point Narun pulled along side Savorn to see if everything was alright. Some playful banter ensued after Narun found out that Savorn had lost his way a bit.

After a few hours of rest we took off for a Pho restaurant/café located near Asia Hope’s former guesthouse.  John took the first group to the café while the rest of us took a tuk tuk to the Russian market, to await a pick up from John. We all ordered Pho and Vietnamese coffee (think dark, thick coffee like the Turks make) served in cups with condensed milk on the bottom. Mix the coffee, pour into a cup of ice and you have café au lait like you’ve never tasted. Aside from the lack of sleep, I know now why I’ve had a killer head ache for days…no caffeine! We split up for there. Some went to the Russian Market to check things out while John, Pak and I did some running around. We met up somewhere in the streets of Phnom Penh by chance and went out for lunch at the Pull Noodle Restaurant, an authentic street side Chinese restaurant. If there was one thing I told everyone before coming on this trip it was that we would eat a lot of different foods and eat well. We had dumplings filled with pork, noodles, rice, vegetables, fried pork, fried eggplant. It was all super delicious and satisfying. We returned to the comforting A/C of the hotel and then headed back to PE 2. The kids returned shortly after and the playing began once again. We played soccer, joked with one another and had a great time just hanging out. Dinner was served to the kids while we gathered our things and got ready to leave.

We ate at a restaurant that served Kamhai food. We sat at a traditional table seating ourselves on cushions on the floor. We have been eating family style meals so there was a lot of plate passing, allowing us to taste a huge variety of dishes: coconut/chicken soup, red curry soup with beef, cellophane noodles, beef dishes, chicken/veggie dishes, etc. All of it was delicious and comforting after a long and busy day. Tomorrow the fellas are going to get fitted for tailored shirts and check out the city for a bit before visiting the kids later in the day after school.