Thursday, February 16, 2012

From Mardi Gras to Cambodia in 24 Hours

Dudes... the first 24 hours of my 3 week holiday to South East Asia were ridiculous. I, Paula Ferguson, vow to never ever do what I did to myself again.

The Vagina Monologues girls put on a Mardi Gras Party to fund raise money for the Jeonju Women's Association and the women of Haiti... well.. let's just say that party happened to be the night before I left for Cambodia! Selling jello shots and mac & cheese and jumbalaya... turned into joining in on the fun, drinking the $5 Jeonju Hurricanes ($1 of each went to the charity)... and well... I'll let you imagine what could possibly happen from there.

I had to get on the bus at 4AM.. I changed in the bar, Chelsea took my other clothes home, and off I went to the bus station. Four hours later, I arrived at the airport.. and you could have found me sleeping on a bench or in the bathroom, one of the two... it wasn't pretty, I'll promise you that.

I got on the phone with Chelsea as I was waiting in line to get my ticket at 12PM.. the conversation went something like this:

Chelsea: "Hhheelloooo?" (obviously still sleeping)

Me: "Cheeelllsseeeaaa!"

Chelsea: "Paaauuullaaa!"

Me: "I'm so tempted to just ask for a refund.. I don't even know if I feel like attempting security!"

Chelsea: "Paula! You have to get on that plane!"

Me: "This is a horrrible start to a vacation!"

Chelsea: "Paula! Do not make me come to Seoul and but your booty on that plane! You ARE going to Cambodia and Vietnam! Go now!"

Me: "Fine! I'll call you later!"

Now THAT is what friends are for! I followed her every word.. and got my booty on that plane.. after sleeping on a few more benches.. and running to the bathroom a few more times.

H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E! I learned a life lesson! And as I can make light of it now.. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.. and I will never ever make such horrible decisions again.

That is my confession of the day.

So, once I got on the plane.. I made friends with the old Korean man next to me that still smelled of Kimchi.. I promise he was as dissatisfied with the Chinese food served on the flight (I took China Southern Airlines to Guangzou, and then transfered for Phnom Penh) as I was. Then, he switched seats with the waegookin (foreigner) next to him so that we could talk and become BFFs. This only happened after I had taken my final nap and ate my recovery food... successfully!

The waegookin was super nice, and he was headed to Thailand.. we chatted it up for a while about teaching in Korea and other random things.. just in time to land in Guangzou where I would FREEZE my butt off in their non-heated communist airport.

AAGGGHHH, I literally wanted to scream in that airport. For one thing, the transfers section of the airport is super tiny, and there was really no where to shop or look around. If I wanted to go to the bathroom, I had to walk DOWNSTAIRS.. THROUGH a smoking section that had no walls, it was literally just downstairs.. and then I could use the freezing cold bathrooms as well. I had read online that this particular airport wasn't heated (Beijing apparently isn't either).. but tooootally didn't believe it when I read it... errrrrrrnt, WRONG-O Paula! And instead of a 1.5 Hour layover.. next time I have a ... wait for it.. FIVE hour layover!!! I'm rolling right now just thinking about it.

Once landing in Phnom Penh, I waited around and tried to find my tuktuk driver who was supposed to pick me up and take me to my hotel (wouldn't normally do that, but I wasn't getting in until 10PM+)... he definitely wasn't there.. and I definitely didn't know what to do because I didn't want to get charged by my hotel plus a new tuktuk driver.. but after about 20 minutes of me meandering around, I found my name scribbled upon a piece of paper.. and he took me to my new home for the next 2 nights!

I stayed at Encounters (also called Nomads) Hostel for 2 nights, and although it was a bed on the floor... aweessooommmeee sleeps! :)


My hardcore awesome students came to party with their teacher.. thank goodness I teach University now :)

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