Category Archives: StoryLine

Welcome To Siem Reap, Cambodia

Flying into Siem Reap was easy from Bangkok. The flight was supposed to be a little over an hour but we were well under that. From the window of the plane the Cambodian landscape seemed to be pretty spread out. There were no large buildings and the airport was relatively small. You have to pay to get into Cambodia. $15 USD and another $15 USD if you do not have a passport photo of yourself. So $30 USD to get into Cambodia. I happened to have about $75 USD in some Twenties and Fives so I made it happen without a trip to the ATM.
They get you through this airport REALLY quick even with printing the photo. In fact, all over Thailand and Cambodia they really shuffle you through the airports relatively quickly. Everyone through customs was more than friendly.
As I walked outside I was met by my Tuk Tuk driver, Chang, almost instantly. He shook my hand and showed me the way and asked where would I like to go. I found Chang and his brother Daniel on AirBnB and booked their small rooms for $10 USD just outside of Ankor Wat.
Riding through Siem Reap was much different than Thailand. First you are driving back on the right side of the road. Second there are American cars there. Third the symbolism and statues are much different. Funny for being not so far away.
There was also a clear difference in buildings in Cambodia. There were not many buildings over 1 story tall and much of them could use repair. A good description to paint a picture would be to say some buildings looked “Bombed Out” or “Looted”. One of the only ATM’s I saw was the one Chang took me to after I dropped my bag at the room was attached to a building that looked like this. To the left was what looked to be the leftovers of a jewelry store and to the right was a small convenience store, no formal front door, just a convenience store in a bombed out building. I bought stuff.

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Breakfastclub de Pijp

After arriving a little jet lagged and meeting with our AirBnB host Lashawn and I set out to find food. We noticed immediately that the streets of Amsterdam had a much different energy than Chicago. Amsterdam is a little more laid back, a little sleepier if you will. My favorite meal of the day happens to be breakfast and luckily we stumbled across Breakfastclub de Pijp. The eggs Benedict was incredible and everyone in the place was very friendly and said hello.

Eggs Benedict at BreakfastClub de Pijp

You can tell that Breakfastclub de Pijp really cares about the food because of the presentation of each dish. The plate drizzles and bright garnish really make the meal not only appealing to the taste buds but to the eyes and nose as well. When we were served the waitress set down the plates and said “Now these are only for looking not for eating because they are too pretty”. And she was right, our meal was beautiful!
Not too sure what my counterpart ordered to eat but he said the food was delicious and this Amsterdam breakfast clearly looked good.
We chatted with our server and some locals who happened to eating there. A sign of a good place is if you see the locals there. We discovered the secret to tipping in Amsterdam from our server as well. Our meal was around €23 which is a great value as you will see.

Omelet at Breakfastclub de Pijp

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Safe Travels

The flight felt short. We did arrive a bit early even Woohoo! There was a lot of sleeping, they set you up for that though. KLM starts feeding you the minute you get on the plane, literally. There are crackers in the seat along with a pillow and blanket.

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There are small TV’s in the headrest that have movies and games. I appreciated that I was able to watch a movie in Dutch to pre-game a bit with the language as it is truly spoken. Just like they are now in this café. It’s nice to hear languages other than American English and Spanish. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those but like anything, something new is always a little more exciting. When we got off the plane it was almost like we had just gotten on.
Making our way through the airport to get our bags we had to show our passports again at a checkpoint. They question why you are coming to their country and how long you will be staying. When you visit keep in mind that you are passing through SECURITY, it isn’t their job to be nice to you, their job is to keep you safe.
We retrieved our bags and ended up at our rented apartment with some assistance from nice people and well placed signs.
With all of that …. I needed coffee.

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To The Airport!

The time had come to round up our things and get out to O’Hare Airport. I had intended on taking public transportation but Lashawn chimed in that he would rather use Uber. I have not used any of those types of services before but I know people who have had good luck. Lashawn made the call and the person was apparently five minutes from us. It ended up being twenty minutes which wasn’t all that bad. But.
The driver. Wow. She had trouble managing a consistent speed and she was really heavy on the gas then brake which jerked us about the back seat. She had trouble following the directions that were playing over the speakers of the car and we ended up driving in circles, I watched this from my phone. At one point she answered a phone call an played a message from her gas company that her utility was going to get shut off.
Now I am not judging because I have paid bills way too late too but you have to agree that was not the time or the place, especially for someone who had trouble enough just operating the vehicle in one lane.
I started to get a bit flustered. This isn’t the kind of trip you can just miss the flight to and I expressed that. Clearly.
“I’m sorry but you have to understand my frustration. I have spent lots of money and months of time planning this day.”
She said that she understood but that didn’t change her horrible driving. In fact when we finally made it to the correct terminal we told her to stop the car at arrivals. We had to get out of that car. And I did but she didn’t to open the trunk. We had to bang on her window as she was about to drive away. Wow!
Breathe. We made it. In triple the time it should have taken.

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Chicago Layover

Because I live in Phoenix I hopped a flight to Chicago to meet Lashawn then leave from there to Amsterdam. It was nice to walk around my home city before heading over the pond. I was able to see my brother who was working on the window lettering for what used to be Smokin’ Woody’s BBQ and is now Mr. B’s BBQ. I had many a meal at the old Smokin’ Woody’s BBQ. The afternoon was an awesome trip down memory lane, walking the streets that I used to live on and seeing places I used to shop and eat at.

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