Thursday, 5 April 2012

F: Flying

Prior to my trip to Cambodia I have a tale to tell.  A friend booked a lesson gliding for both of us.  The date was arranged and off we both went to the aerodrome in Northumberland. Perhaps I should mention here that my friend had been in the army and had flown all over the world.  However, at this point I had never been in a plane let alone flying in one.. My friend took her lesson first then on return went for a drink. I was kitted up and climbed on board. The engine started and off we went. I must say, I had no idea what was to follow. We were towed along behind another plane and  as it left the ground, what a strange feeling being tugged up into the air like that. It was worse than being towed behind a broken down old banger. However, once up in the sky we were on our own and it was amazing.

I booked my trip to Cambodia soon afterwards. My flight from EDI-AMS-HKG took fourteen hours. I stayed with my sister in Hong Kong for five days, then flew on to Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.  On arrival I was met by my niece and taken in a tuc-tuc to the Raffles Hotel where we were to stay for one night. The journey was a real culture experience.  My night at the Raffle's Hotel was lovely, I enjoyed being waited on hand and foot. It was hard to comprehend passing all those derelict building's one after the other - later to arrive at this very Grand Hotel. My room was enormous, cold marble stone floors with en-suite. The bath was absolutely humongous and took forever to fill. I think we seemed to be the only visitors that night but it was very nice.

Our flight from Phnom Pehn to Seim Reap was the following morning. As we waited for our flight I couldn't help noticing my niece's face each time I mentioned anything about the plane, occasionally I'd hear a chuckle, but she always avoided eye contact. When it was time to board to my horror, parked in the dock was this tin bucket shape with wings attached to some wheels (It reminded me of the tug-plane that I went gliding with back home.)  This was so dirty you couldn't make out its colour.  Once on board we belted up and the pilot a youngish looking man started it's engines. Very gradually we began to move off. The tin frame work creaked as we moved off down the runway. After two or three attempts the plane eventually lifted into the air but as it did so the engines seemed to cough and splutter like a farting cow with severe wind.  As we flew overland you could see the tops of trees through the cracks in the door of the plane. Every now and again it would lose altitude and we'd drop and then it would pick up and be fine.. It was only a forty minute flight but it felt much much longer!!

Cambodia was not very commercialised at this point.


  1. Cambodia has always fascinated me, and it is so close to where I live, I want to visit it. Thanks for the insight.

    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  2. I am pleased I can be of assistance.

    Enjoy the Challenge!

  3. The hotel sounds lovely, but the plane ride does not! Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

  4. Hi Christine, Thanks for dropping by.

    Having looked at recent picture's of Cambodia, everything looks so commercial compared to my visit.

    I feel honoured that I was given the chance to experience it - in its natural state!

  5. Hi Jenni .. I used to glide as a youngster - I got taken up by an old banger usually .. straight over the cliffs at Perranporth - that's where the aerodrome was then .. now it's nearer Lands End! I've had one or two aerotows .. just wasn't done in my day.

    Your Raffles hotel stay sounds wonderful .. and then that rickety plane ride - yea .. I think I'd have been worried - but you got there and back again safely I see!

    The whole trip sounds amazing .. and Hong Kong too .. lucky you to have relatives out there .. cheers Hilary

  6. Good morning Hilary,

    I enjoyed the the flying, I think I could get over the aerotow. I just loved the feeling of freedom and space. The views where lovely too. I bet they were for you over the cliff's.

    It was a wonderful holiday I must say, even the hairy moments were good!

    Have a great day.