The second day we spent in Cambodia kicked off with a 6 hour sight seeing road trip to Pnohm Penh – the Capital City of Cambodia. The trip began with a coach full of sleepy girls, however we stopped off at a beautiful service shop with a spectacular view.
After this, Kien and our trusty driver dropped us at a market packed with snacks such as cooked tarantula and scorpions. A new experience so to speak!
Our final road trip stop off was the independence monument where we took a couple of snazzy pictures. The lovely Kien then said his goodbyes and we were greeted with our final tour guide, Mrs Thiday.
When we reached Pnohm Penh we first visited the Royal Palace, which could have been one of the most beautiful palaces we visited in the trip. The views were spectacular and the history was explained thoroughly my lovely Mrs Thiday.
Secondly, we visited the silver palace (which is really made of concrete as Mrs Thiday explained) and Wat Pnohm. Some beautiful scenes greeted us at these sites including a gorgeous Buddhist greenery area.
We travelled to our final hotel and freshened up for our meal which we spent on the stunning titanic restaurant in which we ate a delicious meal, accompanied by several kittens. A lovely day overall.
Gemma, Year 11
A few thoughts from Mrs Charlton as we prepare for our journey home: edited by Lily Macfarlane
I think the best line of the week was walking back down from the heights of the 1000 year old temple at the top of the hill overlooking Angkor Wat… “Elephant coming past, oh… and there’s a snake here too!” Swiftly followed by said elephant plodding on by after splatting most of us in the face with his overly enthusiastic tail!
The most heart warming moment (to be honest there were so many!) was watching our students be present, immersed in the many moments when life simply stood still for us all. I was simply proud to be with them all, in that space, at that time. If only we had many more days to come.
There were many shocking moments over the trip. What on earth do I choose? Walking above the planks of wobbly wood keeping us from all of the dozens of crocodiles at the floating village in Siem Reap, waiting hopefully with open mouths, for one of us to drop in? Hearing “Mrs Charlton, they just put the tarantula on me!” when visiting the food market where crickets, scorpions and tarantulas were on display for a snack. Or perhaps the sudden realisation that I was watching people living in absolute poverty with my mobile phone in my hand to capture my experience-feeling the tug of war in my heart as I watched life from outside of the goldfish bowl.
Any other thoughts? Just these for now:
1 Best trip of my life!
2 I am privileged to know our students and to have been a part of our Vietnam and Cambodia family.
3 I have seen many wonders but nothing compares to seeing our students dancing in the rain, just in front of the lake before Angkor Wat. That memory will stay with me until my last day.
And finally…with thanks to Mr Humphrys and Ms Payne because none of the above would have been possible without their constant support.
See you at AGGS approximately 11.30 Saturday but we text updates when we arrive in London
The V&C family are on their way home 🙂
Our first morning in Cambodia was greeted with waffles, French toast and a lost passport! After scouring the hotel our new guide Kien came to the rescue and we were off.
Our buses dropped us off in quite literally paradise. One of the seven wonders of the world Angkor wat did not disappoint. After an amazing tour with just about everyone back, our bus dropped us off for some well needed drinks.
Soon after we were all become Angelina Jolie and were immersed into the location tomb raider was shot. It was our lucky day as kien taught us some iPhone tricks to capture the breathtaking views of trees, temples and sweaty students.
This was followed by lunch in the jungle amongst lizards and spiders (to mr Humphrys delight). By bike or bus we all made it to the big deal… Angkor wat temple! All was perfect and as we begin to walk up: the rain starts- typical! Nevertheless we explored the biggest Hindu temple in the world and were speechless- especially when we met the monk Jack whitehall saw!
Then we got the shower we’d been in need of all day. Despite our monsoon encounter we climbed up the hill for an amazing view of Siem reap. And with steep steps and the odd tumble and snake we made it down in tact.
Finally we head out for the night with a show! We saw many stories told through dance and costume. Following this we went to yet again another market before heading to bed. Overall a day none of us will never forget.
By Emily, Year 12
After a trip round to the other side of the world, it felt rather odd today to leave New York and visit international territory and the United Nations. Miss Mitchell was beyond excited to see the general assembly room as well as some of the smaller meeting rooms. We were able to see the staff at work and the students asked intelligent, articulate and pertinent questions.
For lunch, we ventured to Grand Central Station, where many of the students were excited to take photos of locations from some show called Gossip Girl. Mr Copestake has no idea what that is but he’s been told it’s ‘brilliant’. Though that’s doubtful.
Following a refuelling, we were able to spend some time on 5th Avenue, shopping. Much money was spent – more in Sephora. As well as H and M, Topshop and Guess. It’s remarkable that you take students to another country and they still spend money in shops they have in Manchester!
Our afternoon ended with a pleasant walk through Central Park, seeing the Bethesda Fountain and Strawberry Fields.
After a short rest at the hotel and a quick dinner of Mexican food, we were straight on to the theatre to see ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’. There was much laughter and enjoyment – a wonderful experience in the theatre again.
Our evening has ended at the Empire State Building. We were able to see the city lit up and night and have 360 degree panoramic views of New York. This has been a fabulous trip, and although it’s not quite over yet, this was a great way to start bringing our adventure to a close.
After a hearty breakfast of bagels, croissant, muffins and coffee, we made our way to the very south of Manhattan Island to board the boat to take us to Liberty and Ellis Island.
Although the weather seemed against us, the students coped admirably with the choppy waters and the regular spray on their face. The views of the Statue of Liberty however were astonishing – plenty of selfie opportunities. Even if Mr Copestake and Miss Devlin managed to get absolutely drenched by the rough waters of the Atlantic.
From Liberty Island, we made our way to Ellis Island to visit the Immigration Museum. This was an interesting and informative visit for all. Alas, upon leaving the museum the weather had turned and we headed back to Manhattan under grey clouds and pouring rain. Still, enthusiasm was manintained with the prospect of lunch. A visit to the Oculous provid d a range of eating and shopping options, with everything from incredibly healthy salads, to pizza.
After lunch, we had time in the 9/11 museum and the memorial grounds. And from there we went on to visit the New York Stock Exchange, right in the heart of Wall Street.
After a quick stop at the hotel to freshen up, we made our way to Times Square for some shopping time, and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. It’s been another long day and we’ve still got loads more to do tomorrow. The weather promises to be brighter and sunnier. So here’s hoping Miss Mitchell gets to enjoy the UN Building in the sun. She’s incredibly excited!
Yet another early start (yay!) for our long drive to the Mekong River. During the drive we had a break at the most beautiful rest stop, after which we made our way to our river boat which took us island hopping along the iconic delta.
First stop: Unicorn Island where we were treated to fresh Vietnamese fruit, homemade honey, traditional music and an amazing river boat experience.
On the second island we enjoyed a filling Vietnamese lunch and a fresh coconut on a tour of a fishing village, which we smelt before we saw.
Once we arrived back in Saigon, we had a quick stop at Ben Than market where we practised our newly acquired haggling skills. We then made our way to the Saigon Opera House to watch ‘Ter Dah”; a dance production explaining the lives of idegenous Vietnamese tribes. The acrobatics and tricks in the show amazed us, from dancers balancing on each other’s heads, to spinning upside down from ceiling (we felt dizzy just watching).
After a quick dinner we went back to the hotel for bed, which we had definitely earned after a wonderful (long) day!
By Hana, Tara, Lena & Aisha (Year 13)