Friday, 1 February 2013

Travelling with children: Going to Sihanoukville

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Stopping for lunch on our way to Sihanoukville, Cambodia
On Friday we headed south to Sihanoukville and our rendezvous with hubby’s family. All of them. Well, almost all of them. His parents, four of his sisters, two brothers-in-law, two friends of the family, and six nieces and nephews had rented a minivan with a driver and taken the 10 hour drive down from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville to see the ocean for the first time. In Cambodia the number of seats in a car is no indication as to how many people can fit in it. On their way down, they picked us up outside Phnom Penh, two adults, one child, one baby, three HUGE suitcases, and a baby pram in a pram pack. It was a tight fit, but everyone was happy and excited.

The gals are ready for Phnom Penh
Hubby’s family come from a small village a bit outside Siem Reap, and most of them have never been outside Siem Reap before. Hubby’s mum visited the capital, Phnom Penh, for the first time for our engagement party. No one had ever been to the beach before let alone seen the ocean. Most Cambodians have never, and will never, go on a holiday. First, they rarely get any time off from work, and the cost of going on a vacation is just too high. One of hubby’s dreams, since he himself saw the ocean for the first time on a holiday with me when we first started dating, was to show his family Sihanoukville. We have talked about doing it for years, but seeing that we would have to shoulder the majority of the cost such as accommodation, transport, food, and suchlike for everyone, we had to save up the money for it first. But finally, the time had come. Everyone was excited about this trip and a mere bagatelle such as slightly cramped seating arrangement could not put a lid on the high spirits.

And if that wasn’t enough for excitement, it was also the first time hubby’s family would meet our new addition to the family. Little sister has always been a tad skeptical to be held by strangers, and has been known to tell off her grandparents when they fall out of favor with the little missus. And then there were this crowd where everyone wanted to see, touch, hold, and talk to the little missus. She tolerated stoically for a bit, but soon enough let everyone know that enough was enough already. Big brother took to the crowd like fish to water.