Home sweet home!
It was a long journey home, but everyone from our group has made it home. The last 9 Arkansans began the journey home at the airport in Siem Reap at 3:30 p.m. Thursday (2:30 a.m. Thursday LR time). It was a small but crowded airport. You have to walk outside to get to your planes and walk up the stairs. We flew Vietnam Air from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Hanoi, Vietnam for leg one. Even though the flight was only a little over an hour to Hanoi, they fed us a meal! We arrived in Hanoi and had to go through security again, and then go to the ticket counter to get our tickets converted to Korean Air tickets, which took a while. Then we had a few hours to kill before our next flight to Seoul, South Korea. We boarded our second flight slightly before midnight to fly 3 hours to Seoul. Once we landed we went through security again. At this point, the travelers divided up with 4 of us flying back through Chicago and 5 back through Dallas. Why we were not all on the same flight is a mystery. The Chicago group had a 5 hour layover in Seoul while the Dallas group had a 12 hour lay over. There were some quiet places where you could go sleep and even take showers, so we left them there and went to our gate. At our gate there was a small section with 10 lounge chairs. When we arrived they were all taken but within an hour some freed up and we were able to get a few hours sleep.
Our next flight left for Chicago. We had a screaming baby for about 7 of the 12 1/2 hour flight. If you had your headset on listening to a movie, you almost couldn’t hear him, but man did he have some lungs. At the end of the flight the flight attendants apologized to us for the noise, but it wasn’t their fault. I watched 6 movies coming home and 6 on the way over so I am caught up on some movies. I did not sleep much on the way home but it was an easy flight, since we had an empty seat between us. We saw the sun come up from the plane, and landed in Chicago about 8:45 a.m.
It was 95 degrees when we left Siem Reap and it was 16 degrees when we landed in Chicago–quite a change. We collected our luggage and went through customs and our 4th security check! We had a 5 hour layover before heading home to LR. We landed in LR around 3:30 p.m. and walked in the house by 4 p.m. The journey based on LR time started out at 2:30 a.m. Thursday and ended at 4 p.m. Friday! It was a long day. I got the suitcase unpacked, visited with the family and dogs for a bit, took a shower and was in bed by 7 p.m. and slept until 6 a.m. It felt wonderful to be in my own bed and able to drink water from the tap. I drank the most bottled water I have ever had in my life the past two weeks.
It was a good trip with a great group of travelers. We did a lot of walking and saw some amazing sights. It was the most unique tour we have ever taken. We did not see amazing gardens with tours led by top horticulturists, but we did see a country through the eyes of some very passionate Cambodian and Vietnamese tour guides. We learned about a different culture and did see some beautiful tropical plants and interesting fruits. We tried a lot of new foods and some we loved and others we probably won’t eat again. Weather-wise we picked the perfect time to be there. We had maybe 5 minutes of rain one night when we were inside the boat, but other than that it was blue skies. There were mosquitoes a few days but we all had our deet and were prepared. Although traveling is good, it is nice to come home!
This morning I went to a funeral for my old secretary Mrs. McKinney. I got an email letting me know about it as I was heading home. She was 87 years old and had been in hospice for a few months. She was a great secretary to me and continued on working for Beth after I left. She loved the Master Gardeners and took great care of them until she retired. It was a very nice service.
I have gotten all my laundry done, gotten groceries and caught up at home. The dogs are a bit clingy and are so happy we are home. As long as I keep moving I am not tired, but if I sit down I get sleepy. We are going out tonight for our supper club, but I think it will be another early night to bed.