A Broken Key and Delhi Belly in Phnom Penh

This is an extract of my adventures in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as part of a school expedition, back in the summer of 2014.

It was our final in Vietnam! Back in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, we visited the War Remnants and Independence Palace. We stopped by a BBQ restaurant afterwards that displayed a poster with colourful and exotic drinks so we decided to go in and order some non-alcoholic drinks. As we were there and the menu looked promising, we decided to book a reservation at their restaurant in the evening.

As we were wandering around the streets, we managed to get lost and couldn’t find our way back to the hotel; team member insisted that we are going the right way but this led to heading to the outskirts of the city, next to the highway. When we made our way back, we had a bit of free time to explore the markets and buy some souvenirs. We were then to meet at the rendezvous point near a McDonalds before we headed to the fancy BBQ restaurant we had our drinks in. Surprisingly, the McDonalds we passed looked fancier than the BBQ restaurant we were going to.

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Should you do an Apprenticeship?

Coincidentally, as I was planning to create this post, it’s actually National Apprenticeship Week. It’s coming to that time to decide what to do after you complete your GCSEs at secondary school or A-Levels (or equivalent) at college. Most people will think that the route after GCSEs is at college, and the route after A-Levels is at a university. There are many alternative options that are just as good, if not, better.

After completing my GCSEs, I followed the crowd and joined the Sixth form College attached to my secondary school. Most people just go with the flow and will not even consider other options.

Biggest Mistake: I didn’t do enough research.

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Adventures in Vietnam & Cambodia – Mistaken for a Local

This is an extract of my adventures in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Dalat, Vietnam, as part of a school expedition, back in the summer of 2014.

It was the Day 27 of the expedition and we leave Phnom Penh and head to Siem Reap. I got up reasonably early at the Okay Guesthouse and being the one to get prepared first in my room group, I made my way down to meet the other group of boys for breakfast. I sat down, had a conversation and ordered our breakfast from a menu that consisted of both Western and Cambodian-style dishes. I ordered a Monte Cristo: a French ham and cheese toastie that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

After taking my order to the Cambodian lady, we continued our conversation until I was politely interrupted by a German man that was also staying that the guesthouse. It was still early in the morning and most people in the seating area were still half-asleep. This is because as I was seated down with my group talking, the German man put his hand on my shoulder and asked: “Excuse me, can I order a cheeseburger?” in his strong German accent. Haven’t been able to interpret what he has said, I asked him to repeat the question and he did. On the other side of the table, the two guys in my group were laughing in the background, as I never figured out what the laughter was about only until I realised…

I was being mistaken for a Cambodian local, working at the guesthouse. 

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Adventures in Vietnam – A Night to Remember

This is an extract of my adventures in Dalat, Vietnam, as part of a school expedition, back in the summer of 2014.

It was Day 9 of the expedition and we sourced transport from Buon Ma Thuot to Dalat and Nom, our guide from our previous trek, recommended and helped us book accommodation at a hotel in Dalat. When we arrived there, we saw a huge lake filled with swan pedalos and we asked our expedition guide if we could ride on them during our 2 nights in Dalat. Our expedition guide, being the ‘fun police’ of the expedition declined our suggestion due to the risks and hazards and said: “you can only watch the fun”. He was very fun indeed.

We then reached the M Hotel (not its real name), we were welcomed by the owners there and made it to our rooms. At the entrance, I noticed a sign that specified that a price for a room was 100,000 Vietnamese Dong ($5 USD) and a price for a ‘VIP Massage’ was 200,000 Vietnamese dong ($10 USD). This was weird to see that a ‘VIP Massage’ was twice as much for a room, but we get to see the reason on why later.

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Your Life Stories, Lessons and Plans

“Learn from the past,  live in the present, plan for the future” – Audrey Farrell.

During a recent business trip, I had opportunities to have meals out with my colleagues whom I don’t really talk too much in the office as I am in a different team. As an Apprentice, it was especially important to not just learn about the job and what it entails, but also about working life and the stories and lessons learnt by colleagues that are far older and wiser than me.

A man in his mid-50s emphasised the importance of doing things while I am still young: to travel the world and to live and love without regrets. He told me about his time in the Royal Air Force and more about his life regrets and ambitions. He was a bit more drunk further on in our conversation and mentioned a lot about his love life, but I won’t go there, but there is more to come later.

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