I Can’t Stand Kids No More

It’s funny how we sometimes can’t stand certain things yet in the end it’s that very thing that makes us love them. This is exactly what happened to me. I had bad experiences with kids and it got to a point that I couldn’t stand kids anymore but it only took that one kid to make me see them in a whole new light and now I can say that I can’t stand kids no more (no more being the keyword).

When Ha told me she had a child, I had all kinds of weird thoughts. I’ve never had children of my own so my perception of them has always been rather third handed. The last memory I had of kids was that of a horrible plane experience. Each of my three flights from Edmonton to Siem Reap, Cambodia had annoying, screaming kids on board who would not quit yelling for one minute. As if being cramped within a small space, with limited legroom for 10 hour was not bad enough, I also had to listen to nonstop screaming that started before takeoff and didn’t stop until I got off the plane. Long flights tire you down a lot, but having someone scream without a break while you’re at it takes it to a whole new level by giving you a headache from hell.

After this type of experience with kids, I really didn’t feel like coming in further contact with children, no matter how presumably well behaved they were believed to be. That’s why I couldn’t grasp the concept of Ha loving her child. My first thought when she told me that she had a daughter was – “Why don’t you just get rid of it somehow and be done with her? She’ll be no burden to you no more…” I thought she’d be happy if someone wanted to rid her of that kid… I thought she’d grab at the first opportunity to be done with the girl and move on with her life without the annoyance of a spoiled, screaming kid.

Yet she kept mentioning how much her daughter meant to her and how she couldn’t imagine life without her so I just silently wondered what the heck was wrong with her and politely nodded to each of her daughter-full heart pours.

We were at the Royal Independence Gardens admiring the shriek of mesmerising Fruit Bats when Ha told me it was time for her to go home to check out on her daughter and insisted that I go with her. She wanted me to meet the little girl and said she would pay for the Tuk Tuk so long as I come. I was not impressed with the idea, but she had spent whole night with me and went with me to see the bats (aka she went where I wanted her to go) so I somewhat felt obliged to return the favour and go where she would like me to go.

It was a beautiful day but there would be no way for me to use it to initiate my Angkor Archaeological Park exploration adventure and since I had nothing more exciting lined up for today, I agreed I would accompany Ha to her uncle’s place where she was staying and meet her daughter. I really enjoyed Ha’s company and wanted her to spend more of the day with me, but for that she needed to go home to change clothes and do whatever other things she needed to do so it only made sense that I would go with her.

We flagged down a Tuk Tuk, the driver saw me which meant he tried to overcharge us for the ride but Ha put him in place and we headed towards the north east corner of Siem Reap, to an area far away from where any foreigners ever go. The houses there looked the way most Cambodian houses do – thatched barns on stilts made exclusively of wooden planks. This is what most Cambodians live in and so did Ha’s uncle and his wife who accommodated Ha during her stay in Siem Reap.

The house had a little storage room attached to itself at the front end, it was only big enough to have one bed also made of bare wooden planks inside and that’s where Ha and her daughter were staying. Roof was covered with random, irregularly shaped pieces of metal, wood and thatch, with many holes that let water in when it was raining. Since there was nowhere to hide inside of that room and since it was rainy season, the two ladies must have been getting rained on on regular basis. From a westerner’s point of view, it looked like something I wouldn’t even throw a dog to live in and here it was used as the only way by a 23 year old girl and her 4 year old daughter. But the worst part was, that they had to pay (unreasonably high) monthly rent for it.

Photo: Big Lizard Crawling Down The Base of the House Where Ha and Her Daughter Lived
Photo: Big Lizard Crawling Down The Base of the House Where Ha and Her Daughter Lived

From what Ha explained to me, her uncle wanted to actually help her out and wouldn’t mind leaving her in the room for free, but his wife (Who is Cambodian – typical) was against and decided to cash on a desperate couple that didn’t have many options and had to take whatever was offered to them. Way to make a bank on other people’s misfortune.

This was how Ha and her daughter lived. No wonder she was so excited to accept my invitation to sleep with me in an air conditioned room, on a soft bed with blankets and with shower with clean water. Coming from a dog house that looked like slaves storage facility, anything would be an upgrade.

Photo: Home Made Decoration Reflected The Condition of the House
Photo: Home Made Decoration Reflected The Condition of the House

But let’s get back to kids and how I couldn’t stand them. After I had met with Ha’s daughter, my hatred for kids was gone. I started to understand what she meant when she said that she loved her daughter and could not imagine her life without her. I started to understand where the beauty of small children lies. My perception of children was wrong, but was I in for a surprise! If at some time I couldn’t stand kids, then after meeting Ha’s daughter this feeling was in me no more.

Photo: Little Girl Showing Me Where She Lives
Photo: Little Girl Showing Me Where She Lives

More photos of this little girl in the 4 Year Old Daughter Photo Gallery.

Flight from Seoul to Siem Reap

When I landed in Seoul, South Korea, it was the first time in my life I set foot on Asian soil. It was an exciting feeling. I have never been to Asia before so finally make it meant a great deal to me. The view of South Korea from the window of an airplane suggested that weather in this country was spectacular. It was virtually cloudless, other than some random tiny cloud here and there. I thought – if weather is this gorgeous in East Asia, surely it will be equally nice in South-East Asia, where I was heading to. But then again – I was well aware of the fact that September is the peak of the rainy season in Cambodia so I did not hold my breath. Seeing cloudless, sunny weather South Korea was enjoying left me a little bit encouraged.

Flight from Vancouver to Seoul took well over 10 hours. It was a long, long flight. Pacific Ocean is not a short distance to cover. Seeing the land below our plane delivered the feeling of landing soon which I’m sure every passenger aboard could not wait for. Good thing about South Korea is that once you have reached the east coast, the west coast where capital city Seoul is located is not far away. It also means that wherever in South Korea you are, you’re never too far from the beach. Having this narrow shape definitely has its advantages.

Incheon airport in Seoul is not very large. I was only transiting as my final destination was Siem Reap so I wasn’t hassled by Korean customs authorities and just followed the signs to connection flights. There wasn’t that much to do at Incheon, however connecting to their free WiFi internet was hassle free, unlike the crap experience in Vancouver. I was glad to have equipped myself with the universal power plug adapter which made its first use at Incheon. I only had a couple of hours to kill there and thanks to the internet, my time waiting for the Siem Reap flight flew by quickly. Before I knew it, the boarding was started. I have waited until everyone was in, have packed up my lap top and headed towards the gate to be the last person on board.

The plane wasn’t sold out solid, but I was the unlucky one to have been given the seat right next to two kids. Having just gone through near 11 hours on a plane, I really didn’t feel like being exposed to screaming kids for additional 5 hours. I felt tired and wanted to take a nap. I’ve asked the flight attendant if it was possible for me to sit elsewhere as I didn’t want to sit by the kids, but since this was the flight between Seoul and Siem Reap (aka none of the ports of call were English speaking), my words were not understood.

One person who did understand me was the father of those kids who was willing to aid me in re-seating myself. He however suggested that his daughters are well behaved and generally quiet. That was a bit encouraging, but I was really tired to risk it and it did prove a good idea. Well behaved or not, kids talk too loud and too much disturbing everyone around and while it’s sometimes bearable, it becomes excessively difficult if you’re exposed to it right after a long flight.

Luckily for me, I was able to increase the distance between me and the kids and even ended up taking a brief nap during the flight. Before I knew it, we were landing in my terminal destination for this trip – Siem Reap, Cambodia. And yes, it was pissing cats and dogs.