Second Day Excursion

The last day of this staff retreat was dedicated to fun and travel. There were no meetings. We got up, ate breakfast, and piled into the buses for a boat trip to the Tatai waterfall where we played and ate lunch. Then it was another long ride back to Phnom Penh.

Waiting for breakfast
We had ordered breakfast the night before in order to be able to eat quickly and get on the road early. It was not to be. We arrived in the dining area at 7:00 AM and at 8:00 AM some had still not been served.

Boarding the river boats
The morning was set aside for a boat trip on a river leading to a scenic waterfall. The staff boarded long-tailed boats, ten to a boat, in a remote area of the coastal province.

Heading upstream
All the staff were encouraged to wear life jackets because Cambodian people have little experience at swimming. Boats almost never have enough life jackets for the number of people allowed to board, however.

Clambering over the rocks
There is no dock or landing area at the waterfall so everyone must clamber over the rocks to get to the shore. One of our staff was on crutches but moving diligently but cautiously she made it.

More photo opportunities
In the age of digital cameras, every new vista is seen first of all as another opportunity for photos.

Enjoying the water
Near the top levels of the falls were several pools that allowed people to splash at will or to sit under the cascading water.

DDP staff in the river
During the several hours at the waterfall, probably more than half the staff took advantage of the cool, clear stream.

A pool for swimming
At the foot of the falls was a larger pool where people could actually swim and dive off the rocks into deeper areas.

Eating lunch
Then as people dried off, it was time to eat the lunch we had brought with us.

Leaving the waterfall area
Finally it was time to turn the boats around and back toward the sea and the landing where our buses were parked. Stretches of the river were eerily reminiscent of Apocalypse Now.

Arriving at the buses
No one was in a hurry to get off the boats because the next stage of the three-day retreat was the long bus ride back to Phnom Penh, a good seven to nine hours.

Stopping at a rest area
We stopped a couple times for bathroom breaks and so staff could buy fruit and other delicacies in the provinces to bring home.

Factory workers crammed into a van
As we reached the great Phnom Penh area, we encountered many factory workers changing shifts at the garment factories. These young women were crammed into and on top of a totally unsafe van.

Driving in the wrong lane
Our bus driver didn't like the long, long lines of traffic that are part of every day life every evening near Phnom Penh and he moved our bus into the opposite lane. Here our bus is going the wrong way on the other side of the highway--along with others doing the same--so that only motorcycles could proceed in their own lanes. Not unusual in Cambodia, unfortunately....

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