Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All about Cambodia

We arrived to a beautiful warm and humid Cambodia and spent our first few nights in the small town of Siem Reap....definitely one of those "roll with the punches" kinds of cities....meaning we stayed in a small little 'resort' where i had the pleasure of showering with bugs and salamanders :) But compared to those that had a cold-only option on their showers, I think we made out pretty well. The people here are amazing, beautiful, poor and happy. We have encountered many locals that don't speak any english but some how we manage to get by. We had a tour guide by the name of Kachel (whom we all absolutely adored) for our two days in Siem Reap and were sad today when we had to leave him behind as we headed to Battanbang. Speaking of the trip to Battanbang, let me just tell you about our lovely little bus ride. I hopped on the bus only to see all but one seat taken and 3 more people (myself included) still in need of a seat. My first thought was "oh my gosh they screwed up! There's not enough seats for everyone!"Little did I realize that oh yes there were indeed enough seats for everyone because two of them were fold downs attached to the aisle seats :) Yes, that is correct. I was lucky enough to grab the last actual seat but Kelly and Sarah were unfortunately not so lucky. So after folding down what was to be their seats for the next 5, yes 5, hours we headed out on our drive to Battanbang. This part makes me chuckle a bit because while I didn't have any real notions about what Cambodia would be like, whenever I thought of our time here I could not for the life of me get this image of us on a bus driving down some bumpy, dirt road out of my head - who would have guessed I was such a pyschic! The road we were driving on was so bumpy that at some point we hit a huge pot hole and the four of us in the very back row actually flew out of our seats! Granted it was only for a few seconds, but still. Eventually I sighted pavement, I never thought I would be so happy to see pavement but when you have been sitting on a small, barely air conditioned bus in the middle of a dirt plain after having driven down a gravel road - you would be happy to! So we approach the pavement and I think to myself "fabulous, we will have a smooth ride the rest of the way and my pillow will actually stop sliding out from under my head from the bumps"- end of thought. Well as it turned out we did end up on the pavement, for about 5 minutes. Apparently some one decided to lay about 100 yards of pavement then stop so after about 100 yards of bumpless gloriousness we returned to our all too familiar turbulence. At some point you really did have to chalk it all up to the experience. The drive did provide an incredible insight to the reality of how many Cambodians live in the country - very poor but managing to move forward. We arrived aroun 7 pm in the evening and went out to dinner. This is the first time I think we have had access to "realiable" internet since we got to Cambodia. Tomorrow we visit an HIV/AIDS orphanage for kids then go to a community center for kids in the afternoon - it is the start to official business here. We are also excited to catch the inaguration this evening!

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