– Cambodia 4

Entries “January 2007
“:

Sunday, 14 January 2007
New Photos (from Ken and Ellen’s visit January 2007
)

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Bayton Temple in Angkor Thom

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Bayon Temple (close-up) in Angkor Thom

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Bayon Temple (even closer!) in Angkor Thom

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A temple in Angkor Thom. Can you identify it? (cause we haven’t, eh)

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Ta Phrom Temple, Andrew and Ellen

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Kbal Spien

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Lingas (carved),  Kbal Spien

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Pre Rup Temple (pray you don’t fall!)

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Pre Rup Temple, Andrew, Ellen and Ken

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Pre Rup Temple

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Nick Butler, VSO ecotourism volunteer in Prek Toal Protected Area and our guide.  Jolly good show Nick! 

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View of Floating Village from Prek Toal Core Area Management Center 

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Painted storks and black headed Ibises through viewing platform telescope, Prek Toal Protected Area

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Floating House in Prek Toal

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Temple, Prek Toal

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Tour of PrekToal Floating Village

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Prek Toal Floating Village

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Flooded Forest, Tonle Sap Lake

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Ken, Ellen and Andrew on way to Rabbit Island, near Kep

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Kep Shoreline

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Bamboo Island, near Kep

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You guessed it, another photo of Bamboo Island!!

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Andrew and Ellen at the Champey Inn, Kep

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Champey Inn, Kep

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Andrew, Ken and Ellen hiking in Kep

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Countryside on ride back to Phnom Penh from Kep 12:07 PM    Send entry     Posted by: jules    in: My travelblog Modified on January 14, 2007
at 12:42 PM Monday, 08 January 2007
Mekara (January) 2007

Happy New Year Everybody!

From the photos and stories we’ve heard it sounds like it was a white Christmas in Ontario and New Mexico.  Looks like 2 ft of fresh snow in Santa Fe.  Holy vaquero!  Just when you thought it would be a dry winter and then…….boom!  Time to get out the x-c and downhill skiis!  Sounds like Ontario got some too but not the biggie yet.

We’re officially in the ‘cool and windy’ season.  The cooler temperatures ie. high 20’s Celsius did not set in until mid-Dec however, and we are enjoying the weather as much as we can while it lasts.  To make things even better, we have been able to take some exciting and educational field trips and a few fun vacations to the lake and seaside.  

In mid-Dec Julie and I traveled to Siem Reap province at the north end of the lake.  We made 2 separate trips to floating villages Kampong Pluk and Chong Kneas.  Kampong Pluk was wonderful: with our co-volunteer Rachel in the Fisheries Dept we saw wooden houses on poles 40 ft high, boated through flooded forest and ate lunch served by friendly peolple at the floating restaurant and education center.  We’ve been told that this community has a lot of solidarity which has made its new livelihoods projects and fishery successful.  It seems they have been mostly successful in asserting their fishing rights in the face of large outside commercial interests as well as following self-imposed restrictions and providing resident education to make their community fishery sustainable.  Increasing numbers of “ecotourists” are creating jobs at the restaurant and boat driver co-op where revenues are shared. 

On our boat trip to the floating village Chong Kneas, adjacent to the port of Siem Reap, we passed floating schools, homes, administration buildings and the Gecko Center, a one-room floating house for educating tourists, local fisherman and school children.  I am presently involved in efforts to upgrade this center with large illustrative educational hanging displays, new funiture and paint.  We expect we may have school children come in to paint a portion of the walls with murals.  Just before New Years, Julie visited a fish sanctuary on the shores of Kampong Chnang province where she and her Dept of Fisheries co-workers learned about local methods for protecting flooded forest.  A lunch of whole upside down turtle went largely untouched by the volunteers.  I think I would also have a more difficult time eating this than the giant fried spiders, ants in fermented fish sauce, fish heads and pig and chicken hearts which we have eaten with our co-workers to prove how keen we are.

Last weekend Julie and I took a 4-day Christmas holiday on the beaches and islands of Sihanoukville/Kampong Som.  Our second weekend alone in Cambodia!  On Tuesday evening I received a message from my Ministry of the Environment TSEMP volunteer counterpart that the recently cancelled annual meeting was back on.  So, the next morning while Julie was riding the bus back to Phnom Penh I bought a shirt and trousers and caught the fast boat up the scenic coast line passing nearly endless beaches and islands to Koh Kong City.  Thursday was the meeting.  Friday was a field trip to Peam Krasaop, a mangrove forest estuary with large lakes. After the boat ride and board walk our Dept interviewed village leaders to discuss joint plans for ecotourism including extending the board walk through the mangroves, boat tours for dolphin and monkey viewing and for sustainable livelihoods including tourist homestays and handicrafts.  It was workdays like this which reminded me of why we came to Cambodia!

For New Years weekend we (mostly Julie) organized for 10 of us volunteers a fun trip to Bamboo Island off the coast.  A great time with a lazy boat ride to the island, volleyball and soccer on the beach, dancing, and good food and drink!  Tourism really growing here and the many stories of the restarant and bungalow owners in this frontier business climate are intriguing.  As development comes in its appears that Cambodia may become another Thailand for better or worse.   

With the departure of some volunteers and consultants from Julie’s workplace and with her competence and local knowledge becoming more obvious to her boss, she is being given increasingly important tasks.  On Tuesday Julie was given a day’s notice to do a presentation for 50 people on strategies for better natural resource management and secure livelihoods.  After staying up to 1:30am the night before she did an impressive job we hear.  Yeh Julie!  

Next blog entry: Ken and Ellen’s visit!

Talk to you soon.

Andrew and Julie 

Posted from Cambodia:

posted Monday May 2007

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