– Cambodia 6

Entries “November 2006”:

Tuesday, 21 November 2006 Happy (US) Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to our family and friends in the United States!  Hope yours is feasting, fun and good company.  Its a wonderful holiday isn’t it?  All that great food and hanging around with your favourite people, and you don’t even have to buy any presents!  Well, writing this is starting to make me homesick.  But not to worry as there are a number of restaurants in town hosting big thanksgiving dinners!  In case you did not know but always wanted to, Canadian Thanksgiving is held the second Monday in October. Why?  Because to much turkey that close to xmas would be too much!  But really, this timing concides with the earlier northern harvest and also us to celebrate before it gets too cold! 

Thank you for all your emails and phone calls re. my bout with dengue fever and chickenpox.  I am recovering and my energy level is about 60% now.  My blisters and red blotches which recently covered most of me have receded enough that I can now get into restaurants and other public places.  Julie was wonderful in keeping me fed, medicated and iced as I did not have enough energy to do so myself.  I had general body, joint and muscle aches but no extreme pain.  The biggest hassle was spending nights in the tub and on ice trying to keep my temperature down.  It left us exhausted by morning.  We are excited about Friday as we think I can probably sneak into heavenly outdoor pool and hot tub at the Himawari Hotel on the Mekong waterfront.  We’re looking forward to meeting our American visitors Chris and Dana there.  Oh, and re. that work thing, on the Dr.s advice I’ll be returning to no more than half-time work for 2 wks starting Monday. Hopefully I’ll be at it full-time in just under 3 wks. One positive about my sickness is that it conicided with a 2-week James Bond marathon on TV.  I think one would have to choose Sean Connery as the best Bond of all.  Roger Moore had the worst fashion era no doubt. 

And here we go to post some more photos!…………

Love,  

Andrew & Julie 

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Homestay party in village.  From left: Sarah (Eng.), Norman (Eng.), Wanda (Neth.), Jan Simone (Neth.), Julie and Andrew

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Bert (Phillipines) and Beru (India)

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Mekong River boat trip with volunteers to Wat Hanchey, a Wat on a hill with spectacular views of rthe river

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Wat in Kampong Cham   2:55 PM    1 comments     Send entry     Posted by: jules    in: My travelblog Modified on November 21, 2006 at 3:28 PM Sunday, 19 November 2006 Even More Photos!!!

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VSO Friends Jan Simone (Holland),Marie (England), and Wanda (Holland)

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Khmer Language Teacher and His Family, Kampong Cham

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Local People Practising for Boat Races (near Kampong Cham)

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Our Front Yard,Phnom Penh

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Lotus Flowers in Pond, near Kampong Cham

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Phnom Penh, Riverside (Mekong River)

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Temple Stairs, Mekong River (near Kampong Cham)

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Temple Stairs, near Kampong Cham

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Traffic Chaos, Phnom Penh

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Typical Khmer House in Countryside

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View from Foreign Correspondence Club, Phnom Penh 5:15 AM    1 comments     Send entry     Posted by: jules    in: My travelblog Thursday, 16 November 2006 Finally, some photos!!!!!

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Andrew and Friends at VSO party in Kampong Cham

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Phnom Penh Boat Races

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Andy and I on Ferry Boat Crossing, Mekong River near Kampong Cham

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Boat Races, Phnom Penh

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Andrew and Fellow VSO’er Carolina on way to Rabbit Island near Kep

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Buddhist Temple, near Kampong Cham

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Cyclo Tour, Phnom Penh

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Emaciated Buddah, Kampong Cham

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Floating House on Mekong River near Kampong Cham

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Homestay Family, near Kampong Cham

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Homestay Family, near Kampong Cham

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Village kids near Kampong Cham

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House we lived at, at Village Homestay near Kampong Cham

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Fellow VSO’er Friends Jan Simone (Holland) and Carolina (Portugal) having lunch in Kep

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Jules and VSO Staff at Party, Kampong Cham

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Mekong River Scene

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Old Colonial Administrative Building, Phnom Penh

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Our House, Phnom Penh

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Our House, Phnom Penh

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Old Colonial House (our second home–ha ha!!), Phnom Penh

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Apartments, Phnom Penh

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Rabbit Island, near Kep

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Rabbit Island, near Kep

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Rice Fields, near Kampong Cham

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Royal Palace, Phnom Penh 10:22 AM    1 comments     Send entry     Posted by: jules    in: My travelblog Wednesday, 15 November 2006 Updates for November

Andrew and I cannot believe its already the 15th of November.  Time really flies when you are living in Cambodia!!!.  We are getting adjusted to living and working in Cambodia.  We love our wooden house in Phnom Penh; the Khmer family that owns the house (they live in the downstairs part of the house) are very sweet, and we feel very lucky to have them as our landlords.  Not to mention we really enjoy having their cleaner come and clean our house several times a week. The cleaner also does our laundry everyday, its pure heaven.  Doesnt sound like a true volunteer experience, does it?

Work is going well.  Andrew and I are getting used to our jobs at the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Fisheries.  Hopefully, we can work on some of the same projects, since our positions are both funded by the Asian Development Bank to work specifically on the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Project in Cambodia.  Last week, Julie travelled to Siem Reap (home of Angkor Watt) to attend a Department of Fisheries meeting with several Provincial Department of Fisheries staff, and several UN FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) staff to discuss Community Fisheries issues on Tonle Sap Lake.  The meeting was a very interesting meeting to attend, and to meet some of the stakeholders Julie will be working with on a regular basis.  Julie did not see Angkor Watt however, there will be plently of time to see it over the next year or so…

In the next few weeks, Andrew is scheduled to go in the field to meet his Provincial co-workers who work in the Provincial Department of the Environment offices.  He hopes to visit several floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake with his co-workers.

Two weekends ago, we went to the towns of Kampot and Kep with two of our VSO friends (Carolina from Portugal) and Jan Simon (from Holland).  Kampot is located approximately 3 hours south of Phnom Penh near the Gulf of Thailand.  Kampot and Kep were once holiday havens for rich Khmers and foreigners before the Cambodian Civil War and Khmer Rouge Regime.  Slowly but surely, these areas are being discovered once again, and tourists are starting to come back to these lovely areas.  Carolina will be posted with VSO in Kampot; Kampot is a lovely riverside town, with nearby mountains and waterfalls.  Approximately 1/2 hr south of Kampot is Kep, located on the Bay of Thailand.  Jan Simon, Carolina, Andrew and I took a local “taxi”to Kep and hired a local boatsman to take us to a island called “rabbit island”.  Rabbit Island was located approximately 1/2 hr boat ride off the coast.  It was pure paradise.  The island had lovely palm trees, hardly any tourists, a large rainforest, and local fishermen living in wooden houses.  We spent the day walking around the island (took us 3.5 hours to walk the perimeter of the island), eating seafood at the only “shack restaurant”on the island, and swimming, it was the best day we have had yet in Cambodia!! We didnt want to leave. However, its nice to know that we can get to the seashore in a relatively short time.  We would like to explore more of the coast, but as we have just over a year left in Cambodia, we still have time!!!

Julie’s friends Chris Sorenson and her husband Dana will be visiting Cambodia November 23-December 5th.  We are looking forward to showing them around Phnom Penh for a few days and hearing about their upcoming Cambodian adventures.  We have been so busy getting moved into our house and getting settled that we havent yet seen any of the tourist sites in Phnom Penh.  We hope to see some of these sites when folks come and visit us in Cambodia. 

That’s all for now. Take care.  Luv Andy and Jules 7:43 AM    Write comment     Send entry     Posted by: jules    in: My travelblog Sunday, 05 November 2006 Village Homestay and Phnom Penh Water Festival

Last weekend we had our village homestay to complete 7 1/2 weeks of in-country training.  It was one of seven lush villages which make up a larger community.  Julie and I stayed with a small family in a house on stilts with one main room, a tiny kitchen and a tiny bedroom.  We were given the bedroom, while mom and dad, grandma and the toddler slept in the main room. Though we stayed in one of the smallest houses we were very lucky.  We were surrounded by a friendly extended family and many children the entire weekend.  It was a great opportunity to get to experience village life, practice Khmer and play a lot of games with the kids.  By the second day we had a few dozen village kids at our house playing various outdoor games with us.  Wonderful!!

Early this week we moved into our house.  We are so happy.  We know we are spoiled to have someone doing our laundry and cleaning for us.  However, this has created a job for the nice young woman who lives with and does housework for the family downstairs.  She comes from a poor village where work is difficult to find and her parents could not support her.  So, we are happy that she is here. 

Today (Sunday), is the second day of Bon Om Touk (Water Festival).  We spent watched the dragon boat races with some VSO volunteers from the 3rd flr balcony of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club lounge. Watching the colorful boats and celebrations with a cooling breeze and good food is not a bad way to spend the day (especially for us poor self-sacrificing volunteers!).  However, we know we’ll be doing some rough travel to remote communities for work.  So, like one says, you got to balance these things. Allright then, just one more G and T!!  Anyway, meals these days without drinks would be a slight to all our European co-volunteers and friends and we are not inconsiderate folks. 

We have holidays Mon-Wed so tomorrow we are off to Kep for some beach hikes and seafood.  This is what we’ve gathered re. these little seaside towns on the Bay of Thailand: white sands, shady palms and flowers, backdrop mountains and old-world Khmer and French colonial charm.  Many people say that they experience a unique feeling when staying in old buildings of character or in old neighborhoods.  For me, after returning to southeast asia 15 years later, that special feeling from staying in old Siamese wooden houses or old French Colonial buildings has not dimished.  Perhaps it is that these old places assist our imagination and make it easier for us to connect with the past, picturing things as they were.     

Andrew and I recently started our jobs at the Department of Fisheries and the Department of the Environment in Phnom Penh.  I (Julie) attended a large fisheries meeting last friday with other VSO staff, consultants, folks working for various departments of the UN, and other fisheries staff working for the Department of Fisheries.  It was very interesting as there were a lot of powerpoint presentations in English, but all the presenting was done in Khmer.  There was a translator present at the meeting to translate Khmer to English.  I (Julie) felt as though I was at a big UN meeting, as the non Khmer people at the meeting listened to the translator on their headsets.  I (Julie) will be going to a department of fisheries meeting with my boss and other fisheries department staff in Siem Reap (home of Angkor Watt), approximately 6 hours north of here later this week.  Andrew is headed to the field to Tonle Sap Lake the following week for some fieldwork on the lake.  I suspect we will have lots to do over the next year or so.     

Signing off for now.  Cheers!

Andrew and Julie   

Posted from Cambodia:

posted Monday May 2007