Cambodia Part 3

It will be a week today(this evening to be exact) that I have been in Kampot, at Banteay Srey.

Started off with getting to know Erin and Jemma(the other volunteers) – we stayed at Eden echo village, Monday nigh. It is located on the other side of the River and up about 5k or so from us. Absolutely stunning! We each had our on little hut on the water. One wall of the hut opening up to the river with a hammock right on the edge of the hut and river. I literally couldn’t sleep that night – all I could think is how could I sleep when I could look outside at my beautiful surroundings! I absolutely loved it there!

I had Tuesday and Wednesday off. Tuesday being a relaxed and lazy day. Wednesday I rented a bicycle and rode around for 5 and a half hours. It was amazing! I was out on my own exploring the town and the villages around us. The down fall to this was, it was really hot that day(shocking for here…I know….) and even though I had sunblock on I got a little burnt… And due to the length of time I was out there riding around my butt hurts(still). You would think that with bicycles being one of there ways of transportation that they would put a little more cushion on their seats.

Erin and Jemma have given me a clear idea of what critters to expect in my hut. And I have given them a clear idea of how I feel about said critters…

I’m not used to everything that I encounter in my hut but as Erin said just start naming them and it will be easier to accept them. So I did.

My first encounter was while I was taking a shower. I looked in the morrow and behind me was a big black gecko! In my head I am telling myself not to scream. There were trainees on the other side of my hut working in the garden, and I didn’t want to scare them or have them running in to see if I was ok, only to see me naked and screaming at a gecko.

So I stood there, terrified, trying to stay calm… Then it moved! ‘OMG!!!!’ – came out of my mouth, not loud enough for anyone to come running. I quickly finished up in the shower and got out of the hut as fast as possible.

I have acknowledge the fact that I will run into this one again and he wants nothing to do with me(this doesn’t mean that I am ok with it!). So as Erin recommended I gave him a name. Javier.

I also have a massive snail in my bathroom. His name is Bob. The snails here are on steroids! Honestly!

I have a gecko that sits outside my hut by the door. He is door man Sam. He small, and therefore easier for me to accept.

Then there is the gecko in my hut, hangs out on my ceiling usually by my head. This is one of the bigger ones. Not really accepting of them taking up residency right above me but there is nothing I can do. This one is Georgia. She is actually hanging out above me right now.

So there it is, my ‘pets’…. That are suppose to eat mosquitoes and such… According to the state of my legs, my geckos have been slacking off.

Not used to them but I acknowledge their existence. And everyday is a new surprise as to what I am going to find in my hut.

OFF insect repellant has been my perfume of choice. Followed by a fantastic moisturizer – Polysporin itch relief.

All of this complemented by a severe heat rash.

I personally don’t question why I am single. Especially in this state. Plus I just names the critters in my hut…

Lol.
It will be a week today(this evening to be exact) that I have been in Kampot, at Banteay Srey. Started off with greeting to know Erin and Jemma(the other volunteers) – we stayed at Eden Monday night which is a guest house/place to stay if traveling. It is located on the other side of the River and up about 5k or so from us. Absolutely stunning! We each had our on little hut on the water. One wall of the hut opening up to the river with a hammock right on the edge of the hut and river. I letter ally couldn’t sleep that night – all I could think is how could I sleep when I could look outside at my beautiful surroundings! I absolutely loved it there!

I had Tuesday and Wednesday off. Tuesday being a relaxed and lazy day. Wednesday I rented a bicycle and rode around for 5 and a half hours. It was amazing! I was out on my own exploring the town and villages around us. The down fall to this was, it was really hot that day(shocking for here…I know….) and even though I had sunblock on I got a little burnt… And due to the length of time I was out there riding around my butt hurts(still). You would think that with bicycles being one of there ways of transportation that they would put a little more cushion on their seats.

Erin and Jemma have given me a clear idea of what critters to expect in my hut. And I have given them a clear idea of how I feel about said critters…

I’m not used to everything that I encounter in my hut but as Erin said just start naming them and it will be easier to accept them. So I did.

My first encounter was while I was taking a shower. I looked in the morrow and behind me was a big black gecko! In my head I am telling myself not to scream. There were trainees on the other side of my hut working in the garden, and I didn’t want to scare then or have them running in to see if I was ok, only to see me naked and screaming at a gecko.

So I stood there, terrified, trying to stay calm… Then it moved! ‘OMG!!!!’ – came out of my mouth, not loud enough for anyone to come running. I quickly finished up in the shower and got out of the hut as fast as possible.

I have acknowledge the fact that I will run into this one again and he wants nothing to do with me(this doesn’t mean that I an ok with it!). So as Erin recommended I gave him a name. Javier.

I also have a massive snail in my bathroom. His name is Bob. The snails here are on steroids! Honestly!

I have a gecko that sits outside my hut by the door. He is door man Sam. He small, and therefore easier for me to accept.

Then there is the gecko in my hut, hangs out on my ceiling usually by my head. This is one of the bigger ones. Not really accepting of them taking up residency right above me but there is nothing I can do. This one is Georgia. She is actually hanging out above me right now.

So there it is, my ‘pets’…. That are suppose to eat mosquitoes… According to the state of my legs, my geckos have been slacking off.

Not used to them but I acknowledge their existence. And everyday is a new surprise as to what I am going to find in my hut.

OFF insect repellant has been my perfume of choice. Followed by a fantastic moisturizer – Polysporin itch relief.

All of this complemented by a severe heat rash.

I personally don’t question why I am single. Especially in this state. Lol.

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Cambodia Part 2

Yesterday I left Phnom Pehn and traveled 5 hours on a bus to Kampot.

It was was actually a really nice drive. I was able to see all of the little villages along the way.

When arriving in Kampot, I then had to take a  tuk-tuk to the school. Although it was not far, I was tried and just wanted to settle in and go to bed.

The driver dropped me off, in what I felt like was the middle of nowhere. And it was dark out.  I walked down this little dirt drive-way to the gates…only to find them locked! This can only happen to me.

So I am standing there with no one to call, no door bell to ring, no one to text…in front of gates that are locked, in the dark. What am I going to do now?!

I walked to the street – nothing in either direction. I walked back to the gates started yelling ‘hello!?’ Nothing. No movement. No signs of anyone around. Great!

So I started looking at the gate and the fence around it. The fence has barbed wire – so that is out of the question. The gate has some decorative spikes on the top of it – can I climb over and maneuver around them???

I walked back and forth from the gate to the street. Thinking what am I going to do? There’s not even a tuk-tuk in sight to bring me back to town!

Finally, it had been long enough, I just need to get to there other side of this gate and clearly the only way that is going to happen is if I jump it. So I did! I threw all of my bags over the gate and carefully climbed over it. Thinking the whole time FML! I can’t believe I am doing this! And what am I going to do when I get to the other side? What if there really isn’t anyone is here?? Well at least I will feel better being on this side of the gates.

I collected my bags and headed down the path having no idea where I was going. I walked up to the main building to find someone inside. I told her who I was. And with no questions asked about how I got through the gate, she showed me to my hut.

Although I knew I was staying in a hut, it was still a little shocking..not going to lie. As she opened the door and said ‘this is your room’. I said ‘ok. Yeah. Wow. This is it. Ok. Great….yeah…’ And then she showed me the bathroom. I’m sure she kept talking but I wasn’t paying attention as I was trying to figure out in my head how the toilette work. She left my room and went back to the main building.  I took a few minutes to take it all in. Figure out where everything was going to go…everything is going to stay in my bag because there is no place to put my clothes. So that was easy. Let’s go back to this washroom again, and try to figure this whole thing out.

I couldn’t figure it out. I went back to the main building and asked her how the toilette worked. She came back to my room and said I need a bucket. She left my room and returned with two buckets. She said to fill the larger one with water and scoop the water up with the smaller one and the water in the toilette. ‘That is all I have to do?’  – ‘yes’ then she left. In my head I’m thinking but how does that work? I keep filling the toilette with water and eventually everything goes down?? And why is there no toilette paper? – I was too tired to ask any more questions or figure it out on my own. I just wanted to go to sleep.

So I got myself sorted. Put the mosquito net around my bed and went to sleep… For a very short period of time. The noises from the animals and critters outside my hut came alive. Noises that I haven’t heard before and I didn’t want to figure out what it was that was making the noise. There was one that sounded like it was trying to naw it’s way through my straw hut. And then it happened….there was one on the roof of my hut. It sounded like it was trying to dig it way in. Two thoughts – 1 I have 4 weeks of this….omg what am I doing. 2 – just stay within the magical mosquito net. Where nothing can come in…you would tell yourself the same thing!

On top of already fighting the jet lag, I barely slept.

5am the cat jumped off the roof of my hut. A cat! This whole time! Omg! Well that explains the one noise..

At that point I just read my book. Eventually got up and showered. Nice cold and refreshing. And made my way to the main building.

The surroundings are beautiful! We are right on the river.

I meet two other volunteers- Jemma, from Australia and Erin from Ajax(so close to home!)

We ended up at the guest house next door for tea and breakfast. They told me everything I need to know(even how the toilets work). What bugs and critter I will encounter and what to expect in general while volunteering. I felt so much better after talking with them!!!  Erin brought me into town and showed me around. Had lunch at a little cafe. The food is so good here!

It’s actually very beautiful and peaceful here!

Eventually I will get used to the noises at night and the critters in my hut.

I told the girls that if they hear me screaming, it is because there is a rat or snake in my room. They laughed..I was serious.

I have tomorrow off and then I teach on Wednesday. Fingers crossed all goes well!

🙂

Cambodia Part 1

I have been in Phnom Penh for a day and a half now and I can not put into words how my experience has been so far.

It has been eye opening and at the same time amazing!

Yesterday I started off trying to explore the city on my own. I quickly realized that it is so much easier to just get in a tuktuk and get the driver navigate his way through the city. That being said the driver’s here are crazy! The lines on the road don’t exist. They are just splashes of paint on the road. Drivers weave in and out of traffic (that includes oncoming traffic) without a care in the world. Stop signs and lights(rarely seen) just means to either slow down or stop before heading into oncoming traffic as they try to cross 4 lanes of traffic.

I went to the killing field yesterday – no one can really prepare you for what you see and hear there. It was heart breaking, shocking, unimaginable…. It was emotional. You get a clear understanding of what happened here and why this place is the way it is. At any point while walking through the audio guided tour – I stopped in my tracks shocked and in disbelief as to what I the man in my ear was telling me as I stood and looked at what happened at each station of this tour.

I was in such disbelief that I stopped and looked around at everyone else – thinking to myself..is this really what happened 30 years ago?! Am I hearing these stories correctly??! When looking around at everyone else, my thoughts were affirmed. Everyone stopped in their tracks. Some had to sit down and take it all in(which I did as well). Some stood there crying(which I am doing now as a I recap everything that I heard and saw).

There are things in life that can not be unseen or unheard. This will forever be with me.

I ended my travels for the day by sitting down with my tuktuk driver and asking questions about Cambodia. He told me about growing up here, the distance he had to walk to and from school, the rich people and the poor(there is no in between), his family, what he does for work and what he would like to do if he had the money.

Some of his stories were hard to hear – about why and how his family is poor. His relationship with each member of his family, etc… Sam lost his father at the age of seven. His mother remarried a few years later to a man that Sam(my driver) did not like(for many reasons). When mention of his step-father, Sam’s attitude changed. Sam became bitter, and angry. Eventually he told me stories of his step-father and how their ‘relationship’ was. They did not get along and Sam did fear him. His step-father ended up spending all of the money that Sam’s family had, which left them poor and struggling just to get by.

Sam ended up leaving home after only completing two years of school. He went to the temple and asked the monks to let him stay there and work for them. He didn’t want to become a monk. He just wanted a safe place to stay. The monks eventually agreed to let Sam stay there. He did anything the monks needed and got paid very little. He was happy. 6 years later, Sam left the temple and worked odd jobs here and there to save money and put himself through school to learn English. Everyone back in his village questioned and made fun of him for learning English but Sam saw it as an opportunity. He thought that if he knew the language it would open more doors for him, better jobs, more income. And eventually maybe become a teacher. Unfortunately, due to money Sam was not able to complete his education but has a plan that within the next 4 years it will be completed.

I was captivated by his stories and everything he has been through. And at the end of it all he has goals to become something more.

Inspirational!