Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cambodia part 3, Siem Reap


The next day instead of the big tour of temples we hiked up to a water fall and then went to the Ta Phrom Jungle temple that was made famous in the "Tomb Raider" movie.  We were not actually expecting a hike to this waterfall. I only had sandals to wear since I wasn't expecting to do anything where I would need to wear tennis shoes. We thought it would be a short easy walk. Instead it was a long hike and there really wasn't much of a trail. There were lots of rocks and huge boulders. It had rained the night before so it was slick. A police officer led us so that we would not wonder off the trail and go into parts that were off limits because they still weren't sure if they were all clear of landmines. When we finally got to the water fall it was not that impressive and we had been told the day before we would swim, but there was definitely not enough way to swim. We were only there for about 5 minutes to take a few pictures and then he led us back down. On the way back down I trip and hit my left big toe and cracked the nail way down so it was bleeding. I luckily had a band aid and got it wrapped up. Then a few minutes later I slipped and hurt my little toe on the same foot.

When we got down we had lunch before going on to Ta Phrom jumgle temple. I had no idea until later on that it was the temple made famous by the movie "Tomb Raider". It was a really cool temple. I think my very favorite one. The trees were incredible. We ate at a Mexican restaurant, Viva, for dinner. It was wonderful. Since I had not eaten Mexican food for over two years it was a great change from Asian food.

The next day we went to see a Floating village and took a boat ride on Lake Tonle Sap. These villages do not use stilts for the houses. The houses are actually floating. During different times of the year they are tied so they don't float too far. They are moved up the river and then onto dry land during the dry season and then moved down the river and to the lake when it is rainy season. They lose lots of people every year during storms. Lots of times it is little children because they are left behind when the parents go to work fishing. We were told about a school for students that don't have parents anymore. We had seen a grocery store so when we were ask to buy food for the students we thought it was going to be that grocery store. Instead we were taken to a place that had three items: rice, instant noodles and water. The rice was very expensive, and we didn't approve of the instant noodles so we went with the bottles of water. We took the bottles of water to the school and gave it to the children. We interacted with them some. They were on a break and so they were playing games. We were told that the teacher works for free but gets room and board. While we were there another group of people came with instant noodles.  

After that we went to a Silk Farm. We saw the whole process of how silk is made. I had no idea, so it was very interesting to see. Followed by a Spice factory. It started pouring rain on the way from the silk farm to spice factory. We did a shortened tour of the spice factory since it was pouring rain, although, we did have umbrellas they gave us to use. We saw enough and got enough explanation to understand how it worked. They make soap, candles, spices for food and incense.  We had a late lunch at the Bengal Tiger. We had dinner at The Warehouse that was across the street from Viva. The food was ok. We went and watched the traditional dance on the top floor of another building.

Our last day we just kind of hung out at the hotel. We slept in and then I stayed in the room for awhile and read while Sally went to the pool and sunbathed for awhile. When I got out to the pool it decided to start raining, so once it took a break we went to a market and did lots of shopping for gifts. We had a late lunch at a restaurant. We gave a young girl some of our lunch because the portions were huge and she was hungry. I don't know if she really got to eat it because a few minutes after we had the restaurant people box it up I saw her over by the kitchen. I wondered if they made her give it back. After we left we bumped into her a few minutes later at another place and she was not carrying the food. It poured that night so we just ate dinner and watched a puppet and then dance show at our little boutique hotel, the Alliance Cafe. 

The next day we rode the bus back to Phnom Penh. When we arrived we checked into our hotel and then went for a walk. We got a last foot massage and pedicure. Then we went and found a place for dinner. After that we went to a bar that had some local musicians that were performing for open mike night. 


Camping Trip with year 10

On October 15th we left a little after 8am to go to Karanggongso beach. On the way there it started pouring rain. We stopped not far from the camp site and had lunch at a restaurant where the seating was on the floor. When we got to the mountain it was still pouring rain. It was hard to go over the mountain on the narrow roads in our big bus. When we got to the beach it was not raining. They had already brought our bags down and so it was easy to get them to our tents. I have a tent to myself as all of the teachers had their own tent. The tents are very close together. Well my mattress was one I had to blow up. It is not very wide or very thick. About the time it was time for bed I got a horrible stomach ache. I got sick several times. We only have 3 toilets at the site so I had to wait my turn. One of the teachers gave me 3 different medicines but each time I vomited. Finally finished and decided to lay down. I think it was from the tempeh. It was the second time I have gotten sick from it, so I think I am no longer going to eat it. My tent sloped so I kept sliding down because the sleeping bag and mattress were out of slick materials. The mosquito stuff I bought did not work well so I got 2 bites on my ankle. It started pouring rain about midnight. My tent didn't close all the way so I had a puddle in the bottom and it dripped a in the middle on me. My pillow got wet. The students started running around since their tents were also leaking. About 3a.m. they were finally allowed to sleep in the main tents so that we could get some sleep. We had to get up at 5:30a.m. the next morning.

Since I was sick the first night then the next morning I opted out of the trekking. They had to go through water to climb some steep rocks to get to the trail. I just hung out and wrote. I bought a notebook as I did not think I would have time to read and did not bring a book. After lunch I was with the group building sandcastles first and then going to learn about fish netting. Then I came back and watched the other group build castles and swim. After that I supervised dinner. After dinner they had fun and games. They were supposed to have a night walk, but the ocean rose so the waves came all the way up and flooded some tents. We had to postpone the night walk so that they could move those tents.

Then in the middle of the night it started pouring and my tent leaked even worse. So I woke up. I wanted to shower and put on dry clothes but the shower was not open. The cooking tent had huge puddles and water on everything. So we had to do all the cooking on the teacher's cook stove. The water rose again and got close to the two big tents. I was cold, wet, had a headache and my eyes hurt. They made tempeh again so I just had rice. The morning activity was sailing & first aid so I stayed behind. The afternoon was paintball & sea tubbing. I did sea tubbing & had lots of fun.  That night we did the rescheduled night walk. The teachers were spread out along the path so that we could make sure the students kept to the path and for those students that were scared it was a comfort to them. I have gotten so many mozzie bites even with repellent I hope I do not get dengue.

I finally slept well last night. This morning the students got up and did aerobics. They were supposed to take turns leading but most just stood there. Today is community & service. We left late. They should have skipped aerobics and started cooking since we are limited on toilets and showers. We only have 4 toilets. The number of showers is ok. The students used too much water so they shut it off for awhile to teach them a lesson. The rest of the time the toilets were locked and only one could be open at night. In order to use it the keys have to be tracked down and sometimes there is a long wait if there is someone using it. We had to make several trips in the two trucks that were available to us.  When we arrived at the school some students screamed when they saw me while others giggled. I went with my group and sat at the back of the room. They presented in Indonesian since it was a local school. After we got done we went back for lunch. After lunch they taught the students to smoke fish and then did team building activities. In the evening the students got ready for their team dance performances for the camp fire. When it was time for the camp fire it started sprinkling, so we went into the main tent and the students got more time to practice. They shut all the flaps so it got really hot in there with everyone inside. Eventually it quit so we were able to go back out and do the camp fire dance and ceremony. The students were, of course, all excited, so it took them a long time to settle down after we finished up. The next morning we got up early and got ready and finished packing. The students had to go around and pick up all the trash. After that was a closing ceremony and then we left. On the way back we just stopped and picked up lunch boxes and kept going. It took us longer to get back than to get there. We were all ready to be back and ready for our own houses and everything that comes with them.