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Cambodia and Bangkok with Mom

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Dear All,

 

So I started a trend of having whatever visitors I get write posts for me. Not only does this lesson my bi-weekly (sometimes monthly) load, but also I believe help give everyone else a different set of eyes to look through. So my mom came and went, it was great to see her and really made me miss home. Its one thing to just keep those things out of sight and out of mind, but whole different experience to share the life I have here with someone from “home”. I hope you enjoy reading what she has to say about everything we did! Take care all! Anyway, lets get on to her…. Go Wendy:

 

I knew I should have written this as I went along! I am so happy I was able to see Ryan, see where he lives, meet his friends. Visit parts of the world I would not normally see. Ryan planned the itinerary and was my tour guide all over Cambodia. He thought I should take over in Bangkok, but he was more skilled in getting around there as well.

 

These are the links for the pictures: Album One, and Album Two. You will notice there are pictures of food (including the crickets & spiders, which we did not eat). I will eventually get all of the pictures labeled so they might be self-explanatory.

 

Ryan picked me up at the Phnom Penh airport about 10 PM. The tuk-tuk took us to the hotel. The next day we picked up groceries, made arrangements to have suits made for Ryan (pants made for me) and headed to Angtasom by bus.

 

We had 3 glorious days there. There were good times & laughs with Siphen (his unofficial host mother) and her family. We went to bed with the cows and woke up with the chickens (except the morning the music from the temple woke us up at 5 AM!). We were treated to wonderful Khmer food – curry, luc loc, stir fried vegetables, lemon grass stuffed frogs, pork dishes and rice of course. We made 2 meals to share with them: pasta salad and pasta carbonara. We baked a german chocolate cake in her toaster oven (coincidentally it was Siphen’s birthday – what luck!) and made rambutan jam (rambutan). They were great hosts and their compound is beautiful!

 

Off to the coast! Kep (pronounced keip) and Rabbit Island. Our accommodation at Tree Top Bungalow was idyllic. Green, relatively cool with  view of the water. We sat out torrential rain in the restaurant while eating fresh crab (they keep them in traps in the ocean until you order it). We read in the sun on Rabbit Island and forgot the sunscreen (it wasn’t hot!). We slept well (under our mosquito nets) as it was nice & cool. The area was beautiful, the rain enjoyable. You get wet, but you’re not cold.

 

Back to Phnom Penh , then to Bangkok. Ryan had one set of goals there – to eat western food and see a real movie (McDonalds, Subway and Resident Evil in 3D). We toured & shopped: Emerald Buddha, Reclining Buddha, Grand Palace, Chinatown, Bangkok Zoo, ride on the river, sidewalk shopping and bazaars all over the place. Many sidewalks were filled with vendors of all types. They seemed to be grouped: fabric stores, bead shops, electronics (parts & computer refurbishing), kitchen items, clothing, etc. At the Bangkok Zoo we were within a few feet of an elephant and within 15 feet of a beautiful tiger. I think Ryan was in a bit of culture shock in Bangkok – there were more cars than motos. There were many international travelers in Bangkok representing many countries.

 

Siem Reap was the next stop back in Cambodia. The first evening was spent at the Mexican restaurant on Pub Row – drinking $1.00 frozen Margaritas ( I think there was some alcohol in them). The food was decent and the décor was interesting. Sombrero lamp shades and “Viva Mexico” on the wall.

 

We almost saw the sunrise at Angkor Wat. It was still beautiful. There were clouds in the sky and it rained the night before. The size of the buildings is amazing, The area is a collection of many temples. Angkor Wat is the biggest. Bayon has the great faces and Ta Prohm is the temple of the trees (site of filming Tomb Raider). I really enjoyed the trees; the way they took over and made the stones their home. You can see all of these in the pictures we took.

 

Two of Ryan’s Peace Corps friends were hosting a health conference for about 15 high school girls. Many of them had never been out of their village ( which was as much as 100 kilometers away). I was asked to speak about my education, job and a health topic. Part of the goal was for them to hear and interact with a native English speaker. I was the last speaker of the day. I was impressed at how attentive they were after a long day. I talked about diabetes (surprise!) and osteoporosis.

 

The last 24 hours at Siem Reap was filled with dinner with Ryan’s friends, Thai massage (for $8), pedicures ($6), shopping and a trip to the silk farm and weaving display. The silk farm was really interesting. They boil those poor worms until they aren’t even edible! I was totally fascinated at how they tie die the thread and weave it in without messing up the pattern.

 

Back in Phnom Penh after a 5 hour and $xx bus ride. We had a few more gifts to buy, visit to the tailors and dinners with other Peace Corps members. We were able to meet Siphen’s daughter Sreynoch and her cousin Linda for dinner (they are both in college there). Our last day was spent getting another Thai massage and attending the swearing in ceremony of this year’s Peace Corps volunteers. The speakers included the Acting Prime Minister of Cambodia and the US Ambassador to Cambodia. I was appropriately dressed  my new sampot (a Cambodian skirt Siphen gave me).

 

Ryan took me to the airport where we said farewell. I will see him next September at his cousin’s wedding. School was about to start & he was finishing a proposal that you will soon hear about.

 

I am so blessed to have been able to share this time with Ryan. He has wonderful friends and family in Cambodia. Thank you for a wonderful trip, Ryan!

Categories: peace corps