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Apologies to both you and ‘my girls.’ The organization I was volunteering for has asked me to remove the photos and videos of the girls from the web, as by posting them I was unknowingly violating their policy. I did have some concerns about posting them to begin with but felt that it was fairly anonymous, as I didn’t use the name of the organization, and also, as you know from my previous post, I knew that the MSNBC videos were out there for all to see.

I have since learned that the girls agreed to do the video (and only 4 out of the 10 who were asked did so) and they signed a release, etc. In any case, I of course do not want to endanger any of the girls (some of whom apparently have court cases pending, another thing of which I was unaware) and want to respect the wishes and policies of the organization, so they have been removed.

Slowly but surely getting my photos uploaded and ready for prime time. I’ve posted two new albums, the first from Kratie, my first stop in Cambodia, and my first day in which you may remember from The Facebook Chronicles: Outtake One.

Next one is Siem Reap, but just the town, not Angkor Wat, but that will be next. There are just so many photos to weed through. Which is how I’ve managed to put it off for four months. I do hope to get it done—and get them to you—soon.

Meantime, hope you enjoy these!

Note left in hotel room safe, Le Meridien Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Note left in hotel room safe, Le Meridien Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Yes, I really did this. I know it’s crazy, but…what else to do? Someone on staff at the fanciest hotel in town stole $20 out of my money belt (I only knew because I’d just counted it when I arrived.). From inside a locked safe. I didn’t want to make a fuss but I did want my money back. So I wrote this and put it in the safe and…voila! Next day, my missing $20 was back. I actually couldn’t believe it. I counted and recounted, as I’d done the day before when I realized it was missing, thinking mabye I’d just gone crazy. Nope. I may be crazy for other reasons, but that $20 was gone. And then it wasn’t. No doubt about it.

Note left the next day, Le Meridien Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Note left the next day, Le Meridien Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia

OK, I admit it was ridiculous for me to then start moralizing. But the catlady in me won out and I left this note locked in the safe the next day. Unfortunately, it was the day I was leaving, and while I was in the process of checking out, duh, the staff went to check the room for me (I’m used to more backpacker-type guest houses where you leave something behind, well, that’s your problem.). Someone came and told me I’d left the safe locked. Obviously they could open it and reset the code (or otherwise figure out my code, as the staff person with the sticky fingers had clearly done previously), but their concern was that I’d left something in there. I reassured them that I was certain I hadn’t and they were free to open it. I can’t imagine what the person who did so (presuming it was not Mr. or Ms. Sticky Fingers his- or herself) thought when they saw the note.

Right before I left, the hotel manager came over to chat and ask if my stay was OK. He handed me his card along with a very kind offer to assist me with anything I might need during my stay in Cambodia since it was not, in his estimation, an easy place for a foreigner. I wavered about telling him what had happened, but ended up keeping my promise to the thief. So to this day I don’t know if whoever found the note just threw it away or figured out what it meant and turned it over to someone. I suspect the former.

After four months in Cambodia, most of it spent in Phnom Penh, I’m getting set to move on. I’ve booked a ticket to Kuala Lumpur and leave in less than two weeks. My plan is to explore Malaysia and then Indonesia (and that is literally the extent of my plan as it currently exists). The other day I was thinking that the only thing I’m really sad about is leaving here ‘my girls,’ as I have come to think of them. As I have mentioned, though I suppose only in passing, I have been teaching English to teenage girls who are in an aftercare program run by an NGO here. They were all victims of child sex trafficking, and live with foster families here in Phnom Penh because it is unsafe for them to return to live with their families (some of whom, sorry to say, actually sold their young daughters into sexual slavery).

So I was thinking about my girls and remembered that I had never posted the links to some videos about them on here as I’d meant to do. And so I am remedying that now. Read the rest of this entry »

For the last few weeks (possibly even a month) I have had on my to-do list a notation to go up to Street 172 here in Phnom Penh to take photos. ‘Street 172 pics’—I was constantly rewriting it at the bottom of each new scrap of paper. Almost as soon as I’d written it down the first time, however, I’d already forgotten what it was I’d seen there. But I knew it involved more than one prime photo (of the day) opportunity. And so I reminded myself to go back.

Well, I finally went last weekend and was I ever rewarded. As I walked down the street, greeted with one amusing sign after another, all I could think was, ‘Wow…the street that keeps on giving!’ It gave so much, in fact, that I decided to post the photos as an album instead of separate photos of the day.

You can view the album here, and here’s hoping you enjoy this little journey of discovery as much as I did!