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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!
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!
I found a new bus company to go to Saigon with this time around. And while you might think I love them for their ‘finest gentle taste’ (this is the breakfast they give you—basically a sweeter hot-dog-bun-type bread with some sweet green bean paste at the bottom) or their wide comfy seats with only three across the aisle so if you sit on right, as I did for both legs of the trip, you get to sit by yourself.
No. What I love most about RAC Express Bus is that when I forgot something at home in the morning and was asking if I would have enough time to hop on a moto and go home, get it and come back, and was in negotiations with two fellow passengers to watch my backpack and not let the bus leave without me (it was ten minutes until departure time but the bus was nowhere in sight, so I was sure I would have enough time), the uniformed bus company employee—the one whom I’d assumed was the bus driver and who’d given us the gentle bread and water upon arrival at the sidewalk booth (no bus stations here)—insisted on driving me himself. In the company minivan. He actually came over and got me as I was about to get on a moto, opened the passenger side door for me and that was that. Now that is above-and-beyond customer service I dare you to match…anywhere!
The upshot: We were gone not more than 10 minutes, but when we arrived almost everyone was already on the bus—everyone Except the young couple faithfully watching my backpack on the sidewalk. And I learned I wasn’t with the bus driver at all (which I’d seen as my safety valve). But…a happy ending.
(Please note I am refraining from commenting on the ad on the sidewalk cafe table on which the gentle bread was placed, but have no doubt I placed it there on purpose.)
First of all, thanks to those who gave me such positive feedback on ‘Dear motodup driver,’ and for sharing their own absurb Asian transport tales with me. I was especially gratified by these responses because, frankly, I had hesitated to post that piece, as I was concerned I came off sounding mean and/or condescending. The other thing these exchanges did was remind me of some things I should have included in the original post. Therefore, and herewith, an addendum: Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to strong and convenient internet connections (thank you, Vietnam) and time ‘off’ (thank you, Khmer New Year), I’ve put some more albums online:
Ban Lung, Ratanakiri Province, where I did a three-day jungle trek;
some more Phnom Penh fun;
A full listing of photo albums can be found by clicking here or on the ‘Photos’ link above.
Also, if you look at the menu above, you’ll see I’ve added a new page I’m calling ‘Post archive for the lazy.’ There you’ll find links to all past posts.
I may not have seen any sites in Dalat yet, but at least I’ve improved the blog!
A bit of background for you:
Motodups are motorbike taxis, and they are everywhere in Phnom Penh—and I mean everywhere. Except when you actually need one. Only then will they not materialize out of thin air before you’ve even closed your front door. Only then will they appear to disappear from the face of the earth. Only then will you actually have to stand in the street looking for one to flag down.
My plan was to write ‘Ode to a Motodup’ to explain to the uninitiated the intricacies of how this system works. But I’ve opted instead for the simple, direct, time-tested epistolary form, which I think will convey all you really need to know.
Read the rest of this entry »
OK, OK, you caught me. I haven’t been writing. I’ve been relaxing—at the riverside, the seaside, the countryside…
But I have recently returned to Phnom Penh, so at the very least I now have loads of new photos for you. Many are actually old photos, I should say—just newly uploaded. I also reorganized the photo album page in a way that I hope makes it more user-friendly.
So you can now both backtrack to my missing month (Laos) and see where I was last week (Kep), and a few things in between.
Just a few, however. The album listing is by no means complete, as there is still more of Laos to show you and, of course, Angkor Wat. Those photos still await me having an even bigger chunk of free time (I know, ‘free time,’ sorry!) in which to edit and upload them, as there are so very many! And the internet service here is so slow…
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these and they will tide you over for now.
Two caveats, one of which I’ve mentioned on the photo page. There is one album from my visit to Tuol Sleng, which is now a museum and which used to be Pol Pot’s secret prison/torture chamber. The photos are not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, but I really do suggest you force yourself to look.
The second is much less of a caveat than an explanation. If you click on the Kep album you will notice that the entire first I’m-not-even-going-to-go-back-and-check-how-many are of a sunset. Which is a beautiful sunset, but, I know, come on, Mia. Well, there is a story that goes with them, so you might want to click each one anyway, if only to read the little sunset-seeking adventure tale that goes with them. (And come on, a little extra gorgeous sunset never hurt anybody. Though actually, I’m lucky that in the end going to see it didn’t hurt me…)
OK, that’s it for now. I may very well be headed to the jungle soon, so if you don’t see any photos of the day after about a week or so (that is as far as I have scheduled them), you’ll know why.
You can view all of the albums, new and old, by clicking on ‘Photos’ above or by clicking here. And of course, don’t forget you can also catch up here on all the photos of the day you might have missed along the way!