Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Talk...

Well Blog, we need to talk...

You've definitely been neglected... Video blog is younger and more vibrant.  We've had some good times but....

 I don't know... things have changed... I'VE changed, it's not you blog, it's me...

You are... What's that?  You think we could give it another go?  Should we dare?

Okay, you've convinced me.  You're right, we've had too much history just to give up now!  Here's what I propose... you get special spoiler status.  News on the forefront, wayyy before Video Blog is even NEAR reporting it.

Sounds good?

Perfect.

(Spoilers if you want the Video Blog to have surprises!)

So we arrived a couple days ago in Poipet Cambodia.  Getting across had it's hassles, on the Thai side a very fiesty little border guard screeched her way around everyone getting the massive line of foreigners to move back and them split up, so I was separated from the Hope for the Nations group for a while there (but then she was super nice to me inside, weird), and then on the Cambodian side I, like an idiot, had forgotten to print out a copy of my Cambodian Visa, I just had my reference number thinking that would be good enough for it to come up on the screen.  No dice.  So after waiting through the massive line to get to the border check, I needed to go back to no mans land, find a printer and print off my Visa to have it stamped, then stand in the massive line AGAIN to get back to the guard.  All worked out though, and the guards were very friendly.  The rest of my group had gone off ahead during my little delay, so I caught up to them at the hotel by taking a moto-taxi (sitting on the back of a moterbike) to the hotel.  pretty sweet, I have my own private room for $12 American, which is pretty sweet for my own little zone.
The bathroom is shower and toilet space all in one, so when I have a shower the toilet seat is hit by the spray and the entire place is full of water... which doesn't go away.  There is a dip by the door which is on the other side of the bathroom from the drain, so there is a perpetual puddle in the washroom, I forgot about it last night when I woke up in the night... wet foot.

Here in Poipet we went to see some of the projects that have been set up here including a school building/childrens home AND a really cool "School on a Mat"rural education program here.  Video blog shows more footage of that, very cool program though, it's called "Build a Bridge" and can be found if you look into the Hope for the Nations website.

Yesterday I went to Battamburg with two other hope volunteers Sophie, Rebekah and Rachelle.  Sophie is a Cambodian national who works for an NGO here in Poipet, Rebekah works on projects in Cambodia on a regular basis and comes out here once a year and Rachelle is an RA who has been working in Red Cross crisis centres in warzones for the past year, she is volunteering now with Hope for the Nations.   After the two hour drive to Battamburg, we bought goofy glasses to make change for the American cash we took out of an ATM, and then went to get "traditional Cambodian photos" taken.  This is apparently a modern pastime for Cambodians, to have photoshoots in very fancy gear, which are then greenscreened onto backgrounds.  They are incredibly cheesy (but taken seriously here) and we had a lot of fun doing them.  Didn't take any videos of the process... so blog might be the exclusive showcasing location of these photos when they are eventually delivered.


After the photoshoot we grabbed something to eat with two workers from another NGO here in Battamburg, which was really nice, cool to get to know more people who do awesome work. Then we went to the Bamboo Trains, which are these crazy, sketchy little bamboo platforms on railroad tracks that just rocket down the cambodian countryside with no railings or support.  This is one thing that the video blog will do better justice for, but it was a very cool experience.









On the way home, our taxi ran out of gas.  Hilarious.  We had noticed subtle little things that our driver had been doing, turning off the A/C, slowly coasting whenever he got the chance, and finally we could hear the sound of him pumping away at the pedal as we coast at 10 km per hour.  Seeing as this guy had been driving at about 180km/h earlier (honestly, it was scary, cannonball on the run) we figured this meant we were out of luck.   He got out and after fiddling around with something in the engine, he finally waved down a truck that had a massive load of Nescafe boxes on it and big poles sticking out the back.  No biggie, he just tied a rope to the back of this truck and let it pull us for about 10 min to a spot where he could put a little bit of gas into the taxi.   We were laughing hysterically in the back, but I think he didn't mind, he smiled away and laughed with us.  We finally got back later that night and hit the hay pretty quickly afterwards.

And that was my day yesterday in Poipett!
I'll be sticking around for another day or so to take pictures of the various projects that the NGO here runs.  They wanted them so that they could put nice photos onto their sponsorship packages, e-mails, website, etc, so I am happy to help.  After that I'll be heading to Siem Reap, and the temples scattered there... I have very high expectations.

This was refreshing to write on this page again,

You were right blog, we belong together.

-Jonathan

(P.S.  To the people who have been coming to this blog and seeing nothing new... I'm sorry)

 



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