15 March 2008
It didn’t rain today.
It didn’t need to. The temp is 86 and the humidity is 75%. But if you’re riding in a tuk tuk at 30mph on hiway 6 you are plenty cool. Your shirt and the breeze become an instant swamp cooler (evaporative cooler to the un-desert among you). Just close your eyes and enjoy the breeze. Besides, you don’t want to open your eyes when you are driving 30mph on that road.
I made one serious mistake when I packed. A lot of my shirts are white. And the dirt in Cambodia is red. And it blows all over the place, and I sweat. So I have red tinted shirts. Rather than send them out for cleaning every day, I bought a bucket for a dollar and I wash them out in the shower at night, hang them on the line in my bath and I’m all set to go.
Yesterday I worked on organizational plans for the new NGO and had some meetings with some folks here in town.
There is something I especially want to do before I leave. On the Mekong River, north of Phnom Penh is a town called Kratie. That’s where you can find the Mekong River Dolphins. At one time it was estimated that there were only around 80 left, then a ban on fishing with nets was put in place and the population has sprung back to over 150. The government has emplaced controls to protect them. Half of the 72 River Guards hired in 2006 are local villagers. The balance are policemen, soldiers, military policemen (didn’t teach me that in MP School) and fishery officers.
They are similar to the pink dolphins in the Amazon, which I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, except that they are gray. It takes about 2 days to get to reach Kratie. The only way to get there is by bus (oh boy). There used to be boats from Phnom Penh but with the improved road conditions in Cambodia the ferries have disappeared. However, if you are adventurous enough, you might be able to find a rice barge in Kampong Cham sailing north and hitch a ride.
I’m going to see if there is any way I can get there before I leave. I’ll probably have to go out of PP, but I might be able to get there through Kampong Thom. (You’re gonna need a map of Cambodia for this blog).
I went up to Aki Ra’s Landmine Museum this morning and had a look around. A lot has changed since I was here a mere 5 weeks ago. They have big signs up on the road in front of the Museum. They were really needed, as you could zip right past it otherwise. And they’ve started putting up some pictures of the history of the KR and the ensuing 20 years of war, which spawned most of the landmine problem. There are also stories on many of the kids who live at the Museum. Very moving. And they present a very personal touch to the Museum. Something you don’t always find.
Well, it is Saturday night in Siem Reap and I am going to have Mexican food for dinner. Hey, you think they don’t have Mexican food in Kampuchea? Will go very well with the spring rolls I had for lunch.
And check out this great travel site: http://www.travel-plan-idea.com/
It's a great place to get travel plans and run by a good friend of the Fund, James Trotta. And hey, he liked my bus story.
Ps: I’m trying to keep this blog a bit lite as I don’t want to weigh everyone down with stories about explosions and death. But I AM here to help Aki Ra get Cambodian Self Help Demining registered and certified with the government. It is work that really needs to be done and will save countless lives.
So if have a couple of minutes left, go to: www.landmine-relief-fund.com and click on the PayPal Button.