Monday, September 27, 2010


everyday people
changing the world

It has been a hectic and busy few days since I last had a chance to post anything. On Thursday the 23rd CNN announced the Top 10 Heroes for 2010.
The announcement was made at 1pm Eastern Daylight Time, very convenient for those of you in the US and Europe.
It was midnight over here........
About a dozen of us got together at a local hang-out for expats, the Warehouse. We tuned into CNN at midnight ... and got the regular, hourly news report. Oh No! I'd been telling people for days to get up at midnight and see if Aki Ra was chosen. A bunch of the staff from the Landmine Museum had even driven into town and were at Aki Ra's house to see the show.
I got a little nervous......
Then I called my mother..... They were watching in the US and told me that CNN had announced that 'sometime' during the hour the announcement would be made.
About 12:40 in the morning we all started screaming at the barkeep to turn down the music and turn up the TV....the announcement was coming.
About 10,000 people were nominated as CNN Heroes this year. To have Aki Ra chosen in the Top 25 was an amazing honor. To be chosen as one of the Top 10 was, well, just stunning.
I first saw CNN Heroes a couple of years ago and I always thought Aki Ra should be nominated.
In June I sat down at my computer and filled out the on-line nomination form.
Then I pretty much forgot about it. I knew that in 2009 around 9,000 people were nominated and the odds were .... well ......
Later in June, just before Jill and I headed home we were notified that Aki Ra had been chosen as one of the 25 to be featured on the website and CNN TV.
The 'winner', and that's a bad word to use, since all the nominees have already proven themselves huge winners, will be chose by viewers in on-line voting. You can vote at CNN Heroes . (You can vote more than once).
The Tribute show will be broadcast Thanksgiving nite at 8pm EST. For those of us outside the US, that's Thursday 25 November at 8pm, New York time.
The show will be taped at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. They've held the Academy Awards there several times.
Aki Ra and I will fly to LA a few days before the celebration and return to Cambodia to watch it at 8am on Friday the 26th at my house. We'll have about 50 people there.
Should be a blast.
It certainly is an honor.
More as the craziness starts.......
Babu from the Jungle

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New News From the Jungle

It's been a pretty hectic 2 weeks. It's hard to believe we've been back that long.

On the other hand it's hard to believe we were ever gone.

We got back on the 3rd. Sophary got back on the 5th since she flew through Phnom Penh...we've seen her twice.

Last week it rained most of the week. We think we have the leaks in the house plugged. We're still waiting for the landlord to fix one.....we've been waiting since May, so I don't know when that will get done. I'm gonna duct tape it today.

I saw on the internet that CNN Heroes is announcing the Top 10 in their CNN Heroes program on Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 1pm ET (US). That'll be midnite here. We'll all be up watching to see if Aki Ra makes the final 10. IF he does, you'll be able to vote on line for your hero of the year.

We were pretty excited when Aki Ra got picked. I don't know how many were nominated this year. Something like 9,000 were nominated last year. This year CNN chose about 25 to feature on TV and the website.

When I nominated him, I certainly thought he deserved it, but never really thought we'd make the cut to TV, and really had doubts about making the Top 10. I, personally, thought he should be number one, but to make the TV cut was such a long shot, and we are so far away.......

We'll be watching on Thursday with a lot of our friends. If you're in town (Siem Reap), come by the Warehouse at midnite and watch Anderson Cooper announce the Top 10.

Also, the artist Blake will be exhibiting his work at the Hotel de la Paix from 23 September to 3 November. His show, entilted 'Fragment', has been exhibited across the globe. Part of the proceeds will go to support Aki Ra's demining NGO, Cambodian Self Help Demining. Aki Ra will make some brief comments at the opening.

More from the jungle as we uncover it.....

Babu out

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Halfway Around the World and Into the Monsoon

My my my....what a week. I can't begin to believe that it's only been 7 daze since we were driving through LA checking out the sights.

We got home on Friday after a 30 hour sojourn. We left Palm Springs on Wednesday afternoon and drove into LAX. Jill and Sophary helped pack the car. We said goodbye to my mom and dad for perhaps a year, locked up the house, put Mikki in the backseat and headed off.

We met friends at LAX, checked ourselves in and then had a tense 1 hours wait to check Sophary into her flight. Checking ourselves in is easy, but getting Mikki (our dog) into her kennel, and through the check-in routine is always heart wrenching. She just sits in her 'box' (a little stoned) and looks at you like 'What are you doing to me?' Really hard to do.

We also wound up taking a whole lot of extra stuff back. So much that we had an extra bag. Luckily, Thai Airways was very accomodating. When we explained what we did, they turned a blind eye to the extra bag, but asked us not to do it again. Ot ai tai (hakuna matata).

Then we went to check Sophary in............a VERY long line, and only an hour before we boarded. China Air let us use the 1st class line, and we were off.

Now ... have you ever had to check 6 computers through security? Not a pleasant experience. But eventually we got everyone and everything cleared and to the proper gates.

It's a 16+ hour flight to Bangkok. The flight attendants told us when Mikki was on board and as we were about to land told us she was fine. They could hear here barking in First Class. I bet those were some 'pleasent' conversations....

The last time we came through BKK we told them we were immediately going overland to Cambodia. That was not good; it cost us $170 to get Mikki out of the airport. This time we told them we were staying in Thailand. Cost us $31.

2 1/2 hours to the border, half an hour to cross, and another 2 hours later we were home. Sau and the family had all come into town to greet us, and it was great to be back home again.

It's monsoon season over here and we've been told everything leaks. Well, our house sure does. The master bedroom has 2 major leaks and we've had to move out. The master bath has a crack in the ceiling. The kitchen floods (but we knew that) and the living room windows aren't tight and leak.


I brought back a BIG roll, bought some plastic sheeting and showed the Khmers how a fat old barrang (foreignor) takes care of leaks. They WERE suitably impressed. I then explained my house in California also has a flat roof and I learned these tricks over there. They were even MORE impressed.

I've asked a friend to send 2 more rolls of ductape. Cannot get it here. Proof that Cambodia still needs to progress.

So we are now sitting in a dry house getting ready to go out and have a quiet Sunday meal before starting work again tomorrow.

The repairmen came this morning and are going to go about fixing the leaks that happen on the roof patio. Then when everything dries they''ll do the fix ups in the rooms. $40........ I love it here.........

Good to be home.

Hell of a lot better than playing golf.

Babu out......

Ps: The radiator in the car blew at dinner. Ductape it?