Sunday I spent washing and preparing for the week ahead before being asked to join friends for lunch at Sister Srey's cafe - not a place I usually frequent as it is more expensive that my usual haunts, but their menu suits westerners and is presented in an individual way - all drinks served in large jam jars unless hot and my water melon salad with mint and feta was delicious. When we left Lou invited me to out to see the guest house she is having completely rebuilt and turning into a boutique hotel of 16 beds aimed at the Australian market. Although, I thought I knew where it was, it took me three tries before I had to give in and follow a tuk driver whom I'd found who knew her. I was surprised that it was so far out of town, but I suppose if you can afford to stay there you can afford to pay for tuks to take you into town after you have spent the days viewing the temples. It is still a building site, but even I was able to see its potential, and enjoyed seeing the fixtures and fitting she had already bought. Even though it was 4 o'clock and about 38 degrees the barefooted workers were scurrying about, the same proportion of males and females covered from head to ankle to protect them from the sun. Apparently, labourers earn between 4 - 5 dollars a day, but the girls do the heavy work and mix all the cement by hand whilst the guys do the building. She was a business woman in Melbourne, recently divorced and needed a new challenge, but knows this area from her times voluntering at Grace House. However, this place already has far too many hotels beds for number of visitors, and it's very short season limits too, so I hope she is successful in such a competitive market and in a place where ' normal' people only tend to stay for 3/4 nights, then never revisit.
On the way back I called in at the "Made in Cambodia" to visit the G H stall and to see what else was on sale. Some interesting bits and pieces but none that I really wanted to buy. By the time I got home my niggly sore throat had a very runny nose to go with it.
Overnight I developed a fully fledged cold, didn't sleep well, so found teaching difficult with a sore throat and fuzzy head in the extremely hot and humid conditions. Most of the day was spent sneezing and blowing my nose! It was good meeting my new classes of children aged between 9/10 and 13 years, but all looking about 7/8 years. I spent my lesson time playing games with them so that I could learn their names - by the end of each lesson I could call them by name without help, so hope they are embedded in my memory.
It was great meeting all the students I have known for 4 years and to see their development both physically and as a person. I think I was surprised most by the confidence and self esteem that most of the shy, tiny, dirty under nourished and under sized children had gained. They were able to converse with greater confidence in English and are enjoying being the older students now. Many wanted to know when we are going to start cycling again on Sunday afternoons.
On the way home from schoolI had to return my bicycle as I had been given a town bike from GH. I will hire a mountain bike every weekend, but make do with the free, gearless one during the week. I could see the clouds thickening and turning black, but still believed that I had time to walk home from Wat Bo via a shop where I needed to buy some food for the evening, as I knew that I didn't feel well enough to go out. But about 10 minutes away, the heavens opened, within seconds I was drenched and struggling to walk becausemy my feet kept slipping out of my flip flops. Although tuk drivers were shouting out me it seemed pointless getting in one for such a short distance when I was so wet already. By the time I walked in here my feet, legs and trousers were covered in orange mud and my top had become virtually see through. A shower soon sorted that problem, but the cold was determined to develop despite me and the pills I started taking. The rain continued heavily for about 5 hrs and when it stopped the frogs began - their noise was deafening and continued throughout the night - the mating was was beginning, but had the wet season started? Time would answer that question.
By Tues morning it was obvious that I was not fit for work, and that continued for the rest of the week. I spent most of the time in here sleeping, but make myself go for a walk each afternoon to get some fresh air - albeit hot and humid, and to escape here for a while.
Haven't worked all week, but will update in next blog, as this is playing up.
Enjoy last of your weekend, take care, love J