Soo-sa-day Chnam Ta'mai! (Happy New Year!)
Hope you all had a good New Year - best wishes for 2008
Today was supposed to be another day at the school. I was up at 7am for my 8am pick-up (would you believe I actually eat breakfast over here - something I never do in the UK). The journey is really enjoyable - you see so much 'life' - I particularly love seeing the farmers washing their water buffalo in ponds at the side of the road. They clearly care so much for these creatures. My driver explained that these animals are basically their livelihood as without them they cannot farm. I really do need to stop at some point to take a photo. The journey took a bit longer this morning as some workmen had pulled a tree down in the middle of the road, but as we pulled up to the school gates at 9.30am I noticed a distinct lack of children. Yes, the school was closed. Much to my annoyance I had only confirmed the previous day with one of the teachers that the school would be open. He said yes. I even asked my driver to confirm it in Khmer. So we had no choice but to turn the car around and came back to Siem Reap.
So I spent my unexpected day off cycling around Siem Reap, travelling through the little villages on the outskirts, and visiting the Cambodian Cultural Centre, located on the road to the airport. It really wasn't worth it though - targetted really for tourists who have never been to Cambodia before (probably why it's located on the road to the airport!). I spent a nice hour walking around the gardens and the lake though. I am so dark already - you won't recognise me after another 5 weeks!
This evening I met up with Rose - the lady from Yorkshire - for a bite to eat, as she is leaving for Phnom Penh tomorrow. We ate at a cheap & cheerful place called The Khmer Kitchen, where we both had a bowl of Massuman curry & rice and a glass of beer for just $3.
From Thursday there will be another volunteer on the project - a Canadian called Laura - who similar to myself is out here on her own. It will be nice to have someone around during the day who speaks fluent English!
Bye for now!
PS. The photo above shows the High School at the top (large yellow building) and the Primary School on the left.