Thursday, May 5, 2011
The Start of our New Adventures in Cambodia
We have made is safely in Cambodia and we are staying in a wonderful apartment called Phnom Penh Villa. It is always staffed with security guards and has cameras all over the building (outside our apartment, just around the halls). I feel pretty safe here while we are in the apartment at night time, but it sure is crazy over here.
It all started out when we had to wake up at 4:30 am in Colorado to catch our flight to LA that took about 2 hours. We thought we had to go through customs there, but really we had to go through customs in LA, not Denver. So we were about 2 and a half hours early for our flight. I decided to take a nap on the ground, while Spencer played some 4 suit spider solitaire, which took him forever to win, probably almost half the time it took us to get to Cambodia. When we reached LA, we went through customs and got our tickets to Seoul, Korea and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It took a while and they decided to do a special check on my book bag, so it took extra long. We arrived and waited about 30 minutes and got on the biggest airplane I have ever been on, it was Korean Airlines. They took great care of us, but man do I wish I was in first class, because their chairs recline all the way down so you can sleep, ours only went down 2 inches. Anyways, after watching about 3 movies, sleeping a few hours here and there, and watching a few shows and 13 hours of just sitting, we made it to Seoul. There we had to skip everybody in line to go through customs again to make sure we made it to our next flight, and then speed-walked it to the gate, which left immediately. No time to go to the bathroom, no time to walk around some, just go and sit for 6 more hours. That was really hard on both of our knees. (Good thing we have an 8-hour layover in Korea on the way home).
We finally arrived in Cambodia, and even on that small airplane you could feel the humidity and once we stepped out of the plane it was way more humid then I thought. It was crazy, but I was doing fine, it was Spencer who was sweating like crazy. We couldn't believe how hot it was for 10:00 pm (about 90 degrees!) So then we had to get our visas, and go through some more screening and got our baggage, yes it got there and was waiting for us thank goodness. I was very scared it wasn't going to make it. Then we looked for Eng, he is the one who has been helping us find things and has been working for this internship that BYU has been running for years. He met with us and took us to our aparment right away so we could get some sleep. And yes we actually slept for about 6 hours, which was pretty good.
The next day Eng took us around Phnom Penh and showed us my NGO internship, and the other NGO that the other students will be working with. We met with each and they are all very excited to have us there. We then had lunch at a little place and it was soooooo good. We had some chaa menoah (steamed pork and pineapple) , some sac koo kruang (beef with veggies and fries), and some somlaw mjuu (soup type thing with veggies and meat with bones in it still) and baay (rice) of course to go on the bottom of it all. They love to use spoons and chopsticks, so its a great thing that I know how to use them, thanks to daddy and us going to House of Chan to eat alot. Anyways we then did lots more errands and went to the supermarket.
SO the other day I walked into our bedroom and saw a little bedroom buddy just standing there waiting for me to come back. It was a gecko, just waiting for me to come home and greet me. We slept with him on the ground somewhere one night, but the next night he was waiting for me again once we stepped into our room. We finally caught him in a cup and took him outside our room, but we will probably have a few more bedroom buddies, hopefully just geckos and nothing else.
So thats whats been going on over here, Eng left and went to the provinces, so Spencer and I are on our own from yesterday through the weekend. Good thing he knows Khmer. We rode our first tuc tuc yesterday and will probably ride lots more over the next three months. We hung out with Spencer's old companion Kim and we had lunch at his hotel he works at and dinner at his house. He is very funny and his wife is very nice. They just had a new baby name Tianna, like in Princess and the Frog movie because they love cartoons. She is gorgeous. We just hung around the central market all day and Spencer bought some new shorts and I bought my first sarong, its very pretty and I have to go and pick it up today, because they measured me and made it for me. I am very excited to where it to church and around town. Hopefully we don't sweat ourselves to death, because it is HOT and so Humid, but poor Spencer, he just wipes his face about every 30 seconds because he is drenching in sweat. Stay tuned in for more pictures and adventures.
Pretty much the craziest thing here is the traffic. Dad (Donn) would never make it over here. I don't know how they don't get into more crashes, but its just honking at everyone and getting so close to each other and traffic jams all the time. They don't really have any traffic rules. There are a few lights but they don't really obey them. Mostly, if you cross an intersection, you just honk to let people know your coming. There are no speed limits so the fastest drivers rule the road. But the fastest they go is probably 10 mph so that they can stop on a dime, which is extremely necessary I can't even count the number of times that people come within an inch of each other without crashing. You are supposed to drive on the right side of the road, but many times is is more convenient (though more dangerous) to drive on the left, so we often hold on for dear life as the driver goes against traffic. It is funny because honking in America is often thought of as "rude". But over here it is quite courteous. The worst time is definitely around 5:00 pm when everyone is getting off of work. Lots of honking and bumper to bumper traffic for an hour.
The people here are very nice, even though they don't understand me most of the time, but thankfully I have Spencer to my rescue and I will be working with a guy from Australia at my internship. I thought that I would be more culture shocked, which I probably will be once we go outside of the city, but it's not so bad here as I thought. It is quite busy and more up to date than we both thought. Its just packed with businesses everywhere all along the street, and yes it is still run down, but not too bad. You do see the beggars, and kids with no clothes on, which is devastating to see. Still, we love it here and are having a blast!!