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Jan 22, 2013 - Teaching

Time is going quickly, and I am only in this country for a short while. On Tuesday morning, at my prompting, Chea joined me at the hotel to give me a list of how he would like to spend the money I raised. I need to be careful because he is involved in many other projects including building a sewing center in his home village. Previously, he had even mentioned he would like to get a motorbike rather than paying for tuk-tuks all the time. “The money I raised is not for the sewing center and not for a motorbike,” I said firmly. “It is for the...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 21, 2013 - Rested, Happy & Back to being me

I awoke after a full night's sleep and knew a page had turned; I had returned to being me--an optimist with something to give. Angela and I went on a tour to visit the floating village of Chong Kneas. There were five tourists, a guide and a driver in an air-conditioned van which was a nice change from a tuk-tuk. Just minutes from the city of Siem Reap, haphazard stilted shacks lined the riverside and numerous people stood knee-deep in the shallow muddy river with fishing nets. I couldn’t imagine eating anything that came from that water...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 20, 2013 - Sunrise, Temples & Friends

My vision of a decent sleep fell through when I woke at 2 am and could not fall back asleep. At four I dragged myself out of bed, showered and got dressed. Savuth showed up right on time at 5:20 am and we took off along the pitch black streets. The air was a little cool and the light cotton jacket I wore was perfect. As soon as we arrived at Angkor Wat, I realized my sleepy brain had forgotten two very important things: to change the batteries in my camera and to bring the flashlight I purchased yesterday. Talk about scatterbrained but...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 19, 2013 - Waiting for my best self

Many people travel much better than I; they recover from jet lag and time changes quickly and are able to sleep in their new location from the get-go. I wish... nevertheless, I don't allow my inability to rapidly adapt to prevent me from exploring the world because I know I will eventually adjust; I always have. The challenge is to get past the first few days and get into regular sleeping patterns again. For weeks before leaving, my excitement prevented me from getting a good night’s rest so I began my trip half way around the world in a...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 18, 2013 - Ankgor Wat

Wide awake at 4:30 am, I had plenty of time to work on my journal before my 7:00 am tuk-tuk pickup. Keeping up-to-date is challenging. Chea had offered to accompany me to Angkor Wat so Savuth, my driver, and I headed to Enkosa Pagoda to pick him up. Close to a hundred monks and nuns live in tiny dwellings around a beautiful ornately decorated pagoda. Chea showed me around and I saw firsthand the Enkosa River School I had previously only seen photos of. It is the dry season here in Cambodia and the best time to visit. Temperatures are...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 17, 2013 - Visiting the Killing Fields & Tuol Sleng Prison

After breakfast we meet our local guide and witness the dark side of Cambodian history with visits to Choeng Ek, the site of the infamous Killing Fields, and Tuol Sleng prison, the notorious Khmer Rouge prison where thousands of Cambodians perished. This afternoon we return to Bangkok. A relatively short flight but the hustle and bustle of this modern city will feel like a world away from laid back Cambodia. You will have plenty of time today to catch up on last minute shopping at the malls and markets or a visit to the sites that you may...

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Jan 16, 2013 - Settling In

It's amazing how one's perspective changes once you've had a decent sleep. I didn't have a perfect night but I woke refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of living in a country vastly different from my own. After a hearty breakfast I set off to explore and today I had no doubts I could manage. After my visit to the Lucky Market yesterday I got my bearings and could understand the map. I headed downtown where most of the tourists hang out. Well, crocodile is big in Cambodia. Everywhere I looked I saw stuffed crocodiles and shops...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 15, 2013 - Shaky ground

Jan 15th Around 6 am I awoke to the sound of a monk’s repetitive chanting. Sleep-deprived, I had an unholy thought: Shut up and let me sleep! Staying in bed was pointless so I ducked into the shower and headed to the hotel restaurant for a breakfast buffet. I feasted on dragon fruit, pineapple, papaya and tiny sweet bananas. Baked tomatoes with spicy salsa, vegetable fried rice, eggs, sausages, toast, and unlimited orange juice and coffee came next. Although I had slept little there was nothing wrong with my appetite--unfortunately. After...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 14, 2013 - Arrival in Siem Reap

After a grueling 20 hours in transit, I contained my urge to vault out of the China Eastern jet that had just landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I descended the steps to the tarmac and lumbered toward the Angkor International Airport building with my overloaded computer backpack. Lucky for me, no one had thought to weigh it when checking in. Immediately, I noticed the air, balmy, sweet-smelling and tropical, so different from the crisp winter air back home. At 10:30 pm, it was a comfortable 24 degrees. The area was very dark and offered no...

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Pat in Cambodia 2013

Jan 9, 2013 - Visiting Angkor Wat and other temples

Siem Reap in the North West of Cambodia is your portal to the remains of the once great Angkorian Empire. This welcoming city is adorned with myriad markets, artisans, bars and restaurants and is very accessible to the casual wanderer along it's colorful streets and lane ways. Ruling much of South East Asia for over 500 years from the 8th to the 14th Centuries, the Khmer Emperors built successively more magnificent temples and cities. Throughout Days 4 and 5 your knowledgeable, licensed, local Khmer guide will lead you through the pages of...

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Jan 8, 2013 - Visiting Angkor Wat and other temples

Siem Reap in the North West of Cambodia is your portal to the remains of the once great Angkorian Empire. This welcoming city is adorned with myriad markets, artisans, bars and restaurants and is very accessible to the casual wanderer along it's colorful streets and lane ways. Ruling much of South East Asia for over 500 years from the 8th to the 14th Centuries, the Khmer Emperors built successively more magnificent temples and cities. Throughout Days 4 and 5 your knowledgeable, licensed, local Khmer guide will lead you through the pages of...

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Jan 7, 2013 - Siem Reap, Cambodia

The morning of Day 3 is free for an optional motorcycle tour of the countryside visiting temples, local cottage industries and the unique experience of the Bamboo Train. You may also like to try your hand at Khmer cuisine with a cooking class then enjoy the results over a leisurely lunch. This afternoon we head off on our private bus around Tonle Sap Lake to Siem Reap, a trip of roughly 3 hours.

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