Saturday, 26 May 2012

Friends, waterfalls, more moto mishaps and, a school in need of repair

It seems I meet the greatest people! 


Now, I know you are all really busy with spring, lovely weather, and grad, but that is no excuse not to take a few minutes to peruse...or, to drop me a line!!!!!! I love hearing how your lives are unfolding.  I think EVERYTHING that involves my family and friends is of interest.  Terry and Liz, I know...the bees! Dana...the wedding! Tara and Graham...looking after my house (good work)!  I know, there are more of you out there, I think. Wherever you are, I hope you are well and enjoying life now that spring and longer days are upon you.

Awe yes, seems like ages ago that I was swimming in a crater lake...

and under waterfalls...

and moto'ing around with friends...

and indulging in wine, brownies, and popcorn...

and then it was time to leave...:-(

Getting to Rattanakiri is a bit of an endeavour from here.  I live in the north west and Rattanakiri in the north east, so in Cambodian style, an 8 hour bus ride with an overnight in Phnom Pehn, and then a 9 hour minivan ride to our destination.  It rained on the way there, we had 2 days of sunshine, and it rained on the way back.

Ellen and I made good use of our stop over on the way there.  We used a motodop (moto taxi) for the first time.  It is a blast riding through the streets of PP on the back of a moto.  I am sorry I complained about having to carry my moto helmet with me.  I am a convert to motodops! On the return, the stopover in PP was timely as I was able to stock up on peanut butter, popcorn, and chocolate.  My backpack weighed a ton!  That is significant because when I took the motodop to my house getting off the bike wasn't so graceful.  As I lifted my leg over the bike, I lost my balance but because my pack was so heavy, it just took me right to the ground.  I did mention that I have become quite the klutz haven't I. The poor driver. The lesson:  Give the motodop driver the heaviest piece of luggage.

Oh there is more!  Did I tell you about the time I was in a hurry and forgot to use my kickstand.  As I was getting off my moto, I could feel it going over but it was too late.  My foot got caught and I did a face front of the police, my assistant, and a few random people.  How about when I got caught in a torrential downpour.  As I was negotiating a puddle, my moto slid sideways...leaving me lying in the middle of the puddle.  Again, only my pride was hurt.  It was difficult to act like nothing had happened when I had to drive the rest of the way home covered in muck.  And, the muck here is red, clay, yuck!   By the way, no one stops here because they are afraid they will get blamed for the accident.  In my case that is a good thing...I would have to suffer even more humility.  What do these people think when they see me coming I wonder. With luck, I will return to Canada in 2 years in one piece and functional. All I can say is it is a good thing I'm comfortable with myself...being a klutz and all.

Yes, the school I was telling you about...the one where I am afraid I will fall through the floor boards, the one where a student fell through into the flood waters.  Here it is...

The extras at the school...

The school bell which gets hit by a stick to announce recess

the playground

The staffroom/parking lot

Now for some images of their classroom behaviour... a classroom in the building that isn't about to collapse.  I forgot to mention that at all the schools the students take their shoes off before entering the class and do everything in bare feet.

And so, that is about it.  When it rains it pours, I mean really opens up and you are drenched in seconds, like buckets and buckets of water thrown on you.  I hate mosquitoes even more now.  Every time I see one I wonder if it will be the one to give me dengue.  My clothes stay dust free for about 10 minutes.  It is really hilarious getting off at the schools with a red film of dust from head to toe, only on the front.  The construction at the school behind my house is almost over so the noise will change from saws and hammers to children playing.  My Khmer gets worse rather than better and I wonder if I will ever catch on.  I went for a run this morning and managed about 5 x 3 minutes with a walk at either end.  The neighbours think I'm strange although they still smile and say sua s'dai.  But hey, they have probably seen me on my moto!

Hopefully my next blog won't have any klutz stories (I will try to entertain you some other way).

You have no idea how much I miss you.  Sending you love and hugs from Sisophon, Cambodia.

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