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Great intentions...but

Written on: Monday April 23rd, 2007

A journal entry from: Southeast Asia in 4 weeks

So I haven't updated this in awhile...there's comes a point where you make a choice to go out and exeprience the place you are in or find a cafe with a speed fast enough to make these journals worthwhile...I chose the former so anectdotes and stories will have to come later.  But I have a compromise....here are 5 anectdotes that you may enjoy

1. Crafty kids - when we were in Siem Reap, Cambodia we came across a lot of kids.  No they were not in school but they were selling everything from postcrads, drinks, bracelets etc.  While we were at lunch, an industruous youg boy came up to me and asked me to buy a postcard I declined.  He asked me where I was from and I responded Canada...he proceeded to say the following: I know your country.  Your country has 32 million people, your PM is Stephen Harper, the capital is Ottawa and we have two official languages...I was so impressed but tried to barter him down...he challenged me to a game of tic tac toe (which I played with the kids at the orphanage the day before and remembered the trick of it) and he beat me and I forked over the higher amount based on our deal...crafty kid...the next day at Angkor Wat there were a lot more kids with the similar info - they are trained to know those facts...but when I asked on about her country...she didn't have as many answers...

2. Biking on Dhon Det - Laos - so we rented bikes to take a tour of Don Dhet...w rode for a few hours and left as an impending storm made it known it was heading our way with loud thunder.  I took the lead after we crossed the bridge and saw that the wind had blow the leaves of a tree in our path...i drove full speed ahead thinking it would have soft leaves like a willow tree...I am not sure which thorn hit first..the ones on my arms or face...but my bike wiped out, My hair was caufght in several thorns and I have a scratch (that I hope will go away soon) on my cheek...never go full speed into a tree cause you could get a nasty surpise

3. Not a lot of black women with pink highlighted hair venture out here I am guessing - I gauge that on the amount of stares, pointing and chatter that occurs when I am here...at times I can ignore it but sometimes people are pretty intrusive coming up to touch my hair...and at Angkor Wat someone took a picture with me...I wanted to remind them to look where they were but I guess it made me appreciate the level of diversity I am accustomed to back home...sometimes they tell you that you're beuatiful too!

4. Transportation the local way...I've done it twice...and I can't remember if it was like this in Ghana (or I smartly blocked it out) but it is CHALLENGING to say the least.  You can probably guess that things never leave when they are supposed to...I now add an hour -an hour and a half to whatever time they tell me...I was lucky to have a seat...with boxes all around with fruit and what not...which explains why there were ant s everywhere (I still feel like they are crwling on me)...local buses do not have a lot of english speakers so communication is a struggle and they stop...frequently...so much that a 2-3 ride take 6-8 hours...did i mention someone grabbed my friend butt...yes its costs less and gives an important lesson on patience and humility, but I forked over more for air con and a less crowded bus for mytrip to Vietnam tomorrow...I wonder if it will leave on time...

5.  So I metioned it is hot over here, most places have internet, you can spend less then $5 US per meal and less then $10Us on accomodations...Laos is less HOT then Cambodia but that is relative...The food is delicious and I plan on taking a cooking class when I am in Vietnam.  The homes range from huts to palatial estates....like Africa...you have the "have more's" and "have nothings" with no middle class...or the middle class are the "have nothings" and teh poor are the "have even less"...but the family units are strong as evidenced by the extensive multi-day New Years celebrations and gatherings we experienced in Cambodia and Laos...and like gas goes up with every long weekend, prices went up here.  The phrases that I learned in all of these countries that make me appreciate the people are hello/goodbye and thank you...thank you really goes a long way!

So that's all I have for you for now...I have just over a week to pack in more experiences...for now here are some links to pictures!

Angkor Wat http://uvic.facebook.com/album.php?aid=16094&l=1f2e0&id=653895005

http://uvic.facebook.com/album.php?aid=15051&l=c43e7&id=653895005

Cambodia

http://uvic.facebook.com/album.php?aid=15046&l=602d8&id=653895005

Laos

http://uvic.facebook.com/album.php?aid=16057&l=96a12&id=653895005

Stay well