Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Christmas in Cambodia

Sorry it’s been a long time since I last posted. I’ve been waiting to get internet at my house and instead of taking a week it took a month! Welcome to my life in Cambodia…everything takes at least 5 times longer than you plan!
This year just didn’t feel much like Christmas. I think it was mainly the 90 degree temps making it feel more like summer than the wintery Christmas I’ve always known. Moreover, it was hard being so far away from family. However, I must admit, once Christmas was over I sure did enjoy lying by the pool drinking the best mango smoothies! I ended up heading into Phnom Penh for the holidays. Much of the weekend was full of eating and schedules revolved around it. For Christmas we ate Lebanese which was amazing. One of my friends remarked that it’s probably closer to what Jesus would have eaten rather than what we usually eat for Christmas. I can imagine Jesus loving Falafel. Seriously, who doesn’t? We ate copious amounts of cheese. You definitely cannot get cheese in my province. I miss dairy. Next to eating, I did a lot of shopping. Shopping here is done in Markets and involves a lot of haggling. I wanted this really cute shirt and the vender said $10. To which I responded “oh, too much” and walked away. He said, “for you Madame, I will only charge $2”. Seriously, from $10 to $2! Bargaining stresses me out! It’s hard to know if you’re getting ripped off and cheated or they are truly giving you a decent price. Some people love it; I’m one that hates it. You bargain for everything: rides around town, fruit, van fares, clothing, food…… I long for the days when there are price tags on items.
For New Years I headed to southern Cambodia to the beach! It was amazing! First, my friend Jac and I stopped off and visited some other volunteers at their site. They are married and so graciously hosted us and cooked us the most amazing spaghetti meal and carrot cake! And no, they do not even have an oven either. It inspired me to start cooking my own lunch. Which, I’m sad to say has not happened yet…but I hope will soon. Next we headed to Kampot town. It was absolutely beautiful with the mountains in the background. I’m definitely coming back to do some hiking. Jac and I joked that we were content in our province because we didn’t know Kampot existed! The mountains and beach would have made it a great place to spend two years. However, as our friends who live there say, their town is just like every other small town in Cambodia. Finally, we headed to the Island. It was so relaxing because there was little to do other than lie in the sun, play in the water and eat. One morning I did do a hike around the Island. It ended up taking a couple hours. It was interesting to see the small villages where people live, mostly as fishers. So, despite a sad Christmas, New Years was wonderful! I’ve also posted pictures so you can all see it….also, now that I have internet I hope to post more regularly! Hope you all are enjoying the snow…..

(Pictures clockwise: Kampot with the mountains across the river, our huts on the Island, the beach in the morning, me and the girls who went and finally, sunset on the Island)