The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. [ or hers :) ] ~Benjamin Disraeli ~

Sunday, 6 March 2011

First Impressions

Cyclo - the way to travel!
Welcome to my first blog from Cambodia. My first impression was  of crazy roads full of motorbikes and their adaptations. Cars and bikes travelled the wrong way up the dual carriageway, I'm glad I wont be driving here!

I am staying in a room at VSO office in Phnom Penh  and it's lovely to be together with other volunteers. In Country training began on Friday, we'll be here in the city for a week before moving to another destination for language training.

Our first real view of Phnom Penh was on Saturday with an exciting tour of Phnom Penh on cyclos. These are tricycles with a large seat at the front for a passenger. Attractions included the Royal Palace by Tonle Sap River, markets, pagodas and other monuments. The cyclo drivers really knew what they were doing as they negotiated the busy roads, weaving in and out of other cyclists and motorbikes.

Feeling a little more confident of our surroundings, three of us set out today in search of surge protectors for our laptops. Electricity supply is good but there have already been two cuts today – not for long though. My Khmer is limited at the moment to greetings so it's quite frustrating but enough to gain smiles and to interact a little with locals. We easily found what we were looking for at a market, there's not much that cannot be bought in the city. It will be a different story when I reach my workplace in a much more rural area. Sights along the way were very interesting such as  a small boy cooking fish on a small fire on the pavement. Colourful stalls of exotic fruit and vegetables line the streets. One lady offered to let us taste the fruits before buying which was really kind but to her advantage in the end when we made our purchases. Chicken is often sold live as is much of the fish, wriggling to escape the basket.

At this stage I feel a bit more like a tourist than a volunteer, wandering around with a group exploring the city and eating at nice restaurants. It is important though, to learn as much as we can about the country in order to understand the needs of those we will be working with. It's fun too.
This little boy is cooking fish for the family on a fire in a hole in the pavement
The Royal Palace , Phnom Penh 

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