Last Sunday our group of seven travelled to Kampong Cham for Khmer lessons. We are based in a hotel by the Mekong River. Most local people live off the land or fish in the river but the town is bustling with shops and restaurants.
After 4 days my khmai vocabulary is over 100 words. Dara, the teacher is very good but moves fast and gives lots of homework! We get some practice in the university cafe where the menu is in Khmer script and the staff speak no english.
Lessons are in the morning and afternoons are too hot to do much other than rest and study. Evenings are cooler and an ideal time to explore the town. One evening we cycled across a bamboo bridge to a river island. Each year this bridge is washed away by floods and subsequently rebuilt. My heart was pounding when I reached the other side as it's a narrow bridge with no sides and 2 way traffic. The bamboo is soft and noisy as you pedal across.
Next week will be exciting as I travel to Banteay Meanchey to meet my work colleagues, find a house and appoint a translator.
More to follow....