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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap April 11th 2019

We arrived at Siem Reap in the evening. I went to my host (Dee and his girlfriend Thida) and they were waiting for me with dinner. That was a nice way to arrive. After a while I found out that Dee is a chiropractor and that he helped many people with problems that others couldn't. Just by looking at your movements or at body parts like the face or feet he can tell you about the problems you have inside your body. I told him about my scoliosis and that it's so bad that I don't think anyone can help me with it. He told me he could give it a try. We would have to do 3 treatments a day for a week. Anyway I would have to wait for my card to come and ... read more
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Lotus farm

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap March 24th 2019

The wait is over. Here is my very delayed blog post on an amazing time that I had in Siem Reap, December 2018. After two short flights from Vientiane to Paske, with a landing that made me wonder if I would live to see another day, and then from Paske to Siem Reap, I finally arrived in Cambodia for the first time. There is always that fear of how the devil am I going to get to my hostel by myself from the airport in a country I have never been to but as per usual, it all went swell. After living in Vientiane with tuk tuks that have broken down or almost on fire due to pushing too hard, getting a tuk tuk in Siem Reap from the airport was a delightful treat. It looked ... read more
Wat a Sunrise
Meditating in Angkor Wat
The moment it became "just another temple".

Asia » Cambodia » North February 5th 2019

It is a weird thing to say something is the last. So final and clean cut. Today was the last day of volunteering in Siem Reap at Trailblazer, but the experience was exactly what I wanted it to be. Last time I volunteered, I left feeling very burnt by the NGO world, a little hopeless and very doubtful of the continuation of anything. Trailblazer has been the exact opposite. It existed before me and will continue to move forward. We replaced the old man filter of #25 from over 10 years ago with filter number 4226 during my time here. The filters we constructed the first week we got here are now just being delivered. I am but a blip in the progression of its mission. I am very glad that volunteering found its way into ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 4th 2019

There are a lot of things I have enjoyed about being in a place for so long where it starts to feel comfortable. One of the most pleasurable things is the drive to volunteering. I have gotten used to the randomness of the driving and people yielding as vehicles venture across at all moments, cars driving the wrong way down traffic, and the wild and crazy of the city and I have just started to notice small things. Every day I see a different shop, the group of men always on the corner smoking and waving their arms as they talk to each other and these traveling green houses (See picture). I wish I was a drawer and then I would carry a sketch book instead of a journal and have no need for a camera. ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 3rd 2019

In case you were wondering, I have a certain fondness for animals, particularly dogs. It seems whenever traveling, they tend to gravitate towards me...my friends may say it is the other way around. Regardless there is usually one or two stories about a pack of dogs following us home because I snuck hotdog pieces I couldn’t finish from an unwanted birthday appetizer or getting scolded for going too near the dogs on the street. The reminder that just because I am friendly doesn‘t mean they are friendly. Anywho, Cambodia has not been any different. There are 3 kinds of dogs here: the true stray, the truly owned, and the your mine dog because you hang out here but every day you go on your merry way and may or may not come back or make it ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 2nd 2019

Welcome to Yvonne this week...a new volunteer who works as a tour guide in Belgium and has traveled all over Europe and made a living sharing the history of places. If you sense some envy in my text, you are CORRECT! We asked Yvonne to join us to our day out at West Baray and spent the 30 minute Tuk Tuk ride hearing her incredible stories of volunteering with the Mercy Ships (boat hospitals) which have brought her to the Congo, Madagascar and also her volunteer time in India (again yes a little envy...but only a little maybe). West Baray is a reservoir outside of Angkor Thom and was built around the 11th century and is the world’s largest handcut reservoir measuring 2.1 km by 7.8 km. There is a small island which you can boat ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 1st 2019

Lotus are a flower that grows prosperously in Cambodian ponds and are a beautiful scenery addition. The amazing thing about the flower is 100% of it is usable in some process: teas, thread (clothing), fruit, lip balm, paper and on and on and on. The most common use of the lotus is to cut apart the stem and pull the vertical fibers running through it out and make thread out of it. The thread can then be used to produce clothing. It is soft like silk and doesn’t harm animals in the process. However, it is incredibly time consuming. In one day a skilled worker can make 250 meters of thread. However, it takes 12,000 meters of thread to make one jacket (that is 48 days for some quick math). The thread then needs to be ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 31st 2019

We had the unique experience of going to a school opening. Trailblazer Foundation has fundraised and constructed 8 schools now. They work with the government to identify where new school are needed (population increases or lack of access) or school rebuilds because buildings are no longer safe. This week there were two school openings both due to dilapidation. It ended up being like a ribbon cutting ceremony. The school provided breakfast bread and water for all the students and the community families. The monks gave a blessing, governement and school officials and large donors gave speeches. The main donor came to the U.S. as an illegal immigrant and now owns a multi-million dollar company. His daughter threatened him to give away his money or she will just buy cats with all her inheritance. So he has ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 30th 2019

We had a volunteer tell me a story of how he was brought to tears by a man who was selling books from a cart in front of the restaurant he was eating at. At one point, the gentleman was chatting with a Tuk Tuk driver who helped him open his bottle of soda because the gentleman selling the books had both arms amputated above his elbows. On our opening tour and everything we read about Cambodia it gave a strict warning ”Please do not buy items or give money to children peddling or begging.“ This is because they do not want parents to think their children can be more valuable to the family by being on the street during the day than at school. Our volunteer left me some money to give to the man ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 29th 2019

One of the highlights of this trip has been the street food. Whether it was vendor carts in London or goat on a stick in Uganda, every country seems to have some street food creation. Siem Reap has been a street food gold mine of street food opportunity. Here are some basics to help increase your chance of successful dining: It is a good sign if people are eating there, this not only means people enjoy the food, but more importantly it means the food hasn’t been sitting too long Covers, plastic wrap or containers holding the food means the flies probably haven’t had an opportunity to get to it ICE...either food sitting in it or a cooler (if you are eating meat) or no meat sitting out The picture is what Den (our Trailblazer supervisor) ... read more




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