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Asia » Cambodia » South » Kampot
July 25th 2008
Published: July 25th 2008
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If I remember correctly, when we last left off we were hanging our bug nets to save ourselves from the mice invasion. There were no computers at our visit to Kampot, so I took notes to fill you in on the highlights of the last several days.

We stayed one last night in our "mouse" room, but with very little sleep decided to upgrade to a beautiful little bungalow over looking the ocean. I wish I could say that we slept in peace but with every little sound we were reminded of past events. Sleep may never be the same again.

Tuesday we sat at the beach and hoped our bodies would begin to turn the golden brown of the Cambodian people. When I am able to download more photos you will see how wrong we were.

On Wednesday we took a 4 hour bus ride to Kampot, a little village looking over the Elephant Mountains southeast of where we were. We stayed at the Little Garden Bar and fell in LOVE with the owner, a German woman named Barb. She was wonderful! When she found out it was Courtney's birthday she baked her a cake, lit a candle and we all sang happy birthday. We felt like we could stay here forever. It is someplace I hope to visit again very soon, maybe with some of you willing readers out there?!?

Thursday we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed to conquer the Elephant Mountians. After a 40 minute bike ride in the blistering sun we reached the base of the mountain and began to climb. We lasted approximately 30 minutes and could not go any further, water bottles already empty, sun at it's peak, our bag of rice too heavy to carry. All the village people we saw previously, chopping wood, swinging babies in hammocks, collecting wood while naked, watched us walk up and then watched us walk down. We made all Westerners look very weak.

Thursday evening we got a massage at the cost of $4/ hour. You may be interested to learn that all "legit" massage places in this area are by blind people. Any other massage parlor is just going to do inappropriate things to your body, and after what we witnessed in Sihanoukville, it seems to be a booming business. Ladies out there, NEVER let your husbands, boyfriends or significant others come to SEA unattended. More information can be given upon request.

It was after our massage, sitting by the river while watching the sun set that we met Samon, a young Cambodian anxious to practice his english skills. We asked him why people were starring at us, calling out to us on the streets, children giddy when we answered their calls of hello. The answer was so simple that we had never seen it. For most of those people, we were the FIRST white people, or westerners as some called us, they had EVER seen. Riding our bikes, with our clothes, our different hair textures and colors, our smiles, it was like nothing they had ever seen and nothing we had ever experienced. We had even turned to each other, thinking "they must think we are someone else". They didn't know why Courtney had glasses on, and had even questioned her about her "eye problem". People here can't afford glasses and so very few people knew what they were for. We sat for 15 mintues, trying to explain that I have "eye problems" too, but I wear contacts. They cringed at the thought of putting something in their eyes. And let me say for the record, Samon is an educated man, having just completed his college degree.

This morning we started our slow crawl north back towards Bangkok. We are in Phnom Penh for the night and leave for Bangkok at 6AM on a 14 hour bus ride on unpaved roads. It is ESSENTIAL for us to be out of the country by Sunday, as it is their election day. One of the parties running is a former Khmer Rouge soldier. We were told he does not have a very good chance of winning, but if he does it could cause some problems. We have seen many protests with trucks full of people with loud speakers waving flags and screaming their parties name. We spent a great deal of time talking with Cambodians about this election and if I wasn't compeltely and utterly exhausted I would be more than happy to fill you in. As corrupted as some of our politicans may be, once you have witnessed the corruption of a third world country, it makes me realize we have very little, if anything, to complain about.

Once we are safely in Bangkok, I will add more pictures. Wish us luck tomorrow.


Kristin and Crew

PS Interesting Fact #1: College here is free, but of the 500 people that apply, only 20 are accepted each year. Private college costs between $400-500. Seems cheap, right? The average Cambodian makes $160/year. So, let's say you make $50 thousand a year, can you imagine the price of college tuition being more than double your salary at about $120,000/ year? How many of us would be able to attend?

Intersting Fact #2: Cambodia has the highest infant and under 5 mortality rate. Not surprising as we saw a child walking around with a recycled water bottel being used as an IV

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25th July 2008

I'm glad your back!
I've missed your blogs. I 'm glad to see your back in action. Sounds like the past couple of days have been amazing. Sun, surf and "happy ending" massages.. what more could a person ask for. Be safe on your journey out of Cambodia. I look forward to hearing from you again real soon.
25th July 2008

Blind masseus or masseur
Kristin, you said those who give a massage are blind, but were they male or female??? I'm glad to see you are having some light-hearted moments mixed in with the trama of seeing life in a third-world country. It takes traveling anywhere outside the U.S. to realize that on the world stage "we" Americans are the Paris Hiltons of the world. This has been such a rewarding experience for you. The only thing that would have been worse then finding mice in my room would have been snakes. I would have been on the next plane home. Take care, Love Maureen
25th July 2008

So glad to hear from you
I was getting worried, then I thought you must be in a part of the world that has no internet. I look foward to your blogs. BE Safe
26th July 2008

Karen
From the shores of Cambodia to the shores of the Vineyard. Sorry for being neglectful and not giving you all the love and attention you deserve. I miss you tons. What will I do without you next year? Maybe we'll still end up together. If not, we have another 30 years left to be reunited. I'll keep my fingers crossed. Can't wait to go back to school shopping.
26th July 2008

Words I've always wanted to say
Kristin I've always wanted to say "it is essential that I be out of the country by Sunday". Sounds so sophisticated and James Bondish. Political Intrigue, I'm sooo impressed. You, brown, I don't think so but I could be wrong. Hurry up to the next breathtaking adventure, honey. My love, Lauren.
26th July 2008

Sarah
Sorry to worry you Bloom, but you were correct about the internet. Hope all is well with you! Miss you.
26th July 2008

Two weeks down, four to go
Well, two weeks have passed since dropping you off at the Bailey's for Logan and four weeks to go before I hose you down in the driveway before even handing you your car keys and sending you home to mom's to shower before I give you a nice big hug!!! I wish you a safe 14 hr ride out of Cambodia. I know you said it could be dangerous with the election so please be safe and get the hell back to the USA! I'm so over this trip!!! Miss and love you so much. I wish you'd answer my blog questions - have you showered and what are you eating?? Ohhhh and how the hell dare you eat someone elses cake!!!!!!!!!!! I AM THE CAKE LADY, right Mary??? How dare you!!!! Like this trip has not been devastating enough for me and you are eating other peoples cake. You are trying to kill me, huh??
26th July 2008

Goodness....
Hey I was like freaking out too. Glad to hear from you. Very intereseted to hear about the "massages" HA HA HA. So, I am sorry to hear about Sophia, my condolences. Update on my end. My wall is being fixed by association, Rugs being installed on 8/1, moving shortly after. Miss you come home. PS my parents basement flooded yesterday. We go insane Rain, thunder and lightening storms and there were funnel clouds in Taunton and Rhode Island. :) Later gater
26th July 2008

Hello!
Hi Kristin....we don't know each other....Gia and I are friends of Mike and Eric. I found your travel blog through theirs and have been peeking in from time to time...I hope you don't mind (we aren't stalkers, really!!). I was intrigued to follow the adventure of another Brooks teacher, even one I've never met. I must say I'm glad I did...it's been a pleasure reading your entries! Definitely gives me more inspiration for taking my own grand journey at some point and for Gia...to take many, in the future. Thank you! Best wishes for a safe and healthy remainder of the trip and continued fun! Suzanne
26th July 2008

Suze and Gia
Thanks so much for checking in. Trying to keep up with Eric and Mike has been tough. Completely different trip for women!
26th July 2008

Nik
Bottom line kiddo, when is the first sleep over? It needs to be before school starts so we can get our bonding in before I disappear into the world of school.
26th July 2008

Nicole
Your true colors are shinning! Take it easy, all is well. Made it to Bangkok after 14 hours with no food and no bathroom. We splurged and spent 15 dollars each on our room for tonight.
26th July 2008

No Happy Ending Massages for you huh?
Kris I am glad your loving life over there. You make me greatful for everything I have as I read your blogs. I hope your trip back to Bangkok goes smoothly...all 14 hours of it! I hope these next 4 weeks fly by...and I am right there with your sister! What are you doing eating someone elses cakes??? Miss you terribly. Hurry home (safely). p.s. Meet any monks yet? p.p.s Does the Mice incident trump the Bear incident???
26th July 2008

:)
thanks for my shout out i feel much better now.
26th July 2008

Per Mrs. Bailey
Hello guys...soooo happy to know you are back in Thailand safe. There has been a warning put out to "Westerners" like yourselves to NOT NOT NOT travel to Malaysia. State Department issued. I just read this blog to Mrs. Bailey and she would like Courtney to call her asap. I think she's really worried and would like you guys to cut your travels short. Kristin, I'm begging you to please stay vigilant. Please keep me posted, where are you traveling to next??? I'd like detailed info if you have it. Thanks!! LOVE YOU!!!
27th July 2008

long time no see
Hi Miss Howell,,,,I was wondering what happened to you. I was thinking those mice got you :o). I'm glad to hear your doing ok I was wondering have you been playing football :)...?? I miss seeing you,,be safe and hope to hear from you soon...love James
27th July 2008

4:05 am..
Good morning! It's 4:05 am here and I just woke up thinking/worrying about you. Thought I'd come downstairs to pee and check the blog. Looks like you haven't been online since my last comment. With the 11 hour time difference it makes it midafternoon there and I wonder what you are doing? Hoping you are well. I can't wait for you to come home. Jaclyn's had a fever and rash since Weds due to her 3 newest teeth arriving. It's been hell to say the least. Wish you were here to hold her too!! Blog again soon, gonna try and get a few more hours sleep before Jaclyn starts her day. Love you!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo
27th July 2008

James
Where in the world have you been? I was hoping you and the fam were following along. Yes, I'll look for your new e-mail address and add it to my blog. Keep in touch. What have you been doing all summer? No footballs in this area. I'd give anything to toss it around a few times though, don't want to lose my edge. Tell everyone I said hello.
27th July 2008

Nicole
Don't worry, Malaysia is out now anyways. We were too caught up in Cambodia. On Wednesday we are heading north. I'll blog again tonight or tomorrow. By the way, there was always a travel warning, not for the entire country, just an area. Just like in USA, there are good parts and bad parts. Wouldn't want a family to stay away from Disney because Camden, NJ is not a good area. Have a little faith....:)
27th July 2008

Faith??
Well we are happy to know Malaysia is out. Is Christina already flying? Per your itinerary you are to be picking her up on Tuesday. I'm assuming that is as planned. Are you meeting up with Eric P at all? And of course I have faith in you. But you have traveled to Camden NJ more times then you have traveled to Disney. You tend to gravitate towards the Camden's of the world. Did you not have to duck down in Camden NJ at a Habitat for Humanity house due to a driveby shooting? And did you not sleep in the streets during some part of your European trip a few years back? So although I may have faith in you 100%, it's the rest of this crazy world I fear. Stay vigilant and keep us all posted. The blog is awesome! Miss and love you!!! xoxoxx Your very loving neurotic about you to the core sister! xxoxoxoxoxxo
27th July 2008

no need for summer reading
Kristin, you are an amazing girl!!! Mary has me hooked on you incredible journey. It makes my days of camp, cleaning and kids seem like nothing and makes me more greatful everyday for the things i have. It is like a summer novel for me except i am not on a beach or at a pool just sitting here while the kids are watching Sponge Bob and loving every moment of your stories!! Be safe!! Karen
28th July 2008

Hi Kristin, Nice to hear from you again. I am so happy you decided to upgrade your sleeping quarters. Can't wait to see the picture of the nets you are talking about. Sorry to hear you couldn't make it to the top of that mountain. Now you know how I felt about the steps at Bunker Hill:) By the way, leave Camden, NJ out of this. At least they can take a shower, if they want, and most of all they have a WAWA and a DUNKIN DONUTS:) :) Keep safe, be careful and God bless. Love Carol
28th July 2008

Karen H
Hey Karen! Welcome to the blog. Sponge Bob sounds like a rougher path than the one I am on now. Good luck to you. We have the same initials...I love stuff like that.
28th July 2008

Mrs Hagan
I know, my sincerest apologies for including NJ in a negative way, but it was the only way to get my point across. Did you really have to mention Wawa and Dunkins? You are killing me.
28th July 2008

Nicole
It was in Scotland I slept outside in the rain and was almost peed on by a drunken football fan. Yes, it was when I was in Camden I had to duck and hide on the floor behind a couch during a drive by shooting. And yes it was in Amsterdam that...wait a second, I don't think I told you about this one. It all really sounds a lot worse than it was. Chins up!
28th July 2008

Jude
Hey Jude! I've heard so much about you, and the rest of the family. Macaela is very well adjusted and has been thriving. We are slowly taking her lead. Keep in touch!!
1st August 2008

Hi Kristen! I see you are having a thoroughly authentic time of it. Who knew this was in store for you when I saw you at the end of school. Enjoy the rest of your adventure.
4th August 2008

Miss Liu
WOW! I'm so so so excited you are here. How did you find me? Now, no grading my little entries as I'm already reviewing and editing for the majority of the time.

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