Page 2 of Shoshana in Asia Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Oregon » Portland March 10th 2014

I always joke that when my toenail polish from one trip wears off, it’s time to get the next trip underway. While I had only short domestic travel planned for awhile, a serendipitous opportunity has arisen. In gathering information and helping faculty and staff learn and begin applying the first round of new standards for faculty-led international travel, we found that an upcoming trip, already committed to and with students already deep into preparatory activities, didn’t have a leader who would meet the college’s requirements. We tried several potential solutions, but what it’s come down to is that I will lead the trip. This is because I’m available, have led one before, and am on salary and in an institutional role that means my participation falls under the terms of my contract. I can also muddle ... read more

North America » United States » Oregon » Portland December 23rd 2013

A few notes about new gear, which is my enduring obsession. 1. Tiny s-biners. Use these to latch zippers that you want to secure but don't want to keep locking and unlocking. Deters theft, though not as well as a lock. These worked pretty well, though they have a certain tendency to spring off. The variety that's got a plastic component seemed particularly prone to this. Double-check that they're secured. 2. Double-cable luggage locks. Intended to keep thieves from prying open and then resealing a continuous loop zipper by affixing the lock to a handle. They work pretty well in this regard, but are hard to read in low light, prone to resetting themselves at a new combination (both K and I had this experience on this trip), and are easily cut with wire clippers. ... read more

North America » United States » Oregon December 23rd 2013

Though long, the flight from Incheon to Seattle was manageable, with a tasty ssambap (Korean lettuce wrap) for dinner on the plane. Less savory was a breakfast of rice porridge with fish, which I declined. I don't want congee that badly. This turned out to be a good decision for extraculinary reasons as the descent to Seattle was quite turbulent and my experience of throwing up in a bag was much better without seafood. In Seattle, though still queasy, I stopped at Ivar's for fried scallops and The Body Shop for a tub of tea tree facial mask. The flight home from Seattle was fine and it was exquisite to shower with hot water. Throughout the trip, we were relentlessly pounded by Christmas music. I don't mind sacred music at all, or even interesting renditions of ... read more
Lime-based soup
Lotus pod seller
Kitty at Wat Phnom

Asia » South Korea » Incheon December 23rd 2013

When I ask what's missing in my life, the answer is almost always dol sot bibimbap with a side of spicy kimchi, so other than missing my partner and cats, I am, at the moment, complete. Those of us not going to Thailand flew out last night on an 11:50 from Siem Reap. REP may need the award for Most Improved Airport--compared to my first flight out, there are actually places to sit that aren't molded plastic chairs, and there are things to eat or read. A much nicer wait than it used to be. We arrived at 7:00ish AM at ICN, called Seoul but actually Incheon (I used to teach groups of university students from Incheon, so this is an important distinction). Like Hong Kong and Bangkok (BKK), this is a huge, modern airport that ... read more
Free shower
Lots of decorative phalaenopsis
Mmm... Dol sot bibimbap with kimchi

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 22nd 2013

Morning: I overhear a student say, "I can't believe that it's all over! It feels like it was just one big day." This is a good conclusion to a trip of this length. Four students head to Thailand this morning; the rest of us leave for the US via South Korea later tonight. After I see off the Thailand crew, I'll go do some lasts--the last tour, the last banana/nutella crepe, the last $3 foot massage. When the remaining students return from their floating forest tour, we'll have our last Cambodian meal (and one will have her last cigar). Last night's dinner at the Sugar Palm was lovely. The dark wood (palm wood, I read online) decor was breezy and inviting, with plenty of tree and palm foliage blocking the street noise. Table settings were simple ... read more
Prahok Kh'Tih

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 21st 2013

We visited the Landmine Museum this morning ( It might have been better economically to combine this with a multi-day temple pass and a visit to the beautiful Banteay Srei temple, but that didn't work well with our schedule. The ride out was rural and interesting as we passed water buffalo, rice fields, children in school uniforms on bicycles, and houses with clay over brick stoves in front. The museum is small but information-rich. I think some of my students really understood the bigger problems caused by UXOs for the first time (including exploring the question of why the US, China, and Russia won't sign the landmine ban treaty). The central ordnance display is reminiscent of the memorial stupa at Choeung Ek with its glass-fronted piles of skulls. <... read more
Landmine Museum
Water buffalo

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 20th 2013

In my down time today, I visited several socially responsible crafts vendors, hung out and read for a few hours in the Peace Cafe's lovely garden, and had another foot massage at Baray spa. We also visited Blossom for some delicious mini-cupcakes. Please note that they always have two gluten-free flavors (using nut meals, among other ingredients). Melissa gave us a spirited description of how many ingredients can't be obtained or behave differently in Cambodia, necessitating creativity. Melissa helped us find the new Somaly Mam beauty shop across from the Angkor Children's Hospital. Three of my students have appointments tomorrow. Interesting fact: Marijuana is illegal but pig farmers are permitted to grow it, because they stuff the leaves in the pigs' mouths to sedate them when taking them to market tied to a tuk-tuk.... read more
More cupcakes

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 19th 2013

We spent a fantastic morning with Trailblazer Foundation, arriving at their office in the morning for an overview, then visiting a village with them. Trailblazer has many related projects, several involving clean water. In addition to digging wells, they sell inexpensive bio-sand water filters. I've seen these around Siem Reap over time at sites including an orphanage and the Peace Cafe, so I was eager to visit homes that used these filters. After showing us their production area, a test garden, a well, and a mushroom shed similar to one I've visited in Kampot, Scott and Sey jumped in our tuk-tuks and we headed to a village. On the way, Scott described infrastructure changes over the last few years. Not least of these is his ability to call the village chief's cell phone to say we ... read more
Growing mushrooms
A filter in the village
Cooking in the village

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 19th 2013

On Tuesday we arose very early and took chilly tuk-tuk rides to Angkor Wat, where we watched the sky lighten (though there was no formal sunrise as it was overcast). We started at Angkor Wat, then moved on to the Bayon and Angkor Thom, then ended with Ta Prohm. Though the colors weren't as brilliant, it was certainly more temperate at the temple complex than on my previous 4 visits. I walked around in the main area for awhile, but took the opportunity to do something I rarely have time for and sat by the moat outside the temple looking for birds. I'm pretty sure I saw a black-naped oriole, which is a new bird for me, as well as several black bazas and both common parakeets. (I have neglected to mention the other new birds ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap December 18th 2013

Between travel, electrical outages, and activities, I haven't been able to write for a couple of days. I'm sitting at the Blue Pumpkin cafe with 5 of my students, drinking coffee and, in theory, charging my computer (which is to say, it's buzzing at the wall, where I have constructed the normal stack o' shimming objects to hold the plug in, and the icon on my screen, though not animating, shows I'm plugged in). Apparently a chunk of town is either dark or on emergency generators. I'm just thrilled to have had 5 minutes of hot water this morning, and, if it's necessary to be wired, to have easy, convivial alternative venues. Now everyone's here. Several are making their travel arrangements for Thailand after this trip, while others are blogging, writing, or uploading their photos. The ... read more
Bus drive, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Bus drive, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Leaning tower of electricity

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