Page 3 of Shoshana in Asia Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 15th 2013

Our whole morning was spent with scholarship-funded university students, including the young woman my partner and I help support. They presented to us, and we to them, on our programs and where voluntarism (for them) and internship (for us) fits in. I visit this group whenever I can, and was sad not to see some faces, but happy because I know they've graduated. There were about 30 students, 1-2 staff, and 9 of us in the room at any time, and though breezy enough, it was also pleasing to get out after 3 hours. It turns out that former colleagues had just arrived with their own tour group, so K and I lunched with them at Anise Hotel's restaurant. It was fun to meet their group members as they arrived, and at a certain point we ... read more
with the students 2
with the students 3

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 14th 2013

We experienced a great range of emotions today. We began with an early morning visit to Toul Sleng (S-21), a Khmer Rouge extermination center that is now a genocide museum in downtown Phnom Penh. Toul Sleng was a school before the Khmer Rouge came to power; it was converted to an internal interrogation and torture center. After extracting confessions for mostly false charges, the Khmer Rouge drove the victims to Choeung Ek (the Killing Fields) and killed them and their families. This was my third trip, and my second in a support role for other people on the trip. I made it a thorough visit, stopping in just about every room and reading all the placards. I periodically made a circuit of my students to see how the different clumps were faring. Because it was less ... read more
Graffito on a photo of a Khmer Rouge leader (detail)
Stupa at Cheoung Ek
Fried spider Saturday

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 13th 2013

We began our morning at Royal University of Phnom Penh, which I visit fairly frequently. For a pleasing change of pace, my assistant K graciously offered to present. He lectured on PTSD to an attentive audience of 4th year psychology students. We next had coffee with several long-term volunteers, who offered insight and opinions on a variety of topics. We concluded our time at RUPP with a visit to the new library, which I believe was still under construction when I last visited. It's very beautiful, and quite an accomplishment. After lunch, we went to Daughters of Cambodia, which has a visitor center, shop, cafe and women-only massage area. Many ate pastries; I did not (though the did have an excellent-looking gluten-free chocolate cupcake). I did have a foot massage, Khmer-style as compared to the reflexology ... read more
Daughters of Cambodia 2
Daughters of Cambodia

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 12th 2013

We began our day at Sovann Komar (Golden Child) village, which is an orphanage that's structured unusually in that instead of one nanny to 20 children, there are smaller family groups with hired parents who are college-educated and make a 20-year commitment to their constructed families. No photos, since it's not allowed for confidentiality and security. They are opening a restaurant soon, though, and I'll look forward to trying it next time I'm here. We were toured around by an Oregon intern, which is always a delight. I began to feel ill at mid-morning, as did another student. By now, most people have become ill, some badly so. I've had words with the hotel, since the only food we have in common is breakfast. This hotel, like many I frequent, is a training site for rural ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 11th 2013

We began our morning at Somaly Mam Foundation/AFESIP ( and, both of which are related and work on human trafficking issues. They've recently started to offer informational talks, and we were fortunate to be able to schedule one during this visit. A speaker from their Voices for Change program (survivors of trafficking) also spoke with us about her own experiences and how the organization has helped her. It was a meaningful and moving visit, stimulating much discussion about the status of women in the world. We attempted to visit Le Rit's/Nyemo for lunch, but it seems to be closed. I hope they're planning to re-open; they're my favorite hotel in Phnom Penh. We wound up lunching at Blue Pumpkin above Monument Books instead. The students went to the Palace and Silver Pagoda or the National ... read more
Chicken weith green peppercorns

Asia » Cambodia » South » Takéo » Sla December 10th 2013

My thanks to Travelblog for adding Sla to the location database! My morning began with a 5:00 AM tap on the door and a plaintive student asking if I had water. No, I did not, and no one did--running water, that is, not drinking water. The hotel was able to reset this, but I had already "showered" in the sink with just a dribble. I still don't have hot water, but I've stayed in several Cambodian hotels that run only up to lukewarm so I don't have an expectation of a hot shower. Today is International Human Rights Day, which in Cambodia often means protests. I knew of three this time around, with two large ones centered near Wat Phnom. Therefore, we went south and out of the city at 7:30 this morning. It took two ... read more
On the Road
Cultivation, from Wat Chisor
Krishna and Arjuna

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 9th 2013

My morning began at 12:02 SAM, when my assistant arrived and needed to be vetted before the clerk would let him into the room with the sleeping student he's rooming with. Up again early and then a group trip to the Russian Market, where several kramas, pairs of pants, and bags were purchased. Lunch at a Taiwanese place (Candy Taiwan Tea House), then a brief rest at the hotel before tuk-tuks to the Foreign Correspondents Club. A slow walk up Sisowath Quay, with a temple and some restaurant scrutiny, then I gave everyone some time on their own. I went first to Artisans Angkor to look around a little, then to Seeing Hands, a massage business that employs blind masseuses, and had an hour-long reflexology foot massage ($7). The man on the table next to me ... read more
OunaLom Pagoda
At OunaLom Pagoda
River Cruise

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh December 8th 2013

We had three flights to get here, all of which were delayed, all of which were somewhat tedious, none of which were eventful, which was good. My assistant was on a later flight to Seattle and was prevented from connecting by snow. I expect to see him sometime after midnight tonight. After getting here with my students, collecting those who took routes through China instead of South Korea, and checking in to the hotel, I stayed up until 2:00 AM checking arrangements. I was up at about 6:30 and sat through multiple student breakfasts between then and 10:45. Nice choices and a pleasant courtyard at Frangipani Villa-90s. It was weirdly cool today--cooler that I've ever experienced in Phnom Penh. We split into two groups and walked around near the hotel looking for stores and restaurants. The ... read more
Dining area, Frangipani Villa-90s
Lunch at The Terrace at 95

North America » United States » Oregon » Portland December 4th 2013

Here's a version of my intro write-up for other purposes: I’ve been to Cambodia a number of times now—as a professional, as a volunteer, and as a tourist. I’ve visited with other psychologists through People to People International, on one of Friendship with Cambodia’s socially responsible tours, and on my own. I’ve even met a couple of my university students there. But even though this is my 6th trip, it’s the first I’ve put together to share the experience with a group. I’ve wanted to do this since 2006, and I’m very excited that it’s finally happening. My assistant K and I both have a background in psychology and the students are undergraduate juniors and seniors in a service-related major. This means that all of us are interested in people and the sociocultural contexts that help ... read more

North America » United States » Oregon » Portland December 2nd 2013

At the end of the week I'll head to Cambodia again, this time with an assistant leader and 7 undergraduates. This is the first time I'll be leading a tour, though I did take my partner when I went for a for a quick contact-making/reconnoitering trip to Siem Reap last December while planning this trip. The group will be documenting its experiences elsewhere, but I like keeping my own notes as well, so here we are. This trip is intended to expose students to the human and social services needs of contemporary Cambodia, and how these are currently addressed both locally and by outsiders. We'll visit a number of NGOs and service agencies, and we'll also go to cultural and historical sites. I'm excited by the prospect of long, intense conversations with the students throughout the ... read more

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