Jasmine & Laurie around the world


Jasmine & Laurie around the world

The Next Adventure- Cambodia & Vietnam

Asia » Vietnam March 7th 2011

In Cambodia, don't worry about pedestrian crossings they don't take much notice, just pick a spot and step slowly onto the road. Then walk slowly across but with determination. The cars and motos are going fairly slowly and will slow down or politely swerve around you and you will get across safely. In Saigon, similarly don't worry about pedestrian crossings, nobody takes any notice here at all. They hardly even take any notice of the lights. Just pick a spot and step slowly onto the road. Then walk firmly across but be ready to run because they are going fast and they ain't going to stop for no-one. (This also true sometimes for crossing footpaths where the moto riders also go).... read more
Saigon Traffic

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 March 6th 2011

Vietnamese people are much more forward than Cambodians. This can be good and bad. My first morning in Saigon and going for a wander. The moto and tour touts and beggars are a bit more pushy than Cambodia but not too bad but I go and sit in the park to look at the map away from them. Then a couple of students ask if they can talk to me and practice their English. We chat about a range of things and they seem to be genuine. Just want to improve their English, get good jobs and travel. Their parents are both farmers in the provinces. Many Cambodians have reasonable English but are very shy about using it and never would be forward enough to ask to practice. Soon another guy and a woman join in ... read more
Ben Thanh Market
Inside market

Asia » Cambodia March 4th 2011

Is an autobiography of Chanrithy Him, a young Khymer girl from a good family who was forced to labour during the Pol Pot era. What I found interesting was that the violence and oppression was not indiscriminate but very systematic and cold. She escaped to Thailand when the Vietnamese liberated Cambodia. Then she went to America. Everybody here has a story. But you don't want to ask and they don't want to tell too much. It can be very confronting for both us and for them. But it can come out in small ways. Neary, the chief trainer at DWA one day showed us a passionfriut vine and said she couldn't eat them anymore because that was all she ate under Pol Pot. Another woman when asked about her family mentioned her husband and 3 children ... read more

Asia » Cambodia March 3rd 2011

The Cambodian people seem to be a very friendly and gentle people. They don't have the aggression of Indian people or some other Asian cultures. It is hard to see how they were able to inflict so much pain and violence on each other. But their beds tell of the tough lives they have lived. I like a firm bed. I hate soft or saggy beds which give me a sore back. But their beds (or at least the ones for tourists) are like rocks. I have often woken up in the night with a sore hip yearning for some softness. Maybe I am just a soft westerner and not a rugged traveller anymore.... read more
Very Hard Bed

Asia » Cambodia March 3rd 2011

Quakers are properly known as the Religious Society of Friends and I've enjoyed traveling with these Friends through the dusty outback to bright lights of Cambodia. Thank you all for a wonderful trip. (didn't get good photos of everybody)... read more
Sister Mary
Sue-Ellen praying to the phone god
Captain Dennis

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap March 1st 2011

Angkor Wat is the absolute highlight to any trip to Cambodia. The largest religious building in the world. The incredible bas reliefs and sculptures. It is absolutely amazing! And I missed it. Another of the expereinces of Cambodia is Delhi Belly. I was laid low with diarrhea and high temps for 2 of the 3 days we had to look at the Angkor Complex. I did get to go on the 1st day when it was recommended to look at other structures first which range from 9th to 14th century temples. Particularly I saw Angkor Thom, the royal city. In the 12th century it is estimated that it covered 1000 sq km and that 1 million people lived here. Only the stone temples remain as mere mortals lived in wooden buildings that didn't last. Angkor Wat ... read more
Entrance to Ta Prohm
Stairs at Ta Keo

Asia February 25th 2011

Our itinerary was rearranged before we came so we could be in Pursat for their IWD celebration and trade fair. We were told we needed to dress properly, ie. long trousers and shoulder coverings and that Jane was giving a speech on behalf of QSA, but little did we know what was in store. We arrived at the DWA centre at 4 and was told they would take us to the fair. Then suddenly our buses were part of a motorcade with politicians and other VIP's going to the fair. When we arrived everyone was standing to attention and we were ushered up to take our place on the stage. We were the only foreigners except the USAID director in Cambodia and another aid worker who walked into the wrong part and got put up on ... read more
Jane's speech
Permaculture project stall
Sustainable Cambodia Ambassadors

Asia » Cambodia » North » Tonlé Sap February 25th 2011

Quakers got the experience of being refugees today: herded into a small crowded fishing boat and being sent off to an unknown destination. We even had the boat break down and drift aimlessly on the water. Fortunately we were only on Tonle Sap Lake. This lake has been described as the "Heart of Cambodia"and is one of the most amazing geographically features in the world. It is fed by the Tonle Sap (Tonle means river) the only river in the world that changes direction every year. When the monsoons come the flood waters from the Mekong River are so high that the water flows up the Tonle Sap from where the rivers meet at Phnom Penh. This deposits tons of silt and nutrients in the Tonle Sap Lake so it is one of the most prolific ... read more
The Captain and Mate
Floating Village Store
The Fish Farm

Asia » Cambodia » Central » Pursat February 24th 2011

Veal Veng (Long paddock) is up Chinese Cry Mountain (so named after a Chinese merchant who cried when his goods carried by an elephant up the mountain were broken). It was one of the last strongholds of the Khymer Rouge and so was ignored by government until last 5 years. It has gone from a community centre, a school and an unmanned clinic to a bustling village. DWA Pursat has been working here and QSA paid for permaculture and weaving training and a shelter and looms. ... read more
Shelter and Looms
Old House
New House built next to it

Asia » Cambodia » Central » Pursat February 23rd 2011

The Dept of Women’s Affairs (DWA) has network of offices in all provinces and districts. However, Cambodia is good in developing national plans and paying for staff but not good at funding resources to make it all work. So QSA has supported the DWA in Pursat province for over 7 years by paying for equipment and training for village women in work skills, business skills and personal development. They are focusing on work women can do at home which will reduce number of women moving to Phnom Penh for factory or “entertainment” work. The increase in income will also increase the women’s value to husbands, if they have one (13% are women headed households), reduce domestic violence and help reduce need to take children out of school. ... read more
Grassmat weaving
Sewing Classes
Krom Weaving

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