Hello all. Things have been a little sparce around here lately, what with me not doing too much worthy of reporting. Yesterday I decided it was high time I do something more newsworthy, so I pulled out my Lonely Planet and discovered that there is a wildlife sanctuary about 35 miles south of here. It is sponsored in part by WildAid, an organization I once read about and fell in love with immediately as they are kind of a Greenpeace meets CIA operation. Very proactive in going out and stopping traffickers and poachers in this area. Anyhow, this sanctuary is animals who have been saved from such traffickers and poachers, and while I guess it's more like a zoo it's quite nice to see (according to LP). This sounded like the perfect place to get some pictures that would bring some life back into this blog. Not to mention that I'm more than ready to have some new scenery.
So it seems you can take a moto there, but the thought of 30 miles with a moto-dop was not terribly appealing. The LP recommended catching a bus to Takeo and then just getting the driver to drop you off there. So I got up ready to go this morning (after a late night at a party, more to follow) and headed down to the Central Market--the rumored home of buses. I asked a few people where the buses were, very proud that I had learned the word for bus, and everytime the crowd of 10 or so aggressive men who had gathered around would say "no buses" or "no buses to Takeo" or "only by taxi (moto, van, tuk tuk, take your pick here depending upon what the guy drove)." This went on at numerous places as I walked all around the outside of the Central Market, which is a great big dome building housing zillions of vendors selling anything and everything. I went up a few streets, finding more people who just insisted no buses to Takeo. I found one taxi driver who spoke decent english who stated that, while there was a bus to Takeo, it would not let me off at the sanctuary. But he would, of course, be happy to take me for $30. Growing angrier by the minute at all the people around me I decided perhaps it would be best to retreat and just go hire a moto from the Okay Guesthouse to take me there (I'd checked into this and it would just be $10). So I get a motodop to take me home and we end up on some random street, go a few blocks and low and behold, buses. And as we drive by, the Takeo bus pulled out in front of us. Had I been industrious I would have hopped off and ran after the bus, but I was a bit in shock. To top it all off, my motodop guy went completely the wrong direction and it took me 30 minutes to go the 5 minutes to my house. I even gave him names of all the things around my house in Khmer and he seemed to understand. But that is a specialty of some Cambodians (and Thais)...don't want to lose face by admitting they don't know something and before you know it you're in some new province. Then we got in a fight over how much money he should get because he used so much gas. Grrrr. So, my deepest apologies, but there are to be no tiger pictures this week.
I am instead going to spend my day packing up stuff and shopping (more browsing) at one of the big markets. Tomorrow I'm moving to a guesthouse/restaurant called Rory's Pub. Always had a dream of living in an Irish Pub some day.
Last night I met up with Tim and Agnieszka, the Aussie couple I met at the World Bank workshop. They were heading to a house party of some friends of theirs and invited me along. We had a few beers at their place (I kind of nursed one, still not 100% healthy), and then headed out to the house shared by 4 or 5 volunteers. I'm pretty sure that by the end of the night every volunteer in Phnom Penh, and nearby provinces, under the age of 30 who was out last night passed through that party. It was insanely packed. Finally met some of the U of Mich. folks, but only one of the law students. I ended up hanging out with these three med students from Toronto who are working at the Children's Surgical Center. They're going to be my new neighbors at Rory's, have an apartment right next door, so hopefully I'll be seeing more of them. Really interesting group of people there last night, and it was great to get to mix and mingle a bit. Well, I'm off to do my retailing, and I promise that next weekend I will try to do something that will shock and amaze, with good pictures.