Monday, January 05, 2009

Life on the water

This post has taken a couple of days mostly because I've been in transit and am very much on the treadmill again. I'm sitting in a hotel room in San Diego and couldn't feel further away from Cambodia, especially the Cambodia depicted in these pictures.
Its easy to get "Templed out" visiting Ankor and one day I headed to Tonle Sap Lake a couple of kms from Siem Reap. Two hours in a boat cruising around the village will set you back $10 and is well worth while. Whereas Siem Reap is starting to reap the benefits from the steady flow of tourists, Tonle sap is pretty poor. Its a self contained village divided into two communities, Cambodian and Vietnamese with separate schools and floating shops. From what I could see there was very little mixing between the two groups. The Vietnamese section is decidedly less well off though its really comparing degrees of poverty rather than contrasting haves and have- nots.
The sign above on the boat is a reminder that there are some people going to Cambodia looking for something other than temples and culture.
It makes me feel sick.
Honda Civic steering wheel finds a second life.These pictures tell the story of the biggest threat to general health in Cambodia outside of the land mine issue.Dirty drinking water and water borne diseases account for 50% of all deaths in Cambodia.
Think about that.
The good news is a well can be built for only $300 and provide clean water for 15 people.I came upon these community wells as I walked around Tonle Sap and after doing some digging have found two basic outfits building them. There's an evangelical Korean church and a group called "Sam Brothers" (which doesn't appear to be involved in the "Bible in one hand- Sandwich in the other, "bait and switch".)
There's an American family which seems to be coordinating US donations for wells. They have a web site which I've written to and hope to have a couple of "Terry's Travel and Thoughts" wells started in the coming few months.
Check them out here
Everything takes place on the water and school is no exception.
Don't worry the guys below are destined to be handbags and shoes and aren't swimming amongst the school kids.
OK that's if for the Floating village.
Like everywhere else, Siem Reap have petrol stations which double as convenience stores.
You can pick up candy, soda, bread and milk.
Oh and a couple of other things that give new meaning to convenience store "pick up" .
The flash makes that difficult to see. Lets have a closer look at the "impulse buy" display at the cash register.A scarcity of clean drinking water but you can pick up Viagra at the gas station.
As with the stuff above, Cambodians have come up with some unique ways to part westerners with their $'s. The one below made me shake my head. There were no end of women lining up to take part. I wonder why the guys found this unappealing but the women found it compelling?
That's it from Cambodia.As I said earlier I'm in San Diego for the next 10 days or so and then heading to Australia. I should be in the UK in February during Chinese New Year but I'm not looking ahead much further than that.
I hope all of you are settling into 2009 and aren't suffering from the back to work winter blues.


Anonymous said...

If anyone is looking for a wider ranging water charity, please consider WaterAid:
They don't operate in Cambodia, but are active (and I believe effective) in various countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region. My mother (ex-nurse and complete hygiene freak - cleans key holes with cotton wool buds) got involved with WaterAid after a visit to Madagascar.

A surprisingly large amount of counterfeit "Viagra" is manufactured in Vietnam. I used to work for Pfizer who make Viagra (RTM) tablets and counterfeits were in my remit. Often the tablets are visually indistinguishable from the genuine product. Sometimes the counterfeits contain sildenafil citrate (the active ingredient), sometimes they contain god knows what...

I would not put my feet in with those fishies. Especially not if I had plasters on my ankles (thus probably broken skin) as per the picture in the post: water-borne disease anyone, no thanks. Yucky.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

On back to work winter blues, the following has been circulated at the saltmines here:

"Originally, there was an intention to ban holidays during the OF training and rollout period. When the originally planned rollout date slipped, the ban had to be rescinded and the intention was that leave during these periods would left to the discretion of RMPs/Team leaders. However, the number of leave requests already received, many allegedly special cases, is now making it impossible to determine whether the planned training schedule will work, even with the built-in repeat sessions. Coordination across teams is becoming problematic. There is also concern about overall coverage in the month following 'Go Live'.

It is vital that rollout works to schedule and everyone is sufficiently up to speed to be able to fulfil their roles within the new regime. OF is a significant investment in the future of this firm and we have a shared responsibility to make it a success and that each of us as individuals has the skills to perform effectively, working with the new systems.

Therefore, regardless of what leave arrangements you have already requested or agreed with any individual, we need to revist what leave can actually be granted. Therefore, please now give me your requests for leave during the whole period from 23 February 2009 to 3 June 2009, inclusive, including anything already agreed. It must be stressed that what are being asked for are requests for leave and there is no guarantee that any individual request can be granted. Obviously though, we shall try to be sensible concerning holidays already booked, and the like. Likewise, we trust people to be sensible with their responses and be truthful and not try to book speculative dates to keep them open. We intend to get back to you by the end of next week with a decision on what leave is actually allowed. After the exercise is complete, it will be very difficult to agree additional leave within the above time period which is requested at a later date"

So....I shall be travelling only vicariously (via TT&T) for the next six months...

Boy am I feeling motivated.

A deskbound TR-HW.

Anonymous said...

It just gets better and better. It is half-year review time.

This corker from a female colleague attempting to score points over other female staff:
"I've had my children, so won't be going off on maternity leave".

The boss's response:
"You can't be sure unless you've been sterilised."

Can you hear alarm bells ringing in Human Resources?

Anyway, I'm going to stop griping, because at least I don't live in a hovel on stilts and I do have clean water.


Anonymous said...

T, why did you bypass NYC like that?

Is there going to be an inscription or something on the wells? A noble cause in any case!

The village sure looks interesting, but what's the advantage of having it spread out on the water like that, I wonder. (I've wondered about Venice too.) Is it that there's not enough of suitable type of terrain there?

Lennie from NYC

Anonymous said...

Probably flew over the Pacific so hasn't been past NYC...?

Anonymous said...

Probably, but that's only a hypothesis. L

Anonymous said...

"Okay," says she with a smirk.

Anonymous said...

New Year, new job...?

"Tourism officials in Australia are describing it as "the best job in the world". They want someone to work on a tropical island off the Queensland coast.

No formal qualifications are needed but candidates must be willing to swim, snorkel, dive and sail.

In return, the successful applicant will receive a salary of A$150,000 ($103,000, £70,000) for six months and get to live rent-free in a three-bedroom villa, complete with pool.

Anthony Hayes, Chief Executive, Tourism Queensland, said: "It doesn't sound too bad does it? We are looking for someone to tell the stories of the Great Barrier Reef and we have come up with what we think is the dream job."

The post is being advertised as 'caretaker' on Hamilton Island in Australia's Whitsunday Islands.

The new recruit will work for just 12 hours a month. Duties include feeding some of the hundreds of species of fish and collecting the island's mail.

They will also need to prepare a blog, a photo diary and video updates to attract tourists to the area.

"There are hundreds of islands scattered along the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Hayes told the BBC. "We are looking for someone who can go and explore all the different islands then report back to the world on what they see.

"We need a special person. They are going to be pretty busy having a good time."

Hamilton Island, where the temperature is warm all year round, is the largest inhabited island in the region. It boasts blue skies, crystal water and pure sands.

The job is being advertised around the world. Candidates have until 22February to submit an online video application.

In May, 10 shortlisted candidates and one wildcard, voted for by visitors to the Tourism Queensland website, will be invited to the islands for a four-day final interview process. The successful candidate will start the new job on 1 July.

Mr Hayes says he is expecting thousands of applications: "I'm having to beat my staff off with a stick at the moment because most of them want to apply too."


Anonymous said...

L, I have one word for you: mercurial. Make of it what you will. But I think that is the essence.


Anonymous said...

Hi Terry haven,t abandend you :) just a very busy time within the Hospital :( lots of flue within the old folk and various other illnessness, have not had the time to wander around your world :) but have done so now and loved it kisses penny xx

Anonymous said...

Nomadic is perhaps a better word.

BTW Chinese New Year starts 26 January this year. Firecrackers at the ready?


jL said...

Hey Terry -

I am in Siem Reap now. Funny how much of what you experienced in 2008 / 2009 still hold true today.

Dr. Fish
crowds at the Angkor Wat
accessible drugs
bad coffee

What happens to building TT&T wells? the link on your post is broken.

I have a few more weeks here for work. So I can go check up on them.