Getting settled in.
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Some little updates here and there. But first I have to say: DAMN IT'S HOT HERE! High 90's every day with about 70% humidity.
Overall, it's been a great week. I spent the first part of the week working on a policies handbook for Human Translation (thanks to my HR friends who were so generous to email me samples!) and today was spent out in the village we are working in (Balang). More on that later.
Let's see - nothing huge to report. Like I said - it was a good week - most nights were early to bed for me...I've been all partied out after being in Phnom Penh and Kampot last week. Tobias took off yesterday afternoon to go down to Phnom Penh for the weekend, so I joined Will to go to a art opening at a very fancy hotel down the street from here. It felt kind of funny to get all dressed up after being in grungy clothes for so long, but I admit, it was nice to be a little 'girly' for a night! The art opening was pretty cool with lots of the expat community there (free food and wine will do it every time!). I met some really cool people, including a local artist and an Irish girl (Bina) who works for a gallery in town. She and I hit it off and she gave me some great advice as far as good places for shopping, how to get a deal on swimming at the hotel pools, etc. We ended up heading out of there (left Will at the art show and took off for girls night!) and went down to Ivy, which is the guesthouse I stayed at the first time I came to Siem Reap last year. Bina's boyfriend works at the bar there, so we ended up hanging out for a while and having a couple beers. The owner (British) was also there, and much to my surprise, he approached me a few minutes after we arrived and told me he remembered me from last time I was there. Impressive memory!
Anyhow - we ended up chatting for a while and when he asked the question everyone asks:
"So how long are you going to stay here?"
I gave him my usual response:
"I have no idea - until my money runs out"
To which he responded: "Do you want a job?"
Well, it's kind of a job, anyhow. He owns two guesthouses/bars, Ivy I and Ivy II, both in downtown Siem Reap, both pretty nice - Ivy I is a little more expensive - Ivy II is geared more towards the backpacker crowd. One of the guys he has working in the bar at Ivy II is leaving on Sunday and he needs a replacement. Basically, the job is to be at the bar every night from 7 - 11pm and talk to the guests. That's pretty much it. No bartending, no pouring drinks, just speak English well, be friendly, pick out the nightly music, organize theme nights and try to get people to drink there insteadof spending their money at bars in downtown. I can do that! That said, the easiest job in the world doesn't pay, but I do get a free room, free laundry, free food, free alcohol (great!) and since the bartenders are Cambodian girls, I'm sure I'll get some Khmer lessons. That takes a lot of the strain off of my finances (which are somewhat meager), so I'm looking forward to it and am relieved that I've found something that will allow me to stay on longer working with Human Translation. Only drawback is that it's six nights a week, which means I won't be doing too much traveling around the country for the time being.
Anyhow - the night ended early at around midnight (bars here stay open until everyone leaves - usually 5 - 6am) and I was up early today to meet up with Will, Chai and Seda...we had a water filter delivery scheduled out in Balang. We joined up with the gang from Trailblazers (the non-profit who makes the water filters we distribute to the villages) and we headed out with our 3,000 pounds worth of filters.
The day was very, very hot and Balang is extremely dusty, so by the time we even got out there, we were all covered in a layer of red dust (we were riding in the back of a truck for an hour).
We ended up delivering around 8 filters to 8 separate families. It was the first time that I've been out in the field when we were doing any kind of delivery, so it was really pretty cool to watch them set up the filters and show the villagers how to use them. Amazing to think that these simple, concrete filters that we buy for $70 can, and likely will, save and at the least, improve, the lives of so many of the people out there! Very cool! Anyhow - I was the "official" photographer today, and seeing as Tobias left me his very fancy camera to play with, I ended up taking around 100 photos. They didn't all come out quite as well as I'd have liked (need to learn how to use that camera properly!) but there are some decent shots of some of the villagers in there. I've included some photos here, and have put a lot of them on the shutterfly site as well.
So, now I'm back in Siem Reap, still filthy and covered in red dust (which is turning to mud on me since I'm all sweaty) and getting ready to head back to take the shower that I so desperately need. Will took off this afternoon for Phnom Penh for the weekend, so I'm all by my lonesome for the weekend. Not really. I've been invited out for Happy Pizza with the crew from Trailblazers tonight and Sunday is a going away party for one of the expats at a local swimming pool, so I'm sure I'll keep myself entertained!
Ok - that's all for now...I miss everyone and hope you are all happy and healthy!