First Visit to Kompong Thom - Our new Home
Trip Start Oct 14, 2005
25Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The Arunas Hotel
We visited Kompong Thom, our home for the next 2 years, on the 8th and 9th November. It took about 3 hours from PP, with 7 of us crammed into a landrover. Very uncomfortable.
We stayed in a nice hotel in the centre of the town, Arunas Hotel. The hotel is quite famous as it has a lift - I think the only one in the province of Kompong Thom. There are some photos on the blog showing the view from the hotel, which give a fairly good idea of the town. The town is quite small, but seems friendly and sleepy. The Stung Sen river runs through the town and is apparently the route to the Tonle Sap lake, which we will both be working on (2.5 hours by motor boat).
Most of our time was taken up with house hunting for us and also Alison, who is also working in the town
After much confusion and rides on motorbikes we found a great house (you are all welcome to come and stay!!). There is a picture of Piseth on phone negotiating our house contract....It is a bungalow (very middle aged...), with air-con, big gates and is surrounded with a wall which has glass embedded into the top, so very secure. It has two bedrooms both with en suite. It couldn't scream expat workers any louder - so much for trying to fit in with the locals! The house is owned by a guy who is high up in the world of forestry so, naturally, the house is head to toe in beautiful tropical hardwoods which look amazing
On the house front, Alison found a house about 5 doors down the road from ours, which is great as we are all going to need all the support we can get! The location of the house is great - in the posh (??) part of town near the aforementioned hotel with lift, and also near the hospital. It is a good distance to stagger back from the bar when alcohol becomes the only panacea for the frustration of working with a government department in a developing country.
We also visited our offices. Mine (Bram) is in a little building set in grounds with its own grazing cows. I have my own desk and a new computer (one of only 2 in the office), although no internet connection. I met 4 of the 7 people who work there and they seemed pleased to see me. I still have absolutely no idea what they actually do though
My office (Rachel) is similar to Bram's but I have not got a computer...shame! I will be able to use one in the office though, which has got internet access. It is dreadful really that on a project which has been loaned nearly $20million by the Asian Development Bank, that they are struggling with a lack of resources... a lot of the money has apparently gone on high wages for UN FAO consultants...but I will no doubt rant about this later, especially when I start to think about how on earth Cambodia will pay this money back!
I didn't get any photos of my office, but my manager is called Mr Horn and his boss (the Director of the department in K.Thom) is Mr Phanny. Oh how those names will keep me amused....