This Spring I am traveling to Cambodia with a team from the University of San Francisco-School of Education. I am taking my son Justin ( hence J²)
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We flew to Tokyo/Japan from San Francisco.The flight took fourteen hours. Then we flew to Bangkok/Thailand which took 6 hours. Then we stayed at the hotel called the Centerra which was a very fancy hotel. There was fifty five floors in the whole entire Hotel. They had a pool and a bar on the roof. We went to a restaurant inside of the mall right next to the hotel that had some really interesting food. One of the unique foods were ox tongues. Thailand people are really friendly they bow and smile when they greet you and to say thank you – or you are welcome. We asked how to say thank you Krub Khun Ka. For breakfast I had an omelette on fried rice for lunch ( I slept through breakfast)
When we walked through the city I noticed there is alot if ‘unity’ in Bangkok – unlike America every sign has the information in at least 5 languages, Thai, Japanese, CHinese , English and Spanish. A Lot of people speak English – because the country was ruled by England as a colony.
We stayed at the hotel for two nights and then had a really early flight to CAMBODIA
Then we took a flight to Cambodia/Siem Reap. We went to a hotel called Lotus Blanc. They had a pool and when we walked outside the first thing I saw was a man Knocking off coconuts on the trees.
Then we took a flight to Cambodia/Siem Reap. We are staying at a hotel called Lotus Blanc. They have a pool and when we walked outside the first thing I saw was a man Knocking off coconuts from the trees – when we arrived at the hotel they served us with Lemongrass tea – in glasses ( not teacups). Everyone at the hotel is Khmer – that means they are Cambodian. THey ALL speak English, some not very well but they want to speak to us all the time to ractive their English.
Cambodia was a French colony – so the hotel is in a French colonial style – when we went to the pool we saw people from all over the world. Italy, Germany, Spain, China, Japan. Lots of people work here doing menial ( jobs that are not paid well and now what I would want to do )A Lot of the hotels are decorative and rich – but where people live is very different. A Lot of Cambodians are very poor – there are some wealthy Cambodians but they do not share their wealth.
The main transportation here is Tuck tuck, and motor bikes. THe traffic is CRAZY people cut each other off, drive really close to each other .A Tuck Tuck is a carriage being pulled by a motorbike. Sitting in the tuk tuk we can almost touch the people driving by on motorbikes .
The weather here is topic and hot it is monsoon season so it has rained every day- at the hotel there are several ponds with fish in them – there is a HUGE fish that looks like a ….It is humid but different from New Jersey –
The city of Siem Reap
Siem Reap is really busy, there are lots of street markets, sidewalk stores, it is not what I expected. The roads are concrete – not a lot of dirt roads. There are alot of American companies – Starbucks, McDOnald’s, Burger King, Pepsi and Coke is everywhere. They also have lot of things you won’t find in many places – like the fruit. Dragon fruit and coconuts are being sold at the side of the street.
The food stores and street vendors have food just ganingin the oen – ducks, snakes,
On the menu last night there was stuffed frog – I just had beef !
The buildings almost all have flat roofs and they are very low – this is because of the rains, during the monsoon season it can rain for three months.
Sunday May 27 – update
So, blogging takes more than we realized – we have been so busy we have not had the energy to write in the evening and not having cellular service (we chose to go low tech) means the hotel room is our only internet. Anyway, enough excuses.
We did two school visits the main purpose of our time in Cambodia – we went to Xavier Jesuit School – the Jesuits have started this school in an area left devastated by the killing field. The school is so unique in so many ways and there is a lot we can learn from them…. As a community based project the local community is welcome at the school day and night, children play on the grounds, adults can come to the language classes in the evenings ad earn alongside their kids, when the site is finished there will be space for 12o students to live on campus.
Supported by International volunteers the school is staffed mainly Cambodians – Khmer folks who live locally – as well as teaching all day they are learning English – because the school is dual immersion.
Justin visited the school with us and sent hours playing football with the other kids, speaking and learning some Khmer and engaging the eager hosts with their English. Kids as young as 5 were able to say hi and introduce themselves to us.
At this Jesuit school, there are no lockers or locked spaces —- there is a true sense of community. Justin noticed right away that students were happy – that they could leave their belongings anywhere and that kids of all ages were playing together.
The auditorium doubles as a gym, community meeting space and performing arts space. There is an art room and a music room – the only school in the province (State) that has fine and performing arts! In the afternoons, the 8th grade work on their project – a garden for vegetables and fruit. It was great to see kids joyfully tilling the land, working as a team and enjoying the environment.
It was an introduction for the partnership we hope to build between USF and the schools here – we have much to learn!
Xavier Jesuit School Cambodia