This national holiday was quite long. It lasted for nearly a week to celebrate the King’s birthday. I didn’t see the King (I later did, you can check out my blog here) because I stayed in a little town called Kampong Cham. It is so small that there is no supermarket. If you want to buy anything, there are a few mini-marts near where I currently stay – around 15 minutes walk in the heat (average 36C). With the humidity like 50% (it feels like higher than that) and the heat like that, there is no way I will go there. If I take tuk tuk, it is not worth it. Reasons: USD1 for the tuk tuk to buy probably USD3 of things and they are unnecessary things. Most of the people ride a motorbike or a bicycle but I don’t want to ride any of them yet. The roads in town are a bit chaotic. I heard kids here start to learn to ride a motorbike (or a scooter) at the age of 10.
Speaking of markets, I went shopping with a French volunteer whom I met back in January this year. Back then, she planned to stay here until June but she extended her stay until November this year. Apparently, she is used to the weather and the mosquitoes, sand flies, fleas, bugs in general. She (actually everybody here) was shocked when she saw my mosquitoes / sand flies / bed bugs bites. They are all swollen. It wasn’t that bad when I was here in January. Obviously, the amount of insect repellent that I brought wasn’t enough. Very fortunately, a group of people from Hong Kong came and they generously left me loads of insect repellent. Praise the Lord!!!! (I met other generous people afterwards too. I’m thankful and grateful for that).
For the female readers, please don’t expect the dresses / clothes here to be very cheap. They will charge you a bit higher when they know that you are a foreigner. The French volunteer and I saw one dress (none of the clothing has a price tag) in a shop which cost USD15! I said to her, ‘I can buy a similar dress with better craftsmanship for USD10 in Hong Kong.’ Well, of course, they are not ‘red carpet’ dresses.
Another French volunteer invited me to teach kids English in a centre in town during the long holidays. The kids live in the centre. Their homes are very far away from their schools so they stay in this centre which is closer to their schools.
Those kids actually have got the potential. As I said in my previous blog, the only thing that is missing is opportunity. I helped them with their pronunciations. As I mentioned previously, the teachers can’t pronounce the words correctly so the kids follow the wrong pronunciations. I played videos to the kids. Some people were quite concerned about me teaching kids English here because I don’t speak the local language (i.e. Khmer) but it wasn’t my concern at all. And interestingly, it was also not the French volunteer’s concern too. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have asked me to do it in the first place. As I always say, ‘how did you learn your mother tongue? Did you need a translator?’ When I told the kids to listen very carefully, they put their ears close to the speakers. Some of them took the seat that was the closest to the computer and I turned the volume up to the maximum to let them hear the correct pronunciations. My throat gets dry very quickly as it is not as humid as it is in Hong Kong.
I also spent some time in the villages. If you come to Cambodia, you will see many mango trees. They are very popular here because they are easy to grow and they don’t take a long time as opposed to other fruits like coconuts. (I sound like a farmer now.)
Next week, I will move to another place away from the town centre and I will go further and further into the ‘jungle’. So stay tuned. 😉
P.S. If you’d like to find out my travel footprints (so far), check out my blog here. 🙂