It's hard to believe i've already been here for over a month!! On the other hand, I've gotten so used to the way of life here that home seems soooo far in the past... Last weekend was a really sweet time. We (about 8 of us) went to Sihanoukville for the long weekend. Sihanoukville is west of PP, on the coast (yep, the BEACH!) The bus ride was quite luxurious compared to our mondulkiri adventure- yes! we all had our very own seat! We left early Saturday morning and I slept most of the 5 hour ride there (well, as much as you can sleep with the driver constantly blaring the horn.) Drivers here insist on using the horn to warn slower cars, motos, naked children, cows, etc... that they're flying down the road behind them. Anyway, we stayed at a pretty nice guesthouse. There were no bed sheets and only cold water but it was right on the beach which was really nice. It had such a different feel than the dusty dirty streets that are PP. So we spent Sat, Sun, and Monday morning lounging on the beach soaking up the sun and avoiding "madame, madame you buy bracelet!"..."Oh you buy fruit from me...oo ok maybe massage yes you buy -ohhh why your friend buy and not you- you buy from me?"
But really though the beach was nice. It was nice to go back to work on Tuesday though. I missed the kids in the center. It's been a tough week working in the slums though. Yesterday I went to a slum that's predominantly Vietnamese and saw a couple shooting up while their newborn baby was being looked after by a neighbor kid. It rained a ton last night and so parts of the slum were completely flooded. Several houses (shacks really) had a foot of water in them. We got one boy into vocational training today though. He's 16 and is going to learn how to cut hair. He'll earn a decent wage and hopefully be able to open his own shop someday.
Still trying to decide what to do during my 3 weeks of travel time. So far the plan is to go to Vietnam for a bit under two weeks, then head to Laos, and then end in Bangkok for a couple days before flying home. Plan is still in the works though.
I'll be uploading some more pictures to dotphoto (address at top of page) in the next few days. Also, if any of you use skype, my username is jmalsch - call me, its free!- if i'm on its early in the morning your time or maybe at night on weekends.