Welcome to Battambang

So after 4 nights in Phnom Penh, I hopped on a bus 5 hours north to Battambang,

So what’s so hip in Battambang?

Who wants some fruit?

Not much really, but it’s a semi-populated area that borders many villages and surrounding rural areas. A university I used to work for has a campus here with a youth development center and an AIDS orphanage, so I made arrangements to stay at their guesthouse for the weekend.

Local Deity welcomes you to Battambang

The drive up was pleasant enough. $6.00 gets you practically across the country. These prices have got me thinking Vietnam, Laos, Burma….hmmmm focus focus!

Actually, Indonesia is starting to form as a definite plan to me since my family used to live there prior to WWII. My Oma (Grandma) lived the first 40 years of her life there. She is still alive at 100 today. I know she would love for me to talk about the climate, the food and people I meet there. I actually grew up eating a lot of rice and Indonesian food and spice. Yum!

I don’t have much to report on as far as significant events from the past three days. I visited the World Vision field office here in Battambang, which employs 200 persons, mostly who are working in our projects doing agricultural development, health care, education etc. I visited the AIDS orphanage, but many of the kids were in school at the time. Some sweet little boys though. Their families can’t provide for them, especially if they are sick, so they pass them to the orphanage for some time.

I’m learning how people come to be in their lives here in Cambodia. It is most definitely a nation that operates on significantly less money than the US. Of course.

The typical Cambodian makes 500-800 dollars a year. Good salaries, are 1600-2000 a year. The best jobs in the country are actually working for International aid organizations. They pay about 150 a month, and are consistent. Though you could make that much as a government or police officer, you may not always see it. Corruption floats around everywhere. Here’s an example…Most of the guesthouses in Battambang are empty with guests, but there are a LOT. There’s no way they can stay afloat as a business. So how do they exist? Simple…You take all the money you corruptly received, write down you had a sold out guesthouse at X amount, and there you have it…”Dirty” money converted to “clean” money.

It feels good to travel, and to meet new friends and see the Cambodian world. I plan to go to Angkor Wat after this and make my way back to the southern part of the country to rendezvous with friends. I finally had my first stomach upset, and I know what did it…Stupid street sausage, what was I thinking!? Anyways, I am experienced in handling these things, so I drank a lot of water and stuck to rice, bananas, and some vegetables. Two days later, it’s all good. I did arrange to have amoxicillin before I left the US, just in serious case scenarios.

It’s so easy to travel. Talk to you later, I’m off to go the restaurant Angelina ate at when she came here and adopted one of her international kids. Good times~

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