Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Phnom Penh

This is walking downtown by the Tonle Sap River. People are synchronized dancin on the right, a big rain storm is on its way, and Carrie just got suckered into give an Australian money cause he lost his life on a train, and we need dinner!

I like Phnom Penh, there is a central downtown and a median on the biggest road with fountains and grass and it's lit up with disco lights and glow in the dark toys at night. It's more expensive here and harder to find good cheap food, but I can't say I mind the gourmet (baguette) sandwiches or espresso drinks for a change.

The people here have been the friendliest yet for me, except for in the most rural parts of Laos. People here are goofy, a lot of people speak English and many do heckle you to get in their tuk tuk and go on a tour, but they respond to silly faces or jokes too. I walk out of my second floor room onto a balcony and immediately the tuk tuk driver on the street says, ""Lucy! Lucy! hello! Where you go!" and I will holler back at him, "Can you take me downstairs? I need some coffee!" and he will just burst out laughing.

Phnom Penh is on the Tonle Sap River, which is the only river in the world to run backwards with the changing seasons. Next week the dry season officially starts here, and the Tonle Sap will start draining from the Great Lake into the Mekong River. When wet seasons happens, the Tonle Sap switches and drains into the Great Lake (which is what makes it such a good place for fish to grow). The population of Phnom Penh doubles for festivals and parties by the river.

I've been working in Phnom Penh for the last 3 days or so, trying to organize my facts and my thoughts and put them down on paper. The hardest part about this, after tracking people down, is writing down everything I know now in a easy and interesting to read, flowing form.

Tomorrow I am going to "Powering the 21st Century Cambodia: Rethinking Cambodia's Energy Future Workshop," hosted by the Cambodia NGO forum. It'll be about how to change the policies in Cambodia to help Cambodia meet its energy need more sustainably. It's not about any of the dams because they are trying to stop talking about dams and move onto other types of energy.

I have a meeting with Ian Baird, Mekong fish expert from the University of Victoria in Canada, on Wednesday. And I am trying to meet with someone from the World Fish Center this week before I leave on Friday.

I am with Carrie's TEFL training group and staying with them in their villa. I will go with them to Angor Wat on Friday, but I will be sure to update on the latest from the meetings this week.

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