Monday, May 31, 2010

the Mekong River

Today we spent the day on the Mekong River!

We rented a boat and rode it up the Mekong, first to stop off at a village where people make their own silk. Of course, we all bought something :). I bought a scarf to wrap around my head to try and escape from the heat (it was around 110 degrees F), and I also wrapped it a bit around my face. Professor Kosal then proceeded to introduce me as the one "straight from Afghanistan". Thanks, Kosal.

Then we rode for about another hour up the river to an island owned by Danny, who is a friend of Kosal's that is a Cambodian genocide survivor, lived in the US, and is now retired on his private island. He welcomed us with a true Khmer lunch; we took off our shoes and sat on mats, used banana leaves as plates, and ate with our hands. The lunch was so good! We had chicken, fish caught fresh from the river, rice, beef sticks, watergrass, and then Khmer "cakes" for dessert: rice paste with either coconut, pumpkin, or purple banana inside. Soo delicious! It was extremely hot and humid today, even with being on an island in the middle of the river, so we all went swimming! We also had a small swim race, and while I won't tell you who won, I will say that I had a lot of fun with it ;).

We said goodbye to Danny and his staff on the island, and made our way back to Phnom Penh. We were all very tired, thanks to a good mix of a lot of sun, a lot of swimming, and a lot of jet lag, but the boatman had a hammock set up at the bow and I got to rest in it for a little bit. It was so comfortable, rocking back and forth. I need to get myself one of them!

Tonight for dinner we (the students) went to Friends (Lauren)!! It's this amazing restaurant where they take in street kids and train them to be waiters/waitresses and chefs, and the food is amazing! It's tapas style, so we ordered a bunch of plates to share.

Today was fun and nice to relax, and tomorrow is when work begins! We go to DC-Cam to spend I think the majority of the day doing archival research for our projects, the real reason that we're here!

Finally, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSIE THOMAS! I hope you have a wonderful 18th birthday all day long. I miss you and love you!


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