A Travellerspoint blog

The Next Injury ........ my head!

Well it has been a long time since I have written hasn’t it!!!!! Over this weekend I will try to write little installments and get up to date!

Every week (Thursdays and Saturdays) the kids at GG do Bokator - which is a traditional Cambodian martial art! I have tried it once on a Thursday with the older kids but as most people know I am not that coordinated or skilled at physical activities! Tania and I are trying to inspire each other to exercise (a teeny weeny bit successful) and also she wanted to have the younger kids encouraged to do their bokator practice properly but with fun! So we have started doing an hour of bokator with the youngest kids (ranging from 4 to 12) on a Saturday morning! Doing it with the little uns has 2 benefits! 1. It is only an hour! 2. I don’t look quite so stupid next to a 4 yr old. The hour is divided into 2 sections. For the first 30 mins we all practice together as a group doing moves. The second half there are 6 stations of different skills and we do them for about 5 mins each! It is lots of fun and it is so cute seeing the little kids trying to be like the big boys (who help us out). When we are doing the punching exercises the little ones think it is HILARIOUS to punch me on the bottom – if I ever can’t find a job teaching I could become a punching bag for bokator lessons!

So ……… one would think there was not much damage you could do to oneself practicing bokator. I mean you really only punch and kick at the air or at a punching bag/glove. Yes I am sure you know where this is going – Kate will always find a way to do something stupid and uncoordinated!!! Firstly if you are not quite familiar with my lack of neither hand eye coordination nor physical ability I can tell you a little story – In early primary school (I think it may have been about yr 3) I was running in the sport’s carnival. The principal was standing next to my mum and as he was watching the race he turned to her and asked her if there was something wrong with my legs as I “ran funny”!!!!! Another story – again in sport’s carnivals the common question from me to my mum “Mum why do I always come last?” Mum: “Darling somebody has to!” Another story – students I have taught in the past think it is HILARIOUS to call out my name as I am walking past and as I turn throw a ball at me – I NEVER CATCH IT! Oh there are so many more I could tell you but I am thinking you are getting the gist!

Back to bokator – first practice! With my little group of GG girls we move to the playground area where the punching bag is and our skill is to punch the bag 4 times and then run around the play equipment and back to the bag. Sounds pretty simple right???? Punching the bag was successfully completed (though Youert did say I need to punch harder!) but the running around the play equipment was another matter! We all know how short I am so I never really have to look out for things! I run around the slide, past the ‘cubby’, take a wide left and WHACK!!!! My head hits the metal monkey bars square on!!! I stumble back, wobble a bit and then WHAM flat on my back with little GG’s laughing (in a concerned manner) and trying to help me up! Fortunately I was fine – a small lump and a pounding headache but all in all fine!
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Posted by Arkgecko 00:44 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

This week ...

Over the last week GG had some students from a University in the UK come and visit. They watched Sarah and I take lessons and then did their own. Here are some pics!!!!

or her???

or her???

Future musician???

Future musician???

Team work 2

Team work 2

Team work

Team work

The Water Cycle Song

The Water Cycle Song

Helping out xxx

Helping out xxx

More concentration

More concentration

Concentration

Concentration

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Off on an aeroplane!

Off on an aeroplane!

Big Smile

Big Smile

Posted by Arkgecko 08:51 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

Chateau Esme

I have finally moved out of the hostel. Though I loved living there $$ matters meant I needed to find somewhere cheaper. A week ago Liz and I came and had a look at a few apartments just down the road from the hostel and work. I really wanted to stay in the area as I liked it and it is close to most things. The first apartment we looked at was the one I moved into. As soon as I walked in I felt at home and I really believe in gut feelings! We went at looked at the other apartments too but I just kept coming back to number 1!!! (actually it is number 22). The next day I rang Tida (landlady) and accepted the apartment, signed the lease etc on the Saturday morning and moved in on the Saturday afternoon!!!! Don't like to waste time do I!!

That afternoon was a shopping expedition! Liz, Sarah and I got into a tuktuk and off we went! Sopera (my favourite tuktuk driver) was quite amused by the shopping trip. The tuktuk was FULL. Pillows, pots, pans, food, broom, mop etc etc. Liz thought my colour coordination focus was hilarious (I think it is important!) and we were back at Chateau Esme for an evening of drinks and burgers on the patio! Yes there is a restaurant around the corner that delivers!!!! Had a lovely night on the patio with good friends chatting and laughing. Nele (who used to work at GG) brought me a house warming present; a bottle of whiskey called Barosa, which is a really expensive whiskey – 7000 riel ($1.25). It actually does not taste that bad!!!

There is a lovely family living in traditional housing at the back. They are very friendly and helpful and have a yay (grandmother), who like all yays are loving and beautiful. A Khmer family also live in the apartment 2 doors down and their children are lively and cute! It is nice to have the noise around and to know there is always somebody close by.

I have set my little home up and I am really happy that I have more space and a FRIDGE!! I can have cold drinks, cheese, yoghurt, ice……..oh the possibilities.

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Posted by Arkgecko 08:18 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

Amazing Race Pics

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Posted by Arkgecko 07:52 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

She'll be coming round the mountain......

or off the horse!!!

Well now I am over my emotional scarring of the EVENT 2 weeks ago I can share it with you all!!! Though let me assure you I am still bearing the remains of the physical scarring, especially in the arse area!

Since our weekends have been full of adventure with dress ups, amazing races etc I decided that we needed to continue on in the same form! Since Paloma was heading home I said to her “What would you prefer to do: horse riding or a moto tour??” Why did I ask – should have just gone with the moto tour!!!! As you can guess Paloma chose horse riding. Now I am not a novice when it comes to riding a horse (it was one of the very many activities I attempted as a child; along with roller skating, dance, brownies and so on!) but it had been a long time – about 15 years!

Tempting Liz with another weekend full of adventure, she cautiously agreed to join us on the trek – yes a TREK, a 4 hr trek through the outskirts of Siem Reap. All through the week Liz nervously predicted what could happen – with me reassuring her “ Don’t worry Liz, you are not going to fall off!” Well I was right!

The night before was NYE is Cambodia so we had the traditional celebrations at the Green Star Restaurant. Food, drink and party games. One of the traditional games is to be blindfolded and be given a stick with which you have to hit and crack a clay pot – a bit like a piñata but without the treats just talcum powder. It is also tradition to have a big water fight and throw more talcum powder around!!! It was a great night and I was really looking forward to see the NY in riding a horse at sunrise. Even better was that we got a surprise visit from Nienke (a past volunteer) who decided to join us on the ride!!!

Waking up at 4.30am we rode out to The Happy Ranch Farm to find our horses waiting for us! Now as I have mentioned in previous posts I am considered ‘tom tom’ in Cambodia. They decided to change my horse and give me a taller, stronger one – oh what could have happened if I kept my original horse.

Off we went and it was beautiful. There has not been much rain so far while I have been here but the black clouds were rolling over and only 5 mins into the ride it began pouring. But it was stunning. With such little rain, the streets, villages, houses and gardens are covered in a red dust. To have the downpour meant everything was clean, green and fresh. And also cool!!!!

Being NY everybody’s spirits were high and there was lots of yelling out wishing everybody a Happy NY! Riding through the countryside was wonderful. All of our horses were behaving at first and I was keeping my horse at a distance from the other ones. Liz’s horse began to be the one that caused a ruckus. He didn’t like it when anyone came too close and would give a little back kick (was also being annoyed by the flies). We decided that Liz should go last in the line. We rode through villages, rice paddy fields, pagodas and temples. The scenery was breathtaking and we were all having such a delightful time!!!! That is until we stopped in a field to graze our horses. With each horse minding their own business it was a time to chill and take in our surroundings.

To be honest I actually don’t remember the exact events of the next few moments. I think my horse got a bit too close to Liz’s horse and then her horse turned on my horse and then I went flying (with lots of verbalisation). How I landed?? Very hard on my bottom. Grazes on my right leg, a massive bruise and swelling of my left knee and a VERY sore bottom!!!! I think I may have gone through a little bit of shock as Liz and Nienke got some pics of me with what I think is a smile on my face! Did I cry?? Yes I did! The poor guide was quite distressed and was very helpful! Considering I had to use a chair to get onto Mexico (the name of my horse) we had to find a raised bit of land for me to be able to get back on. Well you would think that would be the end of the day’s challenges wouldn’t you!

Next we need to cross a small irrigation waterway. He guide could not get his horse over it and we all struggled with our horses! Finally the assistant got his horse over, then Paloma, then Nienke and then Liz. Could the guide and I get our horses over?? No! So he decided that we would go on an alternative route. By this time my leg was swelling quite badly and it was painful to be on the horse but I wasn’t going to give up and so we went on. Despite the pain, I actually continued to enjoy the ride. It was a shame that I was not with the others but we went past lots of different scenery (fish, duck, watermelon, rice and lotus farms).

Bet you are thinking that from now on it was a smooth ride! Nope. Mexico had one more surprise installed for me. Just as my confidence was back and I was succeeding at ignoring the pain, Mexico stopped and popped his head down as to eat. As I looked down I couldn’t see anything but sand so I began to pull his head back up but he decided he wasn’t going to have any of that and sank down onto the sand and rolled onto his side with me underneath (and on my swelling leg too!!) THAT WAS IT! I had had enough and told the guide that I wanted to be picked up as my leg was throbbing! That would have been possible of he had any battery left on his phone!!! Finding another piece of raised land I got back up on the horse and followed the guide. As soon as we were back on the dusty road another obstacle!!! On our right hand side was a beautiful but fiery looking stallion that was making enough noise and pulling on his rope to worry he guide so it was back onto the off beaten track!

Finally we stopped under a tree, which Mexico was tied to and off the guide went to get a moto for me to be driven back to The HAPPY Ranch! Mexico was not happy to be tied up but by this point he had lost all affection from me! I waiting outside a village school and the owner came out to see what the fuss was. He took one look at my leg and invited me to sit down in his garden so he could apply Cambodia’s solution to everything – tiger balm. He and his family were delightful and his little boy gorgeous. I do plan on going back there (I think I remember the way) to donate some supplies to his school.

So that is my adventure!

The Happy Ranch is actually an excellent facility – the horses are so well looked after – in fact they live in better conditions than most Cambodians! And they have even offered me a free ride! We’ll see …………
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Posted by Arkgecko 07:38 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

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