Saturday, November 5, 2011

The rain came down and the floods went whoosh! Part 1: Cambodia

Having to keep our feet drive whilst having lunch
 The last time I posted we were expected floods, this was just before our school half term. At this time the city of Bangkok had not been hit. Paul and Grace had been traveling for a week and I flew to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Flying over Cambodia was devastating. As everyone knows my geography is not great and I thought I was flying over the sea. I then started seeing green spots poking out of the water and realised they were trees. This went on for miles and miles. Paul met me at the airport and we got a tuk tuk back to the hotel we were staying. This in itself was an experience. It was raining and the roads getting closer to the hotel were all under water. This did not deter the driver and we drove through the water along the very bumpy roads. I will just point out that the floor to the tuk tuk was made of wooden planks with a lot of gaps so the water would come through the bottom at the same time we were clinging on to my suitcase, hoping it wouldn't a) get soaked b) fall out! When we arrived to the hotel we had out lunch in the restaurant. The restaurant was under water too!

The water wasn't too bad but the further we walked down the road the deeper it got. The current from the river also made it difficult to walk against. The worst was when a truck drove down the road and even on tip toes it reached the top of my thighs.
I suspect I'll be talking about floods and water a lot for the next month or so, so I shall make that my last flood comment in this post!
With Grace taking a quiet stroll into town!

Paul coming down from Angkar Wat

Cambodia was wonderful and there is so much I could write about it. The people are friendly and welcoming. The Temples were fascinating. Despite the blistering afternoon heat we managed to spend three dedicated days Wat-ting.

I was walking (wading) along Pub Street in Siem Reap when I hear my name being called. Who should be in the pub but the lovely Sam Vine! A big bonus to our holiday and we were able to meet up the next day for dinner. Can't wait to see them in Bangkok later this month!

Anyone aware of recent Cambodian history will know it is not a pleasant one. One cannot escape the atrocities inflicted by the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. The Cambodians are very open about what happened, determined that it never be allowed to happen again. In Siem Reap we visited the Cambodia Landmine Museum

After Siem Reap we got a mini bus to Phnom Penh (the capital). We were only there for a day but we fitted in  S21 - The Genocide Museum and The Killing Fields Obviously not the most cheerful places to visit but very moving, informative and in a strange way, positive.
Paul and Grace were going to continue their travels to Vietnam whilst I headed back to Bangkok only to find...

To be continued....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sun, Floods and Bugs!

Some more lovely friends Holly & Rachel
I know it's been rather a long time since my last blog; it took forever to get my internet sorted in the apartment and then I have been busy working (yes working) at school.
Friend & neighbour Mel (not normally dressed as an Egyptian)

Even Starbucks is preparing the sandbags
Having a lovely time here and there is so much to say that I shall try to do so with pictures - it'll be so much easier. This week has been a bit of a strange one though. I finally succumbed to a Thai belly and had to take a few days off work. I'm better now, but the bigger events this week are the floods. It's been mainly affecting the north of Thailand, causing devestation across peoples homes, businesses and sadly a lot of lives. The floods are starting to move to Bangkok. So far we're alright, but the river is very high. Today there was so much rain that some of the stairways around school had to be closed, parents evening was cancelled. The school is right next to the river and we have sandbag walls defending us! There are some roads around us though, that are more at risk and some of the pupils are finding it difficult to get into school. It's meant to be getting worse...

At "Brown Sugar", jazz club in Bangkok

Paul arrived safely and the his sister Grace came to join us! They have now started their travels around Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam. It's half term on Friday so I shall (hopefully) be flying out to join then in Cambodia for the week.

Me, Grace and Paul on a longboat trip abound the canals

Straight after half term we are busy rehearsing for the first big concert of the year; "Last Night of The Proms" with guest conductor John Moore. John has been coming out to conduct the orchestra for Proms for the past few years. I think it's over 10 years since I've been conducted by John Moore.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I've arrived and I've survived!

Finally managed to get online and access to my blog. It'll probably be a few weeks before I get internet access in my flat though.
I arrive on Saturday afternoon after a smooth(ish) flight from Heathrow. I ended up sitting with three other teachers from the school that I had previously met in London and happen to be in the same apartmetn block too.
On our first evening the four of us went to explore our surrounding and went for a walk and sample some of the street food. We weren't entirely sure what we were asking for, but fortunately we all ended up with some yummy and familar looking for for the grand price of  30 Baht (about 60p).
The apartmetn block I am staying at is amazing, although it does feel as though I'm living in a hotel, so I'm trying to make it feel a bit more homely! 
Having a complete nightmare with customs at the moment and they are holding all the things I sent out. Yesterday I needed to complete an inventory of every single item in the 3 (rather large) boxes and how much each is worth. Hopefully I may have my things early next week, but I think it is going to cost me more to retrieve the items than their actual worth!

Rob, one of the teachers I flew out with and is in the same apartment, is slightly obsessed with taking photos. As I am quite rubbish at remembering to take any I have borrowed his memory stick and am going to attempt to upload some on here!

The view from the riverboat...

At Wat Po.... 

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's the final countdown!

Packed (only 4 KG over the limit - so not too bad!) - Check
Left parents' home in a complete mess - check
CDs on laptop - not quite check, few last minute imports going on!

Off to the pub for lunch with Paul, Mum & Dad and then Paul and I are making our way to Heathrow where he will drop me off. Flight's not until 22.15 so we have quite a bit of time.

Will make sure I get a pint of some fine english beer before I leave today.

Will write more when in Bangkok...

Pip x

P.S. Didn't even bother watching Torchwood last night!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Really should start to pack

School has finished. It hasn't really sunk in that I'm not going back next term, although it was good not having to plan or prepare for next term. It was so sad and difficult to say goodbye to everyone so I did so very quickly and then left before I blubbered!

Now my focus needs to be to sort and pack, which is so so dull. Watching Andrew Marr (well James Landale) and writing my blog in a pathetic attempt to put it off. I do need to mow the lawn today too...

Mortgage update: they are waivering the 6 month rule and were meant to be sending me an application form on Tuesday to apply for consent to let. As of Saturday it hadn't arrived and they promise I should get it Monday or Tuesday. When I reminded them of the rush; i.e. I'm leaving the country, they suggested I faxed it. Where does one find a fax machine???

Still sticking with Torchwood, although I'm going to miss the end anyway!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

27 days to go!

Day 1 of my blog! Things are constantly busy at the moment and I'm starting to get a little stressed - I had months before I was to leave and suddenly I now only have 27 days until I fly out. Starting to declutter; decided to start on the food cupboard and tomorrow it's shoes!
Our visas have arrived, so that's good, but we're still waiting to hear from the mortgage company. For those who didn't know, our lovely bank mis-sold me a mortgage in May, informing me that it was fine to let with this mortgage and all I needed to go was inform them nearer the time that I will be letting it out. So last Friday that is exactly what I did, only to be infomed that I had to have the mortgage for 6 months before they'll consider to allow me to let the flat. Lloyds are accepting responsibilty and they're trying to get mortgage company to allow me to let. Still waiting...hopefully find out on Monday.

On another note, just watch first episode of new Torchwood - not sure I will bother to watch the rest!