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Sunday, 6 September 2009

First Impressions

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to post my first ‘proper’ entry. There’s so much going on and so much to think about that it’s hard to know where to begin. That, and one of the slowest internet connections I’ve come across!

Phom Penh seems pretty cool, I don’t know it very well yet but it’s definitely a lot calmer than I was expecting and the greatest part is that you can walk along the street without being hassled, which is a relief. It’s got some really beautiful buildings and the VSO program office is very close to the Royal Palace which is great, not a bad sight when you’re just walking around town. We’ve been around a bit, down the river front and out to some of the markets. The river front is being redeveloped at the moment, which is a shame because it ruins the view, but it’s great to see that some work is going on. Really, things are a lot better than I expected them to be. Apart from the odd family sleeping under a tarp and the amount of general rubbish everywhere, the city seems to be doing pretty well – most people are wearing moto helmets, this doesn’t stop them driving on the wrong side of the road or balancing a ladder on the back of the bike, but at least it’s a step in the right direction! I also saw an elephant walking down the street, that was definitely a first.

But it does keep raining. Actually the rain is a blessed relief, it’s not particularly hot here (I was half expecting to melt when I got off the plane) but it is very humid and sticky, and when it rains it’s a lot cooler - it’s all I can do to stop myself from having a shower in it. Hopefully I’ll get used to it, I’m trying not to think too much about the
fact that it’s actually remarkably cool at the moment. One step at a time I think!

In country training begins properly on Monday, so I’ll write a bit more then and hopefully I be feeling a bit more descriptive and a little less jet lagged! But rest assured, all is well. I’m happy I’m here, things are well organised and everyone is nice, but I think it will take a bit of adjusting to as well - I’m looking forward to when things start to feel a bit less crazy and a bit more like home. The photos by the way, show a few of the things I’ve seen around Phom Penh – I’ll update with a few more soon.


  1. I'm jealous you got to see an elephant in the street! Laura xx

  2. aahh Jen it sounds and looks amazing, you've not been there long so it will soon settle down. Have fun and keep up the blog, it's lifted my mood on a boring monday morning at work. Miss you lots, take care Christina xxxx

  3. Thanks for the update - it was lovely to see the photos and to know that you're happy even though you're not yet feeling 'at home'! Post some more info as soon as you can! Lots of love and hugs from Mum and Dad. XX

  4. Look, I`ve been to Cambodia and seen the buildings and elephants. I want more photos of amputees please and `danger landmines wouldn`t walk here if I were you` signs to scare Mum and Dad.

    And at least one photo of you on a moped carrying some sort of livestock.

  5. Yay you're there and safe :-) Hope you're enjoying it all and taking lots of photos. Looking forward to the next update. Look after yourself, love Jo xxx

  6. Hi there Jen

    Great news that all is well. Although the locals antics of carrying ladders on the back motorbikes could have an impact on Phom Penh's population numbers!!

    The pictures look wonderful. Definitely want to see a pic of you on a moped as your brother requested..Preferably you stil connected with the bike unlike your pre Cambodia moto training.

    Take care and god bless