Friend of Camps International, Sunny Kim, will be working with us at Camp Cambodia for the next two months helping to gather project data in and around the communites near to Camp Beng Mealea. She’s also writing her own blog andåÊI’ll perodically post some ofåÊher thoughts as she meets families, gets muddy, eats things she probably shouldn’t and wonders if she’s being spied on in a North Korean Restaurant. (True story). It’ll be interesting to get an outsider’s point of view of what we are up to and the communities some of you will be visiting soon. ARRIVING IN SIEM REAP CAMBODIA – Monday, June 6, 2011 I had forgotten how beautiful and quaint the little airport at Siem Reap is. It had rained a few hours before I arrived, so my view of the horizon as I touched down was clear and crisp. Lovely green fields surrounded the airport without a proper building in sight. I had a good feeling about my summer here. Waiting for me at the arrivals lobby were Bunlay and Anth. They had big, kind smiles and we took off in Bunlay’s 1997 forest green Toyota Camry (I think almost half the cars in this town are green Toyota Camrys). I practiced my Khmer greetings with Bunlay, but I think I have a lot more work to do on my pronunciation! The air was cool and fresh – apparently the rains have come early this year and we are blessed with daily showers to clear the hot haze away. I unloaded my bags at My Home Villa – a small budget hotel where Anth was staying. The hotel hosts the Camps volunteers when they come to Siem Reap. It is part of the “Child Safe” network of restaurants, hotels, and tuk-tuks that help protect local children from sexual predators. I will be at this hotel for a few days until we get my permanent lodging sorted. Dinner was at a local Khmer place off Pub Street – this is basically the main eat / drink street of Siem Reap. Really nice, fun places that attract the local expats, as well as tourists. I was shocked at how low the cost of food still is here. A nice meal for $3. And Khmer food is a lot like Thai food, with less spice in most of their dishes. The whole time, I was catching up on life in Cambodia and status of business at Camp Beng Mealea with Bunlay and Anth. It was really nice to spend time with a “true” local, as well as get the perspective from a Western expat. I learned more about the people and culture here in one dinner than I had in all my readings before the trip. Bunlay has been really open about his background, family, etc, even from the time of the Khmer Rouge. You can read more from Sunny over the next 2 months and if there any other previous CI volunteers who would like to tell us about their adventures during their time with us, feel free to get in touch. We always love to read about what you got up to and will happily publish your thoughts here on the CI Blog.