Before we left Phnom Penh we toured the king's palace and saw some better off areas of the city - lots of cars and SUV's there - mainly Toyota and Lexus.
Yesterday we took a bus to Sihanoukville which is a town on the coast. It is much quieter here. The landscape coming here was more rugged but the soil seemed to be richer and the people less improverished. We were here by noon and did a beach day. Lots of kids selling goods -one 11 year old boy wove bracelets for me. He goes to school in the morning and late afternoon and sells in between. Meals here are very cheap. Last night Lloyd had barbecued shrimp, salad, fries and two beers; I had barbecued tuna, salad, a baked potato and coke. The meals were excellent. The total cost was $13 so we tipped well.
Today we went on a boat trip to Ream National Park. They picked us up at 8am, took us to a place for breakfast and then drove us to the boat. The boat took us along a river through mangroves trees to the coast (Gulf of Thailand). Along the way we saw 4 bottleneck dolphins leaping along through the water.We stopped at a nearly deserted beach for an hour - the water was warm so swimming was great. Then we did an hour trek through the jungle - we heard monkeys but the only one we saw was a tame one at a local fisherman's home. We stopped to see a school in the jungle - one room, 64 students and 1 teacher. Most of the kids were out for recess when we were there.They have a big sign over the door that says 'Jesus School' because even though most of them are likely Buddhist, they only place they could get money to help build the school was from a church group.
We had lunch that was prepared by the tour people when we reached a home beside the dock where our boat was picking us up. We ate on a table under the house which like most homes here is built on stilts. The houses sit between 12 and 16 feet above ground; this provides an outside area where they have tables, a cooking space, hang hammocks, etc. There were chickens wandering around under the table - very third world. We got back to our hotel bungalows about 3:30 and the whole tour was only $15 each.
I hope the captions come through with the pictures. This time, I made a list of the pictures numbers and what they were so I could add captions. When I choose pictures on the computer, I can't actually tell what picture it is so I do that from the camera ahead of time now.
Bye for now - Margaret