Phnom Penh 4

25 11 2009

Tuesday 24th November 2009

As a follow-up to last week’s blog about our Sunday in Siem Reap with the Weyel family and the family of Sokham, a local Tuk-Tuk driver, you may remember Sokham’s home had been threatened with demolition by local authorities, well according to Sokhom, the situation with his house resolved itself because, apparently the presence of the Weyels and ourselves on Sunday morning “convinced the authorities that they didn’t want to mess with us.” So thank you for your prayer, we are very aware of being supported during our time away and we thank God for the fellowship we share in the gospel with many of you. For more on our visit and a couple of photos see: http://jweyel.org/wordpress/?p=79

After pottering around Phnom Penh yesterday visiting the World Vision and the Bible Society Offices etc as well as loitering with intent to enjoy some more local cuisine (although we have yet to find anything as good as Laotian restaurants for food), we decided to head out of town for the day. The taxi centre (none have meters here so the price has to be negotiated before you set out) for Phnom Penh is about 50 metres from our front door so we wandered down at a civilized 9.30 am and decided to choose from a row of about 30 Toyota Camrys. We headed for a reasonably late model one where we could see the driver polishing his paintwork and reckoned that would be as good a way as any to choose. Of course it is never as easy as that here! The driver had no English and immediately another 6 or 8 other drivers muscled in on the negotiations like seagulls after you throw a crust. The end result was we didn’t get the car of choice but someone who had enough English to enable us to haggle the best price. So after first showing our driver how to remove the rear seat swab so we could retrieve the rarely used seatbelt fasteners, we headed off in a Camry of about 10 years vintage. The road to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary, where we headed, is about 44 klm south down National Highway 2.

In six weeks we still have not got used to left-hand drive cars which may be due to the fact that the location of the steering wheel really does not give much of a clue as to which side of the road one is travelling on. Thankfully the road was sealed for all but the last few kilometres but for the most part the potholes had been carefully engineered out of the road design only to be replaced with some incredible dips and bumps that in other circumstances people would pay good money to experience at sideshows and carnivals. Here it is free.

It turned out our driver’s English really did not extend much past his ability to negotiate the fare so we were left to our own conversation which had a fairly desultory flow to it due to the distractive way we ducked and dived in and out of traffic and from behind high backed earth moving trucks. Our driver took his job of getting us to our destination seriously as the vehicle’s horn would surely need replacing far more often than the tyres as it was used constantly to warn every other road user whose practices where obviously more laissez faire than ours, that we were coming through. We travelled, sometimes forming 3 lanes sometimes 4 lanes, undertaking, blind overtaking, and always with a constant application of the brakes as other road users didn’t quite do what our driver predicted they would. Anyway, I am sure you are on top of the fact that we got back safely because here I am writing what you are reading.

What follows is lifted from Lonely Planet guide:

Phnom Tamao is a home for animals confiscated from traffickers or saved from poachers traps. It occupies a vast site and its animals are kept in varying conditions with help from international wildlife NGOs. Spread out as it is, it feels like a zoo crossed with a safari park. Enclosures include huge areas for the large tiger population, and there are elephants that sometimes take part in activities such as painting.

greater adjutant storks

 

There is also a walk-through area with macaques and deer and a huge menagerie, including some rare birds from around Cambodia. The centre is home to the world’s largest captive collections of pileated gibbons and Malayan sun bears, as well as other rarities such as Siamese crocodiles and greater adjutant storks. Wherever possible animals are released back into the wild once they have recovered and the centre operates breeding programs for a number of globally threatened species.

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2 responses

25 11 2009
betty

pleased you got there and back and you were’nt put in a “holding pen”.. loved the run down on on your church friends and adopted “grand children” love.. mum

26 11 2009
Ruth and Jeff

Peace, perfect peace IS on the way in your own ‘home of tranquility’ ………BUT will the roads be too quiet for you ‘seasoned travellers?’ Never, I hear you say !

Well, march on – we await your arrival and will pray you safely across the miles.
Shopping will be done, meals ready, so all you’ll need to do is sleeeeeeeeeep. See you Wed/Thurs – Ruth and Jeff

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