Friday, April 11, 2008

Happy Khmer New Year!

Next week is Khmer New Year. Jemima made me cry last night at her school party when she stood up on stage and sang and danced to traditional Khmer songs. As usual schools, shops and businesses close, Phnom Penh’s residents make their mass exodus to the provinces and the festivities commence. Oh, and the police come knocking on the door of your child’s preschool asking for three crates of beer. (The more inhibited ones go to impressive efforts – last year they came to our house and presented us with a very official looking proposal for a new fire station.) But given that their salary just about covers the hugely inflated costs of a month’s supply of rice and gas, we can hardly blame them.

Tomorrow we leave for Vietnam for three weeks, or less if we run out of money. I know, I am only just back from the UK. Blame James! He has to travel, it is in his blood. I’d be perfectly happy in a cottage in Herefordshire writing for mothers and teaching yoga and never travelling another carbon mile again. (Well, I think I would be…). At least we are only taking one very short flight. The rest of the time we shall be ‘child-packing’, bussing and training around the country. Very, very exciting. How lucky are we?

I am seriously excited to get into the mountains and carry Bella on my back without us both getting miserably sweaty and slippery. We even bought a second Ergo so that we can carry Jemima in the hills when she gets too tired of walking. She will be four in September but it is still comfortable to carry her – how cool is that? I really ought to get commission from them. Half of PP now seems to have an Ergo thanks to me. Except that I have heard they are not made very ethically. When I get back from Vietnam I plan to write to them about this. I also plan to write about the fact that garment workers in PP, who make clothes for Next, M&S and Hennes, to name a few British brands, get paid $50 a month, without benefits, insurance, sick pay etc. How disgusting is this? The cost of one pair of trousers for a whole months’ salary. This is old news but we need reminding. Especially given that clothes companies are refusing to increase salaries to reflect recent and crippling inflation. Trade Unions are threatening to strike but this is a risky business in Cambodia where just last year an outspoken TU leader was killed in very suspicious circumstances. If you care about this I recommend you visit
this great blog site, Fair Trade Blogger – written by my brother-in-law, Paul. Something to read while I am away.

I will try to pop in from time to time and tell you how things are going but I will probably write about it all on my return. What I will do while away is repost old posts which are now buried in far corners of the blog, for all my new visitors to read. I’m off to pack, hoorah! See you soon!


will144 said...

Bon Voyage! Been looking for an Ergo everywhere in Bangkok with no luck so far. Guessing we'll get one posted out. We're off on the road with our Hardy Bean (5months) too - to Siem Reap/Angkor - by land.. argh. We also fear the carbon mile. Anyway plain sailing on Thai roads, just a bit daunted by how we'll cope on the Cambodge side (tho done it b4 sans-bab). Be brilliant to hear any travel tips from you (and others) - and hope for a chapter on it in yr book! On our last trip to Malaysia I took a flattish pillow with 2 pillow cases to lay bean on/in sleeping bag style for bus-trips, as his bed in dingy guesthouses etc, but he's a bit big for it now!
Still contemplating the usefulness of buggies on developing country's streets (not used one to date) and how to beat the heat w little ones - espesh in the hot season/with lack of shade in Ergo. Have a wonderful trip,look fwd to hearing the tales on yr return.. :)

Kat said...

We have been missing you. Funny that. Kat & Millie xxx

Amanda said...

You have an interesting site here! I got here from Googling up what to cook lentils with for my toddler.

I visited Phnom Penh four years ago when my brother was working there awhile and thought it was the most heart wrenching place. So many sad stories....It must be an interesting place to live.

Georgie said...

Ahh thank you Kat! I'm back though so will soon be bugging you all with stories of Vietnam! I love travelling with kids!

Georgie said...

Hello Amanda! Thank you for commenting and reading and look forward to hearing from you again! Lentils are fab however uncool it might be to admit it ;-)