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    [post_content] => ...that was what we snacked on while exploring the ruins of the Angkorian Empire. Scrumptious. Despite the amount of food we gorged ourselves with, there remained an insatiable hunger for adventure and discovery. And oh did we feast...
    [post_title] => Roasted Peas and Banana Chips
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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Roasted Peas and Banana Chips

Sam Moog, Liz Reeser,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

…that was what we snacked on while exploring the ruins of the Angkorian Empire. Scrumptious. Despite the amount of food we gorged ourselves with, there remained an insatiable hunger for adventure and discovery. And oh did we feast…

Posted On

07/16/08

Author

Sam Moog, Liz Reeser

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Kids

Julian LeCraw,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

They are the same everywhere.

Posted On

07/16/08

Author

Julian LeCraw

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angkor wat is so incredible!!! the trees here are absolutely beautiful and i am so happy here. the conversation between the members of the group is stimulating and i cant wait to see what it will bring to me!

ashton

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

ashton lecraw,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

angkor wat is so incredible!!! the trees here are absolutely beautiful and i am so happy here. the conversation between the members of the group is stimulating and i cant wait to see what it will bring to me! ashton

Posted On

07/16/08

Author

ashton lecraw

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    [post_content] => I am going to try and make these posts a little less all-encompassing and a little more detailed to one experience; however, half of this post was written before that resolution.

I am severely limited on Internet time today. I spent the last forty minutes copying files to a flash drive for my independent study. We spent the half of the 8Th and the 9Th in Pailin Municipality (not sure if I spelled that right last time, but it is right here). Pailin was allowed to break off from the government in Battambang Province. Only the courts reside in Battambang, the rest of the government offices reside in Pailin. Pailin also houses Samlaut. Samlaut is a 60,000 hectare national park on the border of Thailand. It was a smuggling route for the Khmer Rouge until 1998, even though the park was incorporated in 1993. Even now the Governor is a former Khmer Rouge official (much higher up than the prime-minister was) and the deputy-governor is the son of another Khmer Rouge official, though he is on trial (the father). We were the first civilians (that aren't scientists) to ever be allowed into Samlaut. We were pretty happy!
Stephan, the director of the Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation (which is the administration and the park service for the park) spent two days talking about conservation and global warming. We talked about how the watershed was being affected by gem mining and logging (both illegal). The top-soil is being destroyed and toxins are being poured into the ground as they mine. This lack of top-soil prevents the water from traveling slowly, which irrigates the fields over time.
We hiked for a few hours and went to the gem mining center, where we had an absolutely gorgeous view of Samlaut. Then we looked down at the mining site beneath our feet. The soil was black. Most of the soil is laterite around this area (red clayish soil), so this was pretty disconcerting. Even now, the Russians are trying to prove that they should be allowed to do more mining!
We were even more distressed to learn that this area was the migrating corridor for the Asian elephant (of which there are only now 50-75 in Cambodia)!


I did also collect a pretty awesome leech on my leg as well. We saw some skinks, geckos, various bugs, and some of the most gorgeous scenery on this planet.

Much love to all,
Ben

P.S. I have two degrees of separation between Angelina Jolie and me.
(Again no time for pictures; next time, I promise.)

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Samlaut, 60,000 hectares of beauty

Ben Wilsker,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

I am going to try and make these posts a little less all-encompassing and a little more detailed to one experience; however, half of this post was written before that resolution. I am severely limited on Internet time today. I spent the last forty minutes copying files to a flash drive for my independent study. […]

Posted On

07/14/08

Author

Ben Wilsker

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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143

Julian LeCraw,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Strangely enough being in the moment now in Cambodia actualy makes me think of my future. It seems simple now.

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Julian LeCraw

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There are two things that I have acquired in Kampuchea that I feel need mentioning: a love for papaya/mango/pineapple shakes and the desire to bring heavy metal music to Kampuchea.

Today was solo day, a day in which we were able to explore the sights, sounds and tastes of Battambang, Cambodia on our own, uninterrupted by the blights of western influence by our peers.

As I walked along the river, I stumbled upon a cafe that sold teuk gor lok (fruit shakes). I entered the musty building and declared "Knyom som kambo moi tuk gor lok..manoa, lahounk nuh sbaiy!" and a fruit shake was swiftly delivered unto me. Eyes flickering about the room, I noticed a drum kit. The owner walked up to me and gestured if I played drums. I shook my head and said "Atte, chi taa" (no, guitar). He smiled and dissapeared into the back of the restaurant. A few moments later he emerged and presented a guitar to me!He demanded that Iplay...and at that moment I realized that he was not just giving me a guitar, but a gateway to bring heavy metal music to Battambang.

Heavy metal exists in relative abundance in Asia, primarily in Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Thailand. Upon hearing Cambodian music and its embrace of virtuosity, I wondered why heavy metal hadn't made it toCambodia?

I picked up his the pink guitar and cradled it in my lap. It was a smooth electric guitar with tuning locks (locks that prevent the guitar from going out of tune ..whammy bars make your guitar go out of tune) and wondered why there was no whammy bar. I shrugged and plugged in. Immediately, I bombarded the restaurant owners with what I thought would be a violent flurry of notes (in my ears, a beautiful dance of notes) and for him, it was as it was for me: beautiful.

Seeing the wonder in his eyes, I asked him in Khmer if he played guitar. He responded with a "Baat, baat" (yes, yes) and then something amazing hit me: I could bring metal toCambodia by teaching metal to Cambodians! I sipped my papaya/pineapple/mango shake and patiently taught him how to play with dexterity in a meaningful way. The main scale used in heavy metal is called the "Harmonic Minor Scale". It is commonly used in classical music and has somewhat of a Middle-Eastern tone. Used to exotic music, the restaurant owner was enticed by the sounds of the scale (much as I am). And so the lesson began, first with teaching how to "sweep pick" arepeggios and then harmonic minor scales. During the next few hours, several more local Cambodian guitarists appeared and demanded that I teach them how to play metal! The ensuing lesson lead to the spawning of three eager metal disciples. In four hours, they learned the fundamental basics to playing Heavy Metal guitar, throwing up the horns (a hand gesture commonly known as devil horns or rock hands) and more. Drinks became on the house and after five papaya/mango/pineapple shakes and 6 hours of lessons, they were ready to explore on their own.

I gave them a list of guitar resources, metal bands, famous metal guitaristsand techniques. We all exchanged emails and then I had to take leave. However, I felt that I left something of mine there, in that small cafe: my love for heavy metal.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Kampuchean Heavy Metal

Oliver Scher,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

There are two things that I have acquired in Kampuchea that I feel need mentioning: a love for papaya/mango/pineapple shakes and the desire to bring heavy metal music to Kampuchea. Today was solo day, a day in which we were able to explore the sights, sounds and tastes of Battambang, Cambodia on our own, uninterrupted […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Oliver Scher

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While the running showers, western toilets (complete with paper!), andA/C of hotel stays have been a blast, it is in the company ofa realKhmai family's home that genuine luxury is found. Don't get me wrong; hotels and guest houses can be a real privelage, but when was the last time a hotel blasted Khmai hip-hop to get the dance party going?

Most of us have the pleasure of being hosted by the families of local "Cirk" performers. Jugglers, unicyclists, contortionists... they honestly put on one of the best shows I've ever seen!

Oliver, Matt, and Ihaveenjoyedtwo nights with our host family thus far. Their house is in a small neighborhood on the outskirts of Battambang. Each evening, we come home from our various Dragons outings, and socialize with our host sister for a good two or three hours.

Her name is Chan-Dy, and she is one of the most animated characters I have ever met. She's either a little eccentric, or just plain AWESOME, or both! I will put it this way: she paints Luchador wrestling masks on her dogs, is constantly threatening one of us with her kickboxing skills, and on a ten-second basis asks us "no problems?"

The rest of the family is usually off doing their own things-- the mother an owner of a restaurant, the father a motorcycle driver, the older brother an undercover karaoke star (we can only speculate), and the little sister a who-knows-what?

After chatting a bit, we clean up with one of my favorite pasttimes from Mali: bucket showers. I'm glad this country keeps me so in check with my personal hygeine, especially since I sweat profusely. Closing out the night are some of the best meals I've eaten in this country, perhaps a little music and dancing, Thai/Khmai soap opera, and a nice long night of sleep. Oh, and the breakfasts aren't too shabby. Sticky rice, baguette, pineapple, a cup of coffee, and I'm good to go.

Tonight, sadly, will be my final night with this wonderful family before heading off for Siem Reap (where AngkorWat is).Although my time with them has been brief, the memories that they have left with me will go on forever. It never ceases to amaze me what lessons can be learned about human connections, all from inside a tiny home in Cambodia.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Genuine Luxury

Adam Brooks,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

While the running showers, western toilets (complete with paper!), andA/C of hotel stays have been a blast, it is in the company ofa realKhmai family’s home that genuine luxury is found. Don’t get me wrong; hotels and guest houses can be a real privelage, but when was the last time a hotel blasted Khmai hip-hop […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Adam Brooks

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The past three days we have been living with a Cambodian family. The eldest son, Boiy, has been our tour guide, dance mentor, provider of food, culinary instructor, and greatest source of entertainment and hospitality. Under his careful guidance we have learned how to properly cut and prepare a pineapple so that you maintain as much pineapple and fingers as possible. Through our broken conversations spanning three languages and hand signals (Khmai, French, English, Hands) we have been able to be best friends. We watched the sunset while listening to the chants of nearby Buddhist monks who invited us over to practice english, were invited to ün petit fete, ate two dinners within twenty mintues, learned the national khmai dancing basics, caught fish, and cut pineapple in pitch black conditions. We'd say it's been a great three days.

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Boiy

Samantha Moog, Grace Seigle,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

The past three days we have been living with a Cambodian family. The eldest son, Boiy, has been our tour guide, dance mentor, provider of food, culinary instructor, and greatest source of entertainment and hospitality. Under his careful guidance we have learned how to properly cut and prepare a pineapple so that you maintain as […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Samantha Moog, Grace Seigle

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Following our trek with the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, I have been thinking about some of the words of wisdom offered by our incredible guide Stephan. We all felt so immensely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with MJP and be inspired by Stephan. Here are some quotations that I wanted to share:

"We're not heroes; we're just awake."

"The only one who's going to stop you is you."

"Fatalism is not an option."

"Conservation IS development."

Ëverything is long-term. There is no short-term solution."

-LES

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Things to think about

Luisa Elizabeth Sperry,Cambodia, Summer 2008

Description

Following our trek with the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation, I have been thinking about some of the words of wisdom offered by our incredible guide Stephan. We all felt so immensely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with MJP and be inspired by Stephan. Here are some quotations that I wanted to share: "We’re not […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Luisa Elizabeth Sperry

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Louisa and I are in a homestay together for three days. The house is absolutely beautiful--much bigger than I imagined it would be. It is two stories with stained wood floors and a balcony on each side of the top floor and a veranda on the first floor as well. One balcony is overlooking a lovelyemeraldpond with big green lily pads floating in the water. We each have our own bed, complete with seafoam green floral lace mosquito nets and a hot pink silk mattress. A big shower is in the back right corner (though there is no water pressure!) along with a bureau and a full length mirror. ON the front porch hangs a red fish-net hammock. For dinner we had sticky rice with carrots, potatos, and tomatos in a hot broth with dragon fruit and bananas for dessert. Millions of insects, gekos, and frogs were cherping all night long, singing us to sleep. In the front yard that is filled with banana trees, there are chickens, chicks, roosters, a huge pig and some ducks. There are also two adorable puppies. It is all so amazing!! I cant wait to see what we have in store for us in Siem Riep!!

xo

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Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Homestays!

Ashton Fairbanks LeCraw,Cambodia, Summer 2008

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Louisa and I are in a homestay together for three days. The house is absolutely beautiful–much bigger than I imagined it would be. It is two stories with stained wood floors and a balcony on each side of the top floor and a veranda on the first floor as well. One balcony is overlooking a […]

Posted On

07/12/08

Author

Ashton Fairbanks LeCraw

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