Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More of the same

Sunday morning Rouven and I checked out of our room on Serendipity Beach and made our way to Otres Beach, eventually landing at a place called Vanny's where Rouven got a room with a shared bath for $4 and I got one with an en suite for $5. I mentioned already that we'd planned to make this move, but forgot until I was there that the quietness of this particular beach meant very limited electricity and no internet access. It would have been better if I'd remembered that before I scheduled a Skype call with my sister for Monday that I not only missed, but which I wasn't even able to explain until two days after that. Sorry again, Aim!

There's not a lot to do at Otres Beach except
consume. Consume drinks (fruit shakes and iced coffee with sweet milk mostly, but the occasional beer, too). Consume food (SO good here. Better than in Vietnam). Consume sun (as much as can be consumed while wearing SPF 45 as I sit in the shade, that is). Consume books (I think I read three in the last few days). And why - of all the things Dad taught me - did I have to learn the joys of hammock lounging all on my own? :-) It was great. The Cambodian people have been so incredibly friendly, it's kind of hard to believe. Vanny's is a family run guesthouse and you end up meeting and interacting with the whole family. One person arranges for the bus, one person takes food and drink orders, one is a tuk-tuk driver, they all care for the baby; each has their role. Some speak more English than others, but it all somehow works.

Yesterday, Tuesday, I decided for a little more activity. Rouven and I joined up with some others for
a boat ride out to two different islands for some snorkeling (for us) and diving (for the others). The visibility was no where near as clear as it had been in the Red Sea, but it was still pretty cool. At one point I thought I saw an octopus. And then, city girl that I am, I realized it was just a rock. Oops. The thing about snorkeling, for me, is that it's terrifying. As far as I can remember, nothing traumatizing has ever happened to me in or around water and yet I get panicky more quickly than I'd like to admit. I'm not a strong swimmer, so that could be part of it, but snorkeling doesn't involve much more than floating face down and kicking your fins every now and then. For whatever reason water and the things in it are scary. I don't want to touch anything because it's either damaging (coral reef), ouchy (have you ever seen a spiky sea urchin?), or icky (pretty much everything else). Sometimes I'm floating along, things are fine, and my heart starts racing. I try to talk myself off the edge and try to consciously slow my breathing and my heart rate. If it works, I'm good for another few minutes until the next panic attack; if it doesn't work, it's back to the boat for me, to wait for the others.

I'll be in Koh Tao, Thailand in the next couple of weeks. Besides the fact that PADI certification is cheaper than in the US by half, the diving is supposed to be amazing. Getting certification would mean that I'd be able to dive in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. I think I'd kind of hate myself a little if I went to all those places and didn't dive because I was too scared. But I've been hoping that snorkeling would ease me into feeling comfortable with diving. After three tries at snorkeling, that hasn't happened yet, but I don't think I'm ready to give up yet.

Anyway. . .I'm back in the Serendipity Beach area, hanging out for the day and waiting for my bus tonight to Siem Reap. I'm hoping the bus will arrive late tomorrow because otherwise I'll get there at 4am and that's just SO not a great time to find accommodations. I'm actually trying to figure out a way to stay in Cambodia even longer because by not going to China and Korea, I'm a bit ahead of the skeleton itinerary I'd worked out for myself. That, and I'm really enjoying Cambodia more than I expected.

* * * * *
On another note: Obviously I've been out of touch with news and current events these days. In scanning a few of the blogs that I read regularly, the topic of a passed health care bill in the US came up. Would someone like to give me the lowdown on what this is all about and what it means for us?


  1. Glad to hear you are safe and happy, even if oddly terrified of the water. Amy was worried. So of course she called Dad and he was worried, too. Then he had to go and tell me...

    Get the picture? (-:

    I'll kick Dad next time I see him for forgetting to teach you about hammocks. Love ya! K.

  2. Heath care?
    Liberal viewpoint - wonderful thing for all Americans
    Conservative viewpoint - Socialism! more of my hard earned money and freedoms being taken away

    Reality? Somewhere in between. More Americans will have access to heath care whether they want it or not (some may not want it as they'll be forced to pay insurance premiums).

    My impression is that it'll have a more immediate impact on those without health insurance than those with it.

    I think that the vast majority of Americans are disillusioned with all politicians at the moment and the spending spree that they've been on and there could be major changes in DC at the next election. A new Senate or House could result in major changes or even repealing of the legislation, who knows.

    I don't recommend losing any sleep worrying about it one way or the other :-)

    Love ya,

  3. i like your health care wrap up!

    and i know exactly what you are talking about re that panic feeling while snorkling. i would consider myself a good swimmer and i have to talk myself off the ledge re my breathing. in. out. in. out. can't wait to hear about the diving - so fun! think darth vader breathing . . . xoxoL

  4. Oh, and about hammocks -
    We have one hammock. If I were to tell everyone in the family how enjoyable it is, how often do you think I'd be able to use it?
    I knew that one day you'd learn about them and always hoped you wouldn't be in a position to monopolize my hammock when you did.

    Let's see...
    hammock = Maryland.
    Shannon = Cambodia.

    My plan worked!!

    Love and miss you,
    (so much so that you can use my hammock),

  5. Sorry for getting everyone worried on ya! I was just a little paranoid. Glad you're having fun and getting to relax though.

    I really hope that you do get to dive. I think you'd regret it if you didn't get certified before you went to Australia!

  6. I've had so few times in the last few months without internet access (just two, actually), that I forget I have to warn people ahead of time so they don't worry. I'll try to be more on top of that in the future. If the damn SPOT worked consistently, it wouldn't be such a big deal. But it doesn't. Grr.

    Dad - Your hammock summary was almost as good as your health care bill summary. Better, actually, because it had me laughing out loud! :-)