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Gay/Straight/Love/Hate Cambodia

Have some fun! Writer of this blog lived in Siem Reap for six years.

Bringing back memories

I’m back darling viewers.

Late as usual, but better late than never.  Actually I’ve been bed-ridden for the past 3 days with some dreadful Asian flu.  Hot and cold flushes, headache, nausea and feeling weaker than water pets.  I was feeling so lousy that I didn’t even have a drink for 3 days!!!

Thankfully I’ve recovered and am ready and rearing to go.  I self medicated yesterday and took 2 sleeping pills, demanded pizza for dinner and woke up feeling like a new person.

So 2015 is well underway and, apart from my illness, it has proven to be a fabby year.  River Queen Guesthouse is pumping.  Truthfully we are still down on this time last year, but with half the month to go there’s still hope.  It’s the same all over town though, tourist numbers are way, way down and we have been very lucky to have kept busy throughout the month so far.

We have had some really fun and interesting guests, mostly gay, but not all, and they have all extended their stay which is a good way to know that we are obviously doing the right thing.  The staff are all working wonderfully and things are looking rosy.

Among our recent guests we have had a Russian artist who has stayed 3 weeks.  She is well known amongst the Russian art circle and even has a book of her works published.  Lot’s of lovely gay men, flaunting their gorgeous Khmer boyfriends all over the place and one Scottish gent.  I have to laugh pets, his accent is so strong that my partner can’t understand a word he says.

To to top it all off my Aunt arrives in 2 days time.  I haven’t seen her since 2009 on our last trip to England and am really looking forward to it.  It will be a surprise for our staff also, as she and my mother are identical twins and I am waiting to see the confusion on their faces when she arrives.

As we’ve been busy we haven’t been out much so I was wondering how to fill my blog.  Then I realized that after all my bitching about last year I should reflect on all my achievements during the past year.

Firstly my Clean up Temple Town project has been a wonderful success.  We have had 3 major clean ups and the next one is planned for early February (kick started by a lovely coffee meeting at the Shinta Mani Hotel with the GM last week).  More importantly we have got over 1000 Khmers involved and have provided much valuable educational material (in Khmer) to help spread our message.

Various NGO schools now not only participate but have made litter reduction a part of their curriculum so in future we will have a more educated, caring and cleaner community.We have also spawned two new groups from Clean Up Temple Town – Sustainable Products and Packaging and Khmer Eco Warriors.

Secondly we have provided employment to 4 lovely boys which has not only provided them and their families with a much needed income, but enabled each of them to return to school and further their education.

Thirdly I have watched my ‘re-cycling’ boys transform from dirty, uneducated children wearing filthy rags into boys who now come each Sunday in clean clothes, practicing their English and looking happy and healthy.  This is really my proudest achievement pets!

So although personally I didn’t see 2014 as one of my better years, I can see that I actually achieved more important things than personal gratification.  Maybe I’m just getting older and wiser pets – but I’ve started to realize that selfish hedonism, whilst definitely fun and exciting is not the only thing in life.

Anyhoo possums, enough of the philanthropic back – patting.  What’s happening around Temple Town?  Actually not very much to speak of.  As I mentioned the tourist numbers are down and aside from Angkor Famous there really aren’t any new or exciting venues to go out to.

In fact quite a number of places have closed down or down-sized so it will be interesting to see how the town rebounds.  It doesn’t help when you have planes falling out of the sky every few days, clubs burning down or pieces of temple falling on tourists either pets!

That happened last week at Angkor Wat when a large column just fell down and unfortunately hit a tourist.  Thankfully she was not injured badly but it doesn’t do to have the biggest economical draw card in Cambodia collapsing on people.  One would think that with all the money they make daily that some obvious repairs and safety measures should be taken.  Meanwhile the authorities (Apsara) are all living in luxury accommodation and driving Lexus cars around.

On the same not pets, all the time and money spent on clearing ad greening the riverside seems to have gone to waste.  While riverside in the town centre is still maintained, the rest of the areas they planted with hedges, trees and grass have all been left to wither and die.  We went for a ride on the moto last week and on either side of the town centre it is the same.  The plantings and footpaths have all been left without water or weeding and are looking decidedly forlorn.

So my next project is to start getting the hotels along the riverside to start maintaining them and try and regenerate or replant them so that we can all enjoy the benefits of a greener and more aesthetic riverfront.  We have already started across the road and our afternoon boys now take a bucket and use the river water to water the plants which until a few weeks ago were all nearly dead.  We are also going to add more plants in the hope that we can inspire others to do the same.

Sorry pets, you must all be bored…it’s not my usual blog but to make it up to you I have added some totally unrelated pictures of absolutely fabulous Khmer boys.

Until next time when I will blog about ‘Travels with my Aunt’, stay glamorous and be fabulous.

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