Demining Demonstration and Celebration Dinner
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 14 of 17 › view all entries
In the middle of the night I had woken up with an urgent need to go to the toilet. When I tried to open the bathroom door I found it locked. I checked Bryan's bed but he was in there ... strange. One of us must have pushed the lock button on the inside and pulled the door shut. The little key on the keychange didn't fit the lock, so I had to make a quick sprint to the toilets of the restaurant instead.
Today we didn't have to get up early since the building project was done. Still, when I woke up at eight I felt pretty horrible. It felt like a freight train had run over my back. The lower end of my back was hurting like hell and despite the 8+ hours of sleep I was still tired. I dragged myself to breakfast, which was followed by an interesting demonstration by the MAG Cambodia team.
MAG Cambodia employs a lot of women of whom the husbands have died in mine accidents, thereby giving them an income again. They also have disabled people that lost one leg among their deminers. Of both categories there was one person present. We first got a demonstration of how the deminers clear a field. The field is marked by lines and they slowly move forward with metal detectors. We were then shown how a deminer would dig up any detected metal that was found by carefully removing the earth from the back. After these demo's we could try on the protective suits and helmets, grab a metal detector and search part of the marked field.
After this demo and Jamie answering some of our questions, Frank continued to tell us something about all of the various forms of mines and UXO (unexploded ordnance) that MAG clears in many countries. This was quite interesting but by this time my back was killing me and I felt dead tired in the sun, so I decided to sneak out and catch some more sleep.
At lunchtime I felt a little better. Most of the group had booked a tour to Angkor Wat or the Floating Village in the afternoon, but since I had both seen these and would also visit Angkor Wat at sunrise tomorrow I had decided to go into town instead. Still not feeling too well I decided to cancel these plans and stay at the hotel, catching up with writing my blog.
I could have stayed in the hotel, but tonight was the celebration dinner and most of the team would leave tomorrow. I most certainly did not want to miss that. So I took a few painkillers and felt well enough to go out with the rest. We went to a stunning lounge-like restaurant where we had a private room on the first floor. Steve had set up a screen and projector that would show all of the pictures that we had taken during the trekking and building project.
After we finished dinner it was time for a drink. I was in real doubt if it would be sensible to go back to the hotel or not. It didn't take a lot of convincing though that I might as well have one small beer. Err ... or maybe two ... or maybe ... It was just too much fun in the streets around the Banana Leaf bar. There was a band playing that had us all dancing around on the street while waitresses kept bringing us new drinks. Bryan impressed us all with his funky dance moves and we were amazed/shocked by the many 'working girls/boys' that were hanging around this area. Thus started what would become a very, very long night ...