This is rural Cambodia. My family and I went here this weekend to visit kids at an orphanage that a fellow teacher started up 5 years ago. There is a actually a site right in Bangkok, Thailand, near where we live that helps children of Cambodian and Burmese constructions workers, and we visited the local centers in Cambodia itself. It was just an hour or so flight from Bangkok, and really the countryside wasn't that much different from the parts of rural Thailand that I've been to, but there is so much more poverty in Cambodia. Cambodia is a third world country, while Bangkok is considered a first world city in a second world country, and boy could I tell the difference! I had a lot to think about, especially after just having read Renee's recent thoughtful post about Walking Each Other Home.
Like many north Americans, I have had an obsession with Tiny Houses during the last 5 or so years. I thought they'd be a fabulous way to downsize. I can picture hubby and I in one after the kids are grown, maybe in Idaho. After moving to southeast Asia, I realized many people live in them not by choice. I have seen all sorts of creative "tiny homes" in Bangkok and outside of Bangkok. Living in a packing crate isn't new, apparently, but decorating them so they star in magazines back in the states is. In the tiny homes I see here, there may or may not be furniture in them, and there may or may not be running water or electricity available. In THESE tiny houses - there are actually two here - there is no electricity nor running water. But they haven't rigged it with solar, nor do they have any fancy rain catchment system. They definitely didn't order home decor from Amazon. They live here in rural Cambodia in total poverty, walking their three cattle around to feed, tending to rice paddies around them. I love how the house in the back has some accent paint color. Maybe I will copy it some day in my own tiny house! Wish I could have gotten closer, but a lady was out with her daughter and some cattle, so I felt awkward doing that.
You don't need to go too far outside of Bangkok to see the lushness of central Thailand. This was the setting for our family end-of-summer trip to an awesome water park. The outdoor adventurer in me struggles with living in a large city (14 million people!) in a developing country with mildewy concrete buildings everywhere. Any chance I have to get out, my eyes feast on the green. It's nice when the man-made places, like the waterpark, maintain the natural environment around them rather than just build eyesore after eyesore leaving a mess in its wake. Next to this waterpark is also a winery and grape juice farm - next time we'll plan to tour it!
From a short trip into Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument on the day of the Interior Secretary's visit. Here are a few of us on Barnard Mountain, with a gorgeous view over Katahdin Lake to Mt Katahdin. This is on the International Appalachian Trail, and we met a through-hiker headed southbound all the way to Florida. It sounds like I may have to try out some more hiking on the IAT one of these days.
A short overnight in the White Mountains with a handful of good friends, including one who hadn't been backpacking ever, and one who hadn't been backpacking in the White Mountains. One of my favorite overnight trips in the White Mountains is going up the Nancy Pond Trail, then up the Desolation Trail on Mt Carrigain. This picture is from Signal Ridge on the way down Carrigain. There's a lot of good stuff to see on this hike, including two alpine ponds, a big waterfall, a 4000-footer with wonderful views, and an open ridge with more views. Can't go wrong there.
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