Monday, August 23, 2010

The Railway

The last week has felt like three weeks rolled into one. The pace has been intense, with so much back and forth, up and down, several bumpy bus rides, and too many moto rides in the incessant August downpour. I spent the weekend in Sihanouk Ville, a coastal city that is known, by most, for its promise of self-indulgence and abandon. But it was no vacation for me. I went there to meet with families evicted from the ongoing Asian Development Bank's Greater Mekong Sub-Region project, which aims to rehabilitate Cambodia's now-derelict railway system.

Fortunately, there were still lovely moments amid all the heartbreaking stories. (Yes, we have established that I have a weak heart.) For example, I will never complain about having to eat grilled lobster and prawns for lunch, or about being able to end a long day with a book in hand, my toes burrowing into the sandy beach, and my colleagues and a crimson sunset accompanying me, or about being able to see this country from an entirely unique perspective. And, of course, there was the requisite rabblerousing -- an evening of hijinks and karaoke that still makes me chuckle. (Prior to living in Cambodia, I never did karaoke.)

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