Monday, April 20, 2015

Surviving Khmer New Year

We decided that we should host an open house for Khmer New Year. In Rovieng where we lived before, Khmer New Year was always an open house whether we wanted it to be, or not. Perhaps a thousand people would pass through our house to see our animals and how the strange foreigners lived. We were on the road to the local creek where everyone liked to “da-laing” (play-walking) so it was natural to stop by.
Living out in the middle of nowhere now, and wanting to show the locals what we are doing, we thought it would be a good idea to invite the people out to see and experience a little of what we mean by “ecotourism.” Ben worked hard to get two ziplines up and running and we figured we could charge a small fee to cover some of the operating expenses.
Well, the crowds came. Not quite as many as in Rovieng.  But being thirty minutes from the closest village and about one and a half hours to the district town, it is a quite a journey and plenty of people made the trip out: thankfully not a thousand, but more than enough and manageable. Many tried the ziplines (just over thirty people each day). More chose to watch!

We were prepared this time. I made some signs up with my rudimentary Khmer writing skills and we posted rubbish bags all over the place. Most were very kind and used the rubbish bags. I am still astounded at the lack of litter. So our lesson learned is that preparation pays.

In front of our house

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