Kampot and Kep – Ein Tag am Meer

I met Katrin a couple of times, who is consultant and works on indigenous land rights. Once I met her with Dietmar who is on a South East Asia backpack like tour. As it happens, Katrin has some passion for big motos and a friend who is into motos, too. Dietmar wants to travel to the south and see Sihanoukville. So we thought it would be a good idea to travel to Kep over the weekend, which is a small town at the ocean.

We start with a breakfast at the Foreign Correspondence Club (FCC), which is a place that is at the riverfront, sort of expensive frequented by foreigners who can afford it l to hang out here.

This one is taken from the balcony at the backside of the FCC to the east. On the opposite side of this square is the National Museum. The building to the left is most likely among what remains from the French. In the center is a place where people play soccer in the morning and evening.

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From Stung Treng to Kompong Cham by Speedboat and from Kompong Cham to Phnom Pehn by Taxi

Next day we get up fairly early again to get the boat which leaves at 7 am to Kompong Cham. I have been traveling with those boats many times now and am getting used to it. And I still like it.

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Third Day Stung Treng – Sesan

We spend the night in the house of a family. This is rather simple but lovely and it is nice to keep in touch with the local population. After we got up and have a Khmer style shower in the garden we have some breakfast. This is the kind of breakfast place frequented by Khmer people. Those places can be found all over the country and Phnom Penh is no exception. They offer good and very cheap food and this is the way most Cambodians have breakfast.

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Second Day Strung Treng – Siem Pang

It is sort of difficult to get to the areas in which indigenous peoples live in this province. One of those areas is Siem Pang in the north, directly at the border to Laos. The other area is in the east and we learned that it would be very difficult to get there in the rainy season and impossible to get there within our tight schedule. So we decide to visit various communes and villages in Siem Pang. There is no road to this area and the boat it the only way to make it. At the same time it is about 100 km from Stung Treng town and we do not have much time. So what we need is a fast boat. We are lucky, because what is available here is called fast boat and really deserves the name.

Those are fast boats. They are imported from Thailand and Laos and designed for maximal speed. Those boats have powerful engines and can easily make 60 km per hour. However, they are extremely sensitive when it comes to waves. They are mostly used to cross the border to Laos and this is what most tourists do when they come here.

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Travel to and first day in Stung Treng

There are not many options for us to go to Stung Treng, particularly when considering our tight schedule. So we decide to rent a pick up and start very early in the morning, which costs us about $40 for the four hour ride. However, we thought this way we can meet the government representative there before the extensive lunch break and start conducting interviews as early as the afternoon of the same day.

We start at about 5 am, which really is very early for me. I do not get much sleep anymore anyway. So as soon as we sit in the car I try to go back to sleep again. Surprisingly the car is the same with which I made the trip from Strung Treng to Banlung when I came here the first time.

After we have been driving for some time we have some minor problems with the car.

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Last Day in Rattanakiri

This is Monday. I spend the day again talking to several local activists and organization. In addition, I am still busy typing all the notes I took during so many interviews. And I have to arrange for the transportation to Stung Treng province the next day. So I take only very few pictures.

This is a place close to the market. Youngsters come here to hang out and play billiard.

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Day four and five of the Second Field Trip to Rattanakiri

This is Saturday. In the morning we went to see the guy who is working as education advisor for CARE. He has been working in indigenous education all his life and is actually from Australia. We had a long and very open discussion. I enjoyed having a discussion in English without translation, which makes the event much more delightful for me. I learned a lot about the education project, the governments approach to indigenous rights in general and indigenous education and the local situation in comparative perspective in particular. Furthermore he liked ‘my’ theory of indigenous rights. After a good discussion we agreed to keep in touch and provide each other with documents and information.

Even out here in Rattanakiri there are Pagodas and monks who are traveling the streets in the morning to collect food from the people.

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Second Day of Second Field Trip to Rattanakiri

Again, I cannot but make this a very short report. In the morning of the next day we meet some of the authorities as well as major local NGOs. We are happy enough to be provided by the local PLG project (which is actually a UNDP project) with a capable car including driver for just covering the costs of petrol. We have a tight schedule and want to meet a number of Commune Councils as well as members of the local indigenous communities.
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First Day of the Second Field Trip to RAttanakiri

This is the report of my second trip to Rattanakiri. Unfortunately I did not even complete the article about the first one. Due to the fact that I am leaving tomorrow again I try to make this short and get it done quickly. It is not likely that I will find time after this field trip, since I will be busy analyzing the collected data and writing my final report. This leads to another consideration: I think it would be interesting to include reflections about my work in this article here. However, I will have to write my final report with exactly those reflections. Therefore, I do not want to double my work and make this a article primarily about traveling with more general information. I am more than happy to provide the countless minutes I take or my reports once they are finalized. For better readability I will divide this journey into a number of smaller reports.
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Research Design

My work keeps me busy and I do not find time to more general reflection. I do not even find time to answer my mail. Sorry for that. I will be in Kratie for another week. However, I changed the schedule and will come back to Phnom Penh before I travel to Mondulkiri and continue fieldwork.

I thought it might be a good idea to provide my research outline and rational as well as the guiding questions that I use to conduct my (semi-standardized) interviews. However, I did not find time to update it dititaly and this reflects the situation rather three weeks ago. I will provide the update on this as soon as I get back from Kratie.
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Phnom Chisor

Today is Sunday. I rented the motor bike for the entire weekend and wanted to go to Phnom Chisor (Phnom Chissor, Phnom Chi Sou )today, after I failed to find it yesterday. And I managed to persuade the tourist student to give me company. We decided to go with two motos, both the big one and the smaller one he uses for moto services.

We started after breakfast at about ten am. He told me that he never rode a big moto before. I showed him on the way how to drive the big moto but he preferred to first go to Phnom Chiso and than practice riding it.

This is a medium sized temple which we reached after we went about 40 km south on the national road number two. I though this is a beautiful temple. I spend some time taking pictures but I did not see anybody. Only two dogs.

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To the South Following the Bassac River

Today is Saturday. I had found a possibility to rent a moto without handing in my passport and wanted to make up for the previous weekend. After an extensive breakfast including the weekend edition of the Cambodia Daily I went to ‘lucky! lucky!’, the Chinese motorcycle rental service.

This is what I got this time. I thought this is good value for $8 per day.

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