|Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia (Image from Wikipedia)|
I firstly need to preface this post by thanking my Husband for the trip I am about to embark. There are not too many Husbands (that I know of at least) that would selfishly send their partner on an overseas trip so they can explore their passion (mine which is photography) while they stay at home and keep everything running. This is not the first time he has done this either.... In October 2009 Grant arranged for me to spend a week in Vanuatu and the day I flew out was actually our wedding anniversary. This time I'm off to Siem Reap, Cambodia, with my friends at Bluedog. So with all my heart I thank you Grant for supporting and allowing me to go and do the things I'm passionate about xxx
I have spent the last 6 months (I received the trip as a Christmas gift) trying to prepare myself for what I will see, taste, feel and experience while in Siem Reap. This is not a location when you simply sit back with a cocktail and soak up the sun. The weather will actually be humid, it is the rainy season so there will also be plenty of rain and clouds which leads to soggy clothes and mud!
For a start, there is a reason Cambodia is referred to as a third world country, there are plenty of health risks associated with visiting. A visit to the Dr's left me feeling like a pin cushion after needles for Hep A, B (2 doses), Typhoid, Tetanus, Flu Shots, plus prescriptions for Malaria - which I need to start taking 2 days before I leave and continue to take each until for 2 weeks AFTER I return home - Gastro, Antibiotics, Nausea....the list goes on. The good news is that general health is on the rise in Cambodia. As of 2010, the life expectancy is 60 years for males and 65 years for females, a major improvement since 1999 when the average life expectancy was 49.8 and 46.8 respectively. The Royal Cambodian Government plans to increase the quality of healthcare in the country by raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Along with that Cambodia's infant mortality rate has decreased from 115 per 1,000 live births in 1993 to 54 in 2009. In the same period, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 181 to 115 per 1,000 live births. In the province with worst health indicators, Ratanakiri, 22.9% of children die before age five. Then there are the landmines. UNICEF has designated Cambodia the third most landmined country in the world, attributing over 60,000 civilian deaths and thousands more maimed or injured since 1970 because of the unexploded land mines left behind in rural areas.The majority of the victims are children herding animals or playing in the fields. Adults that survive landmines often require amputation of one or more limbs and have to resort to begging for survival. However, the number of landmine casualties has sharply decreased, from 800 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2006 and 208 in 2007 (38 killed and 170 injured).
For these reasons I will be heading over with an open mind about what I will see over the 8 days we explore Siem Reap and the surrounding areas. Wish me a safe trip and good health, I think I'll need it :)