Greetings from Trat!

Hey all!!
Greetings from Trat!! Which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere really, just on the Thai side of the Thai/Cambodian border.

I arrived here from Cambodia a couple of hours ago and am now beginning the next leg of the journey. Pics will follow, but I need to get organized and find an internet cafe where I can download them off my camera. For now, just a brief message to let you know that I am alive and doing fine (except a pretty bad sunburn from kayaking and playing in waterfalls). if anyone wants to text message me, my new Thai cell phone number is 011 66 811571634. The 66 is the country code.

Our build in Sre Ambel was awesome. We managed to finished 10 houses the first day, 6 the next day. Day 1 was started off by a girls versus boys housebuilding challenge - guess who won?! :) The entire team worked great together, and we had alot of help from both Tabitha staff and the villagers themselves, which made the work go so much faster.

After we completed 6 houses the 2nd day, Vonngh, the Tabitha staff for the Koh Kong region, showed us around the village to make sure we got to see the crops, wells and pigs that Tabitha has helped to support. It was great - this was the first time I've been able to see directly the contribution that donations to Tabitha are making (aside from the houses).

We even got to visit a rice wine still (and taste the resultant concoction which is kind of like Khmer moonshine!)
and see green peppercorns growing on the vines. They are hot when fresh I can tell you that!

We stayed at the most surreal place in the world - the Kirirom Hillside resort.

Complete with dino park, rope slide (scary thing) and enough picnic gazebos to fit 200 or more people! But it was deserted, save for us, a Korean group, and a group of women from Australia who were there volunteering at a few orphanages. But it was a nice place to come back to after a day of building, strip off and swim in the pool.

Following the build, our team split up, with 4 people going down to Kampot, and 6 of us (Bob, Wendy, Derek, Erin, Cam and I) headed deep into the Cardomon mountains to a place on the Tatai river called the Rainbow Lodge.

Totally amazing. It's on the edge of the national forest and super quiet and peaceful. We spent three nights there and relaxed and ate a huge amount! It's run by an English couple, Janet and Gee, and they were wonderful hosts. Awesome bungalows overlooking the Tatai river. The river where we were was half salt water, half fresh (only 12 km from the ocean) and a great place to cool off.

One day, Derek and I kayaked up to the rapids and back, 8 kms each way.

The next day, the 6 of us trekked to a waterfall, straight through dense bamboo forests with gibbons screaming in the trees and scary, huge nasty parasitic wasps threatening to eat us!

We got to the falls, and one of the staff met us there in the long tail boat with a shore lunch, Khmer style - squid, shrimp, pork, chicken and cold beer! Perfect. Definitely well worth the trip.

I'm now back in Thailand
, spending 2 nights here, then back to Ayutthaya on Monday to start 4 days of Krabi Krabong training. It's hard to believe that the trip is almost 1/2 over, so I must run and enjoy the rest of it! The market in Trat is supposed to be awesome so I will now go explore.

hugs to all!