Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Christmas has come and gone. The new year too. Why not add holidays? They came and went like a subway train through a station with the driver asleep at the wheel. School and tutoring are back with a vengeance. One night this week we got home and crawled into bed at 7:30. And not the good kind of crawled into bed at 7:30 either!

A Cambodia travelogue is under construction. For those too impatient to wait, or just not interested enough to read it all, here's a quick summary. There are wonderful people and places to visit. There are also hotels, restaurants and transport that permit you to be comfortable whatever your standards might be. It's still and poor and cruel country. But considering that just 25 years ago they killed anyone who had any sort of education, abolished currency and moved the population into the country to grow rice, its proof of their resiliency that there is still a country to visit.

Due to the Islamic calendar, we have another week-long holiday at the beginning of February. Oman has been a long time #2 choice of places to visit. At the south end of the Arabian peninsula, it has mountains and sandy deserts and is reputed to be the most welcoming of Arabian countries. Our second option is Iran. A group of Canadians is going to take a ferry across the gulf to travel in the southern half of the country (but north of the area around Bam).

We are still deciding what to do next year. We are leaning towards spending a third year in Kuwait. The school offered next year's contracts to the teachers for consideration. They are trying to save money wherever they can. Next year they will offer a stipend instead of housing staff in school apartments. They promise to give out what our current apartment costs to singles (50% more to couples), but leave you to furnish it yourself. They are not going to pay out sick days anymore and they've contracted out evacuation insurance (now that the war is over, insurance must be much less expensive than it would have been a couple years ago). The new staff, who are in their first year of a two year contract, are a little upset that the worry-free furnished housing has been clawed back.