We are lucky enough to live very close to a dessert lady who offers a number of tantalising sweeties for those nights when grilled chicken doesn’t cut the mustard. She has a limited but popular supply of desserts ranging from bowls of sticky tapioca with banana or pumpkin, mung bean custard, baked egg custard, coconut jellies and some kind of yellow bean thing all on display every night for her passing customers. Dessert lady typically rocks up at around sunset and stays well into the night, til at least 10pm some nights. I admire her dedication to the cause, especially as she is on her own, outside a dark market but she always has a smile on her face and is happy to serve up sugary delights to her customers.
Work work work…that’s what everyone wants to know about….so here’s a bit of a rundown so that everyone is kept up to date with what I am doing and where…Mick will have to update yáll on his own work situation which involves moving to his office space in the front of our apartment.
My placement through the program is with an international NGO who is working in the field of road safety…a huge issue here in Cambodia. With nearly 2,000 people dying on the roads every year and hundreds of thousands more injured, it is the biggest killer in the country. More people die on the roads or are permanently disabled from road crashes than from land mines which is interesting considering most people would think that land mines were a bigger issue.
Phnom Penh has a huge amount of markets that cater to tourists, locals and expats alike. Mick and I are lucky enough to live directly across from a small local market so we have easy access to fresh fruit and veg, meats, plastic containers, makeup, socks, soup and coffee. But if we are in need of more things, more selection of things such as fabrics, fans, brooms, electrical items, machetes, bulk seafood or clothes, then we have to head further afield. Orussey Market (P’saa Orúsee) is a huge market located about a 5 min tuk tuk ride away from ours and offers everything and then some all in a convenient multi-story building that is surrounded by food vendors and tuk tuks.
Sovana Restaurant has something for everyone – From the basic fried rice, veggies and grilled meat dishes to more exotic dishes such as roasted bees, ant larvae and raw crab salads. And you know its good because it is packed every night of the week with hungry expats and locals alike. It is considered a decent restaurant to bring even the fussiest eater who will enjoy the succulent grilled beef, the stuffed squid with pork, the fresh herb salads and of course the jugs of beer.
Boy, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun…or when you are stupidly busy and trying to cope with the heat, the dust and the noise of Cambodia. It seems like it has been ages and yet not long at all since we flew out of Sydney and arrived fresh faced and eager into Phnom Penh. The first few weeks were filled with intensive ARC orientation, house hunting and language training. We stayed at a comfortable, safe guesthouse in a quiet part of town complete with a pool, bath and walk in wardrobe. Very nice! After a 5 day jaunt to Koh Rong, we came back for a couple of nights in a cheap guesthouse nearby (1 bed apartment with a kitchen for $15 per night – HELLO) and finally moved into our apartment – Hooray!
I love noodle soup for breakfast. Some people love cereal, fruit or toast, but to me nothing is more energizing or comforting than a big steaming bowl of flavourtown. Teamed up with a super strong iced coffee, this is an awesome way to start the day!
Two weeks down and a whole lot of house-hunting, negotiating, learning and training has seen us all exhausted but it has been exciting and very rewarding.
One thing that was touched on in training was managing expectations, which has become all too true recently for a fellow volunteer. A misunderstanding, break-down of communication and differing expectations for both parties has seen a negotiation turn sour. Read More
All’s well in the land of fish amok. We have hit the ground running, literally, for the past 10 days or so. Once we got to Phnom Penh, we had to hit the ground running. The Country Manager, Sandra, met us at the airport and it has been all stations go for the last ten days. Crazy! Unfortunately this has meant that we haven’t explored much yet, but considering we will be here for 12 months, I’m sure we can make do.
If you are considering a trip to Burma/Myanmar then I highly recommend checking out a good friend’s website – Tourism Transparency. This organisation is a small, independent group of active campaigners who are aiming to educate tourists to Burma about responsible travel.
As trips to Burma are becoming increasingly more popular, it is important in my opinion, for tourists to have some idea of the political situation in the country. Just because the borders are opening up and some sanctions have been lifted does not mean that the country is prepared or ready for the huge influx of visitors. In addition, it should not be assumed that money spent in the country is helping the citizens as much as it could be. Many of the tour operators, guesthouses, transport options and even restaurants are owned and run by the government which means your tourist dollar is bypassing those who need it most.