Director Roberto Serrini created an incredibly moving piece of footage about Cambodia that was taken using a GoPro and a DJI Phantom drone. The resulting piece of work is a beautiful collection of people, farmland, homes and communities that show what Cambodia is like beyond the confines of the tourist spots of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Check it out here.
Life in general is coming along really well here, despite some of the political and social instability that has been going on the past few months. This has had some impact on our lives but not anything that is cause for concern! We are now used to the razor-wire barricades that are still around the city, and the guys with AK-47′s under their arms don’t even register any more…That makes Cambodia sound like a bit of a police state or war zone, but it is far far from that! We just happen to live in a country with a paranoid (and weathly) ruler who likes to show his “strengths” through intimidation…oh the fun!
Korean food is something that I have come to really enjoy of late, which is funny considering Sydney is a bit of a hub of Korean food activity not Phnom Penh! But despite this, Mick and I live just around the corner from our own little “Korea-town” on Sotheros Blvd. Amongst the massage parlors, karaoke bars and hotels, there are some absolute gems such as Yeon Ga.
This Christmas, Mick and I decided to take the bull by its horns and splurge on a feast at the Sofitel Phokeethra in Phnom Penh. We wanted to experience a buffet of international standard, drink as much wine as we could fit in our bellies and have a grand old time with our friends while we were away from our families. This was an excellent choice!
Christmas in Cambodia is not a big deal, unless you go to visit expat shops such as the local supermarket, gourmet shops or gift places. The rest of the country runs as normal as this Christian celebration isn’t anything to talk about. The expat sector is well catered for though with tinsel and trees and shortbread and ferrero rocher chocolates available at inflated prices in your shopping malls and supermarkets. Some places are getting into the spirit however with apartment buildings featuring giant snow-globes with santa and his sleigh inside, christmas lights adorning tuk-tuks and beer company banners with santa hats on street corners.
Living in Asia definitely takes some getting used to and for some, its not as easy to get used to certain aspects such as street pissing, sugary bread, offal in soup. Breakfast is probably the hardest meal to adapt to, with many people struggling to down a plate of fried rice or noodle soup first thing in the morning. In the west our breakfasts usually consist of bread, fruit, eggs, cereal and on weekends a special brunch with all the trimmings such as bacon, bernaise sauce and chorizo thrown in.
Spending Christmas in an Asian country like Cambodia has its perks and its downfalls. For one, you escape months of the hype that the shops, media, tv and every friend or acquaintance you have is spreading thickly about Christmas. Early shopping, late shopping, food shopping, everything shopping! Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of shopping, but the months of hype is enough to turn you spare. On the flipside, spending it here you forget that its coming up and usually at the last minute you decide that you probably should do something for it – have lunch, dinner…have a tree? tinsel?
I have thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas cheer that is going around in Phnom Penh – from the giant inflatable santa that has been up outside our local convenience store for a month, to the giant snow-dome outside an apartment block to the Tiger Beer Christmas tree that is up in the local supermarket. Some places have gone all out for it despite the fact that its not a celebrated holiday here and everyone will be working as usual.
Mick and I recently headed back to Australia to visit friends and family, but more importantly to be part of the wedding celebrations for my sister (Yay! Pip! Yay Danny!). We had a really great time back in Australia, seeing friends, eating delicious lamb, napping in comfy beds, hanging out with Mum’s, spending time at the casino (aka. bowling club), driving in a car, drinking cider and many other things. The wedding was really lovely and romantic, not too many dramas (lets not include the busted floor in the lodge in this email) and great food. Here’s to Pip and Danny having a long and loving marriage <3 /clinks glasses
Backpackers, tourists and travellers share some pretty funny stories when they meet. They will brag about the crazy adventure in Malaysia with some weirdo guys who plied them with free booze (wink) or the trip down the mountain in a ute through torrential rain with a drunk driver and two friends getting drunk in the back tray (double-wink) or that time they clambered over a landslide in Laos through a small village and then picked up a local bus that screamed around the mountain corners in the dark to Vang Vieng (triple-wink). But the most common stories seem to be those that involve toilets, bowel movements or vomit….why is that? Is it that we can share those experience and realise its not just us struggling with something? Or is it that we just love to out-gross each other?! I’d say the latter….we really are just kids when it comes down to it.
Long weekends are something Cambodian’s get to celebrate quite often. There are days off for any number of religious, political or social reasons, and as an expat here it can be a great opportunity to go visit neighbouring countries like Vietnam or Thailand without using your annual leave. For one particular long weekend here, Pchum Ben, Mick and I decided to take advantage of the 5 days off and make our way to Vietnam where we would indulge in any number of tasty foods and hang out with some friends who were going to be there. Awesome!
A good burger is hard to beat. Sometimes you just want to get your mouth around some grilled meat with beetroot, tomato and lettuce and feel that yummy comfort. But Mick and I don’t eat bread so we make our own versions – burger salads! Just as delicious but eaten with a knife and fork instead of with our hands.