Mick and I have been fortunate enough to live through an election period in Cambodia. It was noisy, it was loud, it was exciting. I love election periods back home (usually) so seeing how the system worked here was very interesting. The election was held on July 28 and the month-long campaigning period leading up to it was filled with campaign parades, concerts, many many newspaper articles and rumours and gossip about each and every candidate. In that respect, it is no different to the politicking back in Australia, but the difference here is that the opposition here faces a very strong (near impossible) uphill battle to take over leadership.
Three months….yikes! It’s hard to believe that it has been 3 months already! It seems like just a short time ago that we were frantically throwing our things into boxes, eating final meals of Aussie sausages and lamb roasts and drinking the last coopers beers before getting on the plane. And yet it also seems like such a long time ago that we were saying teary goodbyes to everyone and setting off with trepidation to Cambodge…. We are now old hat’s at this. We know where to go, how to get there and what to do once we get there. We can explore the markets without screwing our noses up at the stink of dried fish and pig guts on display. We don’t turn around at every clap, honk or “LADY! SIR!” that we hear on the streets. We can even ride our bicycles down the main roads without worrying that we will get smashed by a car or motorbike.
As I previously mentioned, we were fortunate enough to have a stray cat take a liking to our place and have her kittens in in about 6 weeks ago. We lost one of the kittens to an AWFUL MONSTER (tom cat) but the other four grew, and grew, and grew! They have been the source of much enjoyment and frustration (they are learning how fun it is to claw their way up your legs for a cuddle) and I will be sad to see them go, but pleased too. I’ve always been a massive fan of cats and kittens, but I much prefer cats. Kittens are hard work!
Mick and I had the fortune of heading to Siem Reap recently for a training session and we were lucky enough to get to visit a couple of temples at Angkor Wat. Last time we came here, our friend Thea (from the awesome Why Because Science blog) distracted us with red wine and cheese just when we were due to leave Chiang Mai for our holiday and we managed to leave our cameras at home and nearly missed our bus as a result! Read More
We Love Soup
Noodles, yum noodles! There are many great places to eat in Phnom Penh serving everything from up-market Asian fusion to hearty German dishes to spicy Thai and of course all the Khmer food. But sometimes you find a spot that just serves exactly what you are craving. Mick and I believe that this shop has the best noodle soup (for breakfast) in Phnom Penh (read: within walking distance from our house). Not only do they serve great noodle soups, but they have a winner barista (read: coffee guy) who makes a pretty rocking Khmer coffee (i.e strong iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk).
When Mick and I were coming to Cambodia, I was certain, absolutely certain that there would be NO CAT for us here. After the tragedy of Bamboo passing away in Chiang Mai, I didn’t want to deal with the heartbreak of having a cat, loving it and then losing it or having to leave it behind. I was determined to not have a cat…odd for me, but I felt it was the right decision.
And then Asukasa came along.
Our good friend from Sydney, Jimmy Dau, has set off on a year-long (or perhaps longer??? What do you think Jimmy???) adventure to Central and South America and is blogging all about it. He has been posting about some pretty amazing experiences including treks, dives and general exploring in Mexico and beyond. His posts do little to make me want to sit pretty and get stuck into work!
This is not like home
Expat lyf yo.
It ain’t always easy despite what the glossy brochures and blogs will tell you. There are pressures of work, relationships, home and family combined with a new country, the challenges of working in a different environment, cultural and food differences and homesickness. Some days are awesome and you think you are really lucky to be doing something somewhere exotic, other times the frustrations of working with people from a different culture and language group just get to you.
Dessert Lady cuts a fine figure
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.
Who needs a tuk tuk?
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.