Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Cambodia - Being Khmer (Jamie)

So this post is going to involve pictures and stories from various parts of the holiday where we felt most Khmer. That is unless it is something which ties in with a different post.

Now Mum, & Mother In-Law...I have a confession to make. On holiday, we may of, well, learnt to drive a moped, or as the locals call it, a Moto!

About 90% of the traffic is on a Moto in Cambodia and they drive them very close to each other, you will be pleased to hear that we only drove on quiet roads! 

Greg and Jane's house mate, Chett took me through the basics...

Then he drove me round a little...

Then he let me drive him...

Then I went round the block on my own...

And then, (this is where the Mother In-Law thing comes in) Emily let me drive her round the block!
Chett is a very good teacher!

Greg, of course is now a pro and often drives himself and Jane around.

The next experience I wanted to share with you is a food one. This dish below is called "Cow Climbs the Mountain". The idea is the beef fries on top of the mountain shaped pan and the fat drizzles down and fries the vegetables at the base of the pan.
This was a eat as you cook experience master-minded by Tavee (Chett's girl friend). Tavee, Chett and Ann (Ann is also Greg and Jane's house mate) are lovely people and it was great to get to know them over the holiday. We hope to see them again!

The next pictures are just small things that we think of when we think of Cambodia. This little lizard is called a "Jin-Jok", they are great things mostly because they eat mosquitoes so that they cant eat you!

This is a picture of Greg and I looking very happy in a Tuk-Tuk. We didnt take a picture of a Tuk-Tuk from the outside but I am sure you can "Google it". It is basically a Moto with an open sided cart on the back which we used like a taxi whilst we were there. Great way of getting around and seeing things as you go. Another one of Greg and Jane's friends Peerah drove us around a lot at a reduced rate to raise money for him to go to university.

This my friends is a coconut, you cant see from the picture but it is literally bigger than my head. HUGE, very tasty, refreshing and available at most cafes and markets.

We saw a few of these signs around, we didn't see anyone spitting either...maybe because of the signs...

The Khmer love to do ornate carvings into fruit, veg, anything they can get their hands on. This was a carving into a water-melon at a restaurant we went to in Phnom Penh. Very impressive

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this short whip-around of what it is to be Khmer. There are obviously many things we have missed out, you will just have to visit to see them all!

Monday, 28 January 2013

There's no fun like snow fun!

There is no business like snow business! 
On Saturday, Jamie and I decided to embrace the snow and prove that adults can and do sledge for fun.
 All week on my way home from work I saw people sledging down a hill, just off the road, so we headed there and it did not disappoint!

 I was much better than Jamie, what can I say, I must be a natural.

Sledging made for a great date : )

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cambodia 4 - Phnom Penh

Everywhere in Phnom Penh was busy- People use every bit of space available to them.
The Markets are bustling, hot, hives of activity- filled to the rafters with the sellers wares.

The Roads are rammed full with Mopeds, tuk tuks and more recently cars.
Phnom Penh like all cities has the rough bits and the neighbourhoods that  people avoid. 
It also has - like all good capital cities - a palace
The day we visited the palace was very hot. We weren't allowed acess to the whole palace because the King Father died a few months ago and is now lyingin state inthe main part of the palace.
 The whole of Cambodia is in mourning- he was a well loved king.
Soon he will be cremated in this impressive funeral pyre made completely from wood, paper and gold leaf.
We were allowed in to the grounds of the palace though.
 The architecture was so foreign to me that it was hard to grasp,
 but I could understand a topiary teapot,
  a pretty flower,
 And the scale model of Ankor Wat
I know Greg will roll his eyes, but I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar in legoland...

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Cambodia 3 - Khmer Rouge (Jamie)

The first thing to say about this post is there are some details that I am going to go into which will not be pleasant reading. Whilst in Cambodia we visited two sites which were origionally set up by the Khmer Rouge. This was not a fun day but we felt it was important to help us understand the country and it's people, the following happened in the 70s (shockingly recent given that most people in the west have never heard of it). These are details of a mass genocide, please feel free to read on but we will not be offended if this is not for you...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Cambodia 2 - Arriving and Christmas

We did so much whilst we were in Cambodia, I decided that it would be a good idea to do a series of posts rather than overloading one post with photos and information. Jamie has offered to write some of the Cambodia posts, which is great for a two reasons... You will get a more rounded view of our trip if we both tell you about it (don't worry we will try not to do repeats!) and it means I have to do less (always good;))

Anyway this is the second post in the series...

We flew in to Phnom Penh airport just before midnight on the 23rd December. Jane, Greg, Chett -one of their house mates and Peerah their friend who kindly drove the tuk tuk to pick us up , met us off the plane. 
We stayed up late chattinf and planning for our trip. 
The next day we hit the ground running.

For me the first couple of days were a bit of a blur, we were jet lagged, hot and were being constantly surprised by Cambodia and the Khmer people.
 Culture shock is definitely a thing. 
We both helped teach an English lesson at the Centre where Jane and Greg work, we visited the local market (meat is not kept in fridges- the food hygiene course I completed a few weeks before made me a little wary, but I soon got over the smell, heat and flies)  

We tried our first Khmer meal sitting on the floor in Greg and Jane's kitchen with their house mates Chett and Arn, and Chett's girlfriend who cooked our meal - Tavi

 It was delicious!
We made friends with Jane and Greg's pet budgie- Nebo

 We opened our stockings, lovingly made by Jane, on Christmas Eve with Chett, Arn and Tavi.
I love this photo
 On Christmas day we got a tuk tuk into Phnom Penh and spent the day in a fancy hotel where we ate 'Christmas dinner' - no sprouts, or turkey, or Christmas pudding.  
I won't complain because we were hot and the pool was lovely!

It was very strange, palm trees were far more common then Christmas trees!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Back to reality and 30 before 30 update

We are back from our Adventure.
 It was brilliant. 
We learnt a lot about ourselves and Cambodia, we ate a lot of new and good food, experienced a completely different culture; and have arrived back with great memories, a little tanned, tired, happy and cold.

It will take a few posts to tell you about our trip as we managed to fit so much into three weeks, this was mainly down to having Jane and Greg as our guides, travelling companions and interpreters. 

I only managed to complete one of my 30 before 30 challenges. But I am going to count two...

The first and most obvious was no 10. Experiencing a completely different culture. Massive tick for this one! 

In Cambodia it is...
  • More important to "save face" then to tell the truth- this has proven a little difficult for Jane and Greg to get used to at times.
  • Rude to point the soles of your feet at someone.
  • Normal to chuck your rubbish in the river, ditch, lake, field etc...
  • Normal to see five people on a moped.
  • More likely for someone to have a TV then to have running water or a toilet.
  • Hard to buy beauty products without whitener in them.
  • Unusual to be stopped by a police man and not asked for a bribe.
  • expected that someone will haggle when buying anything.  
 The Second is No. 28 Watch the sunrise by the sea.
During our trip we the sunrise a lot, I got a few photos 

and I also paddled in the sea at dawn

 but I couldn't actually see the sunrise... what do you think? Can I claim it?