Monday, May 26, 2008

Rainy season is here!

It was so hot in March and April, but this month its been cool and rainy. I'd forgotton how muddy the market is, and how hard it is to ride a bike when you can't see the potholes.

Remember what I wrote last October? (Click here.) And the photos I took after a storm. Its like that again! Ok, well not everyday is like that, but a few weeks ago we had a big storm. Even though I closed all our doors and windows the rain still came in! And out house is a few metres off the ground.

A day in the life of a Bible School Student

5:30am Wake up: read Bible, clean girls toilets near classrooms (she gets paid by school to do this each morning), clean dorm, shower, dress. All the students in Cambodian schools/colleges/universities wear a white shirt and navy skirt/pants.

7:00am Breakfast. Rice with either fried pork or egg and a carrot and cucumber salad.

7:30-9:30am Class

9:30am Chapel or prayer groups depending on day of the week

10:00am Break

10:20-12:15 Class

12:15pm Lunch. Rice with either soup, stir fry or fried fish.

After lunch: Students who don’t live in campus go home either before or after lunch , students who do usually go to their dorm for an afternoon rest.

Afternoon: Extra classes like ag and English are in the afternoons. Often students wash their clothes (by hand- no washing machines in dorms). Sometimes they have other activities to do like cleaning/gardening the school- like SMBC duties.

6:00pm ish Dinner time. Same type of food as lunch.

7:30pm On campus students have Quiet time (individual prayer and Bible reading) or evening chapel depending on day of week

8:00- 10:00pm On campus students go to the library and do their homework.
Then bedtime!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Explore Cambodia (on the web)

Instead of putting links in the side bar I'm putting them here, but if you want to find them in the future look under topics (labels) in side bar and go to "Links". Let me know if these don't work.

News/Current Affairs sites- Find out what's happening in Cambodia

Asia Observer, Everyday ,Phnom Penh Post (this is a twice monthly paper we read)
South Eastern Globe (a monthly magazine, only a year old,we entered the photo competition as you'll see if you download this months)

Sensitive information about Cambodia (another version of the news) also has links to other news sites. The Mirror "Mirroring the Khmer language press - with regular editorial comment "

About Cambodia

Cambodian Information Center and the CIA factbook

Visiting Cambodia?

Sustainable tourism
Embassy of Cambodia in Australia and Embassy of Australia in Cambodia
Smart traveller
There are heaps of tourist guides click here for Pocket Guide or here for the Canby one. These and many others have free hard copies you can get at lots of cafes etc. See also the Cambodian Goverment Tourism site.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Korean" Class

Well, actually it was Khmer language class but there were lots of Koreans in it! Also Malaysian, American, Singaporean, Hong Kongian (sp?), Vietnamese, Canadian, Japanese, Indonesian, and Swiss people were my classmates in the 9 months that I studied at a university in Phnom Penh.
Here you can see the group I studied with for the first term.

And here is the faithful remnant, well, those of us who are still here anyway. We recently had lunch together at a Chinese restaurant. I was excited because the food you can see us eating here was the same food that I ate when I lived in China. Most Chinese food I’ve eaten outside China is different to the food to I ate in China. I guess the owner or chef is from North China.
It was also fun to show off my husband; oh I mean introduce them to Kimsoeun. As we are all learning Khmer he is the expert!

And this photo is from our second day of class. Our teacher (kru) is writing the first few letters of the alphabet on the board. To the left you can see a poster with the whole alphabet on it.
If you want to have a look at all the letters and vowels click here and scroll down a bit.

My Breakfast Revolution

(My Asian breakfast experience so far.)
My first ever morning in China we were taken out for breakfast (by an American). Normally breakfast is my favourite meal; in fact I’ve been known to eat breakfast food all day long. Cereal, toast, pancakes etc. However, this first breakfast in China was NOT my favourite. I remember feeling like there was nothing to eat. We each had a bowl of warm soymilk and some “oil sticks” as our American friend called them. They were kind of a deep fried bread stick, like a straight donut without sugar. Cold pickled veggies were also on offer.

There weren’t many foreigners living in the town, which meant there weren’t many foreign products on sale. What was I supposed to eat for breakfast if I couldn’t buy breakfast cereal or “normal” bread? There were loaves of bread for sale, but they were yellow and sweet. A fellow foreigner made muesli/granola in her oven for me, which was nice. Although as I was used to enjoying ‘real” milk in Australia it was hard to get used to the UHT milk (still prefer homogenised pasteurised).

Mostly I ate breakfast at home by myself so I could eat “my” food- pancakes, eggs and bread-like food (although no toaster, and there was only one shop that sold butter, and if they ran out you had to wait until they went to Beijing next.)

At Chinese New Year (Spring Festival it’s called, although it’s defiantly not spring weather at minus 16 deg C!) I stayed with a family for a few days. The night before the first day of the year we ate dumplings (the type that are called jiaozi) and that’s what we ate for breakfast the next day too. If found it really strange to be eating “dinner food” for breakfast. I think I’ve eaten pizza for breakfast in Oz but I wouldn’t call it breakfast.

We also ate the dumplings for lunch and dinner too! I was dumplinged out!

The next few days for breakfast we ate “Western breakfast” as my Chinese friend called it. A cup of milk and some biscuits/cookies (like at morning tea at church). It felt a bit naughty to be eating snack food for breakfast but I like it better than eating “dinner food”.

Anyway, so since that first breakfast in China I decided I don’t like Asian breakfast.

What do Cambodians eat for breakfast? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my in laws eat breakfast. By the time I get up they have already been up for ages.

In Phnom Penh there are heaps of supermarkets selling foreign food- including butter, breakfast cereals and lots of varieties of “normal” bread. And we have a toaster oven! (Thanks Tonette). So I’ve been able to happily eat “my” food for breakfast. (Although still getting used to powdered or UHT milk. You can actually buy “proper” milk here, we’ve bought it a few times, but it cost more. A yummy treat.)

However, lately, I’ve been going to breakfast with the students here at Bible school. So now I’m getting used to eating rice and pork for breakfast, with cucumbers and carrots. It fills me up more than 4 pieces of brown toast, although I could live without the garlic aftertaste.

The eating area is outside (sort of, has a roof has but no walls) Seven in the morning is a nice time to be outside, it’s not hot yet.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The guessed photo

Thanks everyone who guessed. (Click here to see the photo.)

What else is on the road in this photo?

Photo guesses:

Looks like a marquee of some sort. Is it some markets? If it is, there's not too many people around.

Ashfelt, and Is it a wedding? in which case there may be music to go with the picture

a Cambodian massage parlour
A Cambodian motel

School Animal stable Stalls Sweatshop Massage shop

I think the thing on the road is a marquee for a funeral. or maybe a wedding. That's what they had on a road in Thailand.

guess 1 - restaurants/ eateries
guess 2 - shops or something like that

guess 3 - toilets???

It is a wedding! People set up marquee in the middle of the road and the traffic just has to cope with it. This is also done for funerals and other gatherings. In these photos you can see the tables and chairs being set up.

When you arrive at the wedding meal you sit at one of these tables. When your table is full they will start bring food. If you don’t have enough people you won’t get served!

I usually go to a wedding thinking it will be a good time to practice my listening and speaking skills (in Khmer language). But usually the music is too loud.

It's so colourful- people wear brightly coloured clothes. And there is often silly string involved.

Girls get really dressed up to go to weddings, they might get their hair done at the hairdresser, paint their nails and wear full make up. I’m talking glitter, false eye lashes and everything!

This morning I was woken up by a wedding, not an unusual occurrence. The music and monk’s chanting is so loud. Where I used to live they kept the noise between 6.30am and 9pm. But in the part of town I live in now the noise can be going all night! I’m just hoping the wedding I can hear today is a one day event, not a three day one!

Want to know more about Khmer weddings? For more photos and stuff try clicking here, or here
or here.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Meet some other people

I just started reading a blog of another Aussie who lives in Cambodia. She lives in a remote area. If you want to read click here: Maaike Prins. Some other websites of people we know in Cambodia include :
Axel (you'll only be able to read it if you know Danish)
Paul (you'll only be able to read it if you know "American")

Also some Cambodians- they write in English!
Thouen and Sithuon and Lysom

And some other friends...(not in Cambodia- they also write in English)
Ang, Bec, Debbie, Bern, Jaime, Prilz, Jacqui, and Mum

Monday, May 05, 2008

Kids get no breakfast

I'm trying to restrain myself and not put a link to everything I read about what's happening here these days, but here is just one more article :Kids get no free breakfast

And one more : BBC: How to solve the global food crisis. An interesting article, and people can comment at the bottom of it- there are interesting comments!

Cooking gas!

My mother in law now has cooking gas! For awhile (a few weeks I think) she didn't have any and so was cooking outside using charcoal. Cambodia used to buy gas from a near by country but around the same time we stopped exporting rice, they stopped selling us gas. The price of gas in Phnom Penh seemed to double overnight, and in the province where she lives they ran out altogether. I think now we are buying it from another country, which is further away. So gas prices are down a bit , but still more than the original price.

If you want to see all the blog post I've written on this whole inflation thing, click on Economy.

Books and blood

This morning my language helper read me a story. It was from a school book for kids in year 1. I thought it was going to be a nice happy kids story, but it was about a father going off to war. He then ended up in hospital covered in blood, and then finally died. His wife and kids cried a lot.

This year I've been trying to not only learn Khmer language but also spend sometime reading the history of Cambodia. Its full of conflict and injustice and blood and war. I have to be careful I don't read it too close to bed time, other wise I have nightmares.

Today I was talking to a Cambodian who was about three years old when Khmer Rouge time started. (Click here to see what I wrote about it last month.) He said he likes watching action movies with lots of blood. He couldn't quite explain why, but something to do with it reminding him of his childhood.

The cinema in town seems to be always advertising horror movies- I almost get nightmares just looking at the adds! Kimsoeun also likes movies which I find way too violent and scary.

Happy Birthday Mum!

I usually post a photo for birthdays but as I just put up heaps of photos I'll give you a Khmer story instead!

A rabbit went to a village. It saw an old lady carrying bananas on her head to sell. The rabbit wanted to eat the bananas. It thought, “ How will I get the bananas? I think I will lie in the middle of the road and pretend to be dead.” The old lady with the bananas on her head walked along the road. The old lady saw the rabbit and thought, “ It is surely dead.” She took the rabbit and put it in her basket and kept walking. The old lady thought, “ Today I will eat rabbit meat.” As the lady walked along the road the rabbit ate all the bananas. When the old lady got to her house she took the basket off her head. The rabbit jumped away very quickly. The old lady looked in the basket, all she could see was banana skin.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Guess the photo

In this photo you can see a road, with a lady riding a bike. What else is on the road? Please email me your guesses! And they must be guesses, if you know what it is you can't enter this guessing comp.... Silly and serious guesses most welcome.

Market shopping photos

Dried fish, live fish, veggies, fruit and more! Photos by Angelato

Picnic in a province