Saturday, June 21, 2014


Recently spent a few days visiting and learning about another town in Cambodia. This involved:

- eating a hamburger with a Khmer couple,
-some Cambodian curry with a Dutch/Aussie  family,
-cottage pie with a UK/Aussie (Chinese Malaysian) family
-as well as lots of coffee and bread with the Danish couple we stayed with. That was great for me but poor Soeun was starving so they brought in some white rice for him (they don't have any in their house).

Also had a visit from some of the extended family. As an Aussie I find the relationship titles on the Khmer side so amusing. For example with met a 3 year old boy who is our baby's "nephew" and our "grandchild".

Our baby enjoyed the company/ entertainment of the 4 half Aussie kids we spent time with, as well as his Cambodian nephew.

Our trip there was an adventure, one good thing was the TV was broken.

 When we got there we found that all the expats pretty much only go on the expensive safe bus which costs almost 3 times as much. I didn't realise there was such a difference, but we were happy to go back on a bus with brakes that worked, had 2 drivers on board, had leg room (no need to squash in sideways), suspension (bumps become kind of fun rather than painful), and it was really clean and they gave a water and a snack!! And the places they stopped had toilets with hand washing facilities and toilet paper which was a nice surprise, although the food was more expensive, some meals were $4.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A funeral

We were having breakfast just over a week ago and Soeun told me that one of our neighbours had either just died or was about too. He knew because he could hear the monks beginning to chant. He didn't know who or why but the whole neighbourhood knows when there is a death.

I find it weird that even though we may not know the family we know straight away that this is happening. Whereas Soeun finds it weird that we know nothing else about people who live less than 100 metres from us.

Later that day a huge tent was set up in the street with tables, and another tent outside our house for the kitchen. The noise of music, monks and cooking continued for a few days, often starting around 4 or 5am.

Soeun heard that it was a grandma who had died, and he heard the announcment about when they were taking the body to the place where they burn them. It just sounded like noise to me, constant clanging and babbling. Soeun spent his pre-school years with his grandpa who was a religious leader, he often went to death beds to chant, and Soeun went with him.

It was a relief to me when I saw a vehicle like this the one in the photo coming down our street. It was to take the body away and the 2 tents packed up on the same day. No more noise!
Photo thanks
Well.... no more noise until they set it all up again for the 7 day ceremony. The kitchen was right under our window, so we had fishy smells in our room, as well as early more putting-up- and - taking- down tent noise.

Similar things happen for weddings and one year old parties around here.

Saturday, June 07, 2014


I breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday.

7 of the previous 11 days we had workmen in our house, plus Soeun had been sick. It meant that some days we had to stay home when we had planned to go out, and some days go out when we had planned to stay home.  Most of our regular weekly activities went out the window, along with some one-off special things we were looking forward.

Some days we had to stay home and let in the workmen, who sometimes turned up on the day they said they would. Some days we had to go out as there was no where safe for the baby to play or because we felt it was wise to go to the doctor, with Soeun's headache getting worse each day. And mostly we didn't know ahead of time- the workmen would come unexpectedly or not turn up when we thought they would, and with Soeun health we kept thinking he might be getting better so no need to go to the doctor.

They fixed heaps of stuff that we had been waiting for ages to fix eg plumbing issues we noticed 6 months ago that would have been there the whole time. We are the first people to live in the house, its new, so its not like these leaks happened with the wear and tear of time, the shower drains were just never hooked together and sealed, so the shower water was seeping into walls and ceilings. Fixing that only took a day, but then they had to deal with the 18 months of water damage that had caused - sanding and painting.

Also the upstairs electricity has always had issues. It keeps turning itself off , I think thats a safety feature. We have had people into look at it before but the issues are ongoing, and these guys also couldn't find anything wrong with it. But then, because they were here for so long they got to see what happens when its on (I think one of them got an electric shock).

They also fixed a leaky toilet, that only took a few minutes, but the leaky roof ended up taking a few days.