Friday, September 29, 2017

oNe PhOtO a DaY SePtEmBeR 2017


FRIDAY 1st SOMETHING PINK: My least favourite colour so I'm going with this iridescent pink dragon fruit as the only something pink in the vicinity. Does anyone know if or how you can tell the internal colour of a dragon fruit before you cut it open?? I love the wow factor of the pink ones even though the white ones taste exactly the same

SATURDAY 2nd BREAKFAST: often looks like this on Sunday but thanks to PAD our weekly "Full Monty" breakfast arrived on Saturday. Homemade and Fusion cuisine- poached duck eggs on toasted baguette spread with chilli jam, red capsicum humus and Vegemite and fresh tomatoes on the side. Breakfast ala Kep

SUNDAY 3rd I MADE THIS...... : fusion dish tonight for dinner. It's a cross between sweet potato rosti and an omelette: a new invention meal with a twist. Not glamorous but spicy and delicious

MONDAY 4th ON THE ROAD: We saw this on the road right in front of our house today. It's the second time we have seen this team and I'm sure they must pull the last remaining bullock cart on the road in Kep. Beautiful docile beasts evoking a bygone pace of life

TUESDAY 5th GRASS: Just yesterday the grass surrounding the Bamboo House was meticulously cut and the edges trimmed. Perhaps it was in response to the many snakes we have recently spotted here. It certainly looks very neat now and any remaining snakes will be easily spotted, so a win-win

WEDNESDAY 6th BALL: These delicious little falafel balls were my lunch at Café Espresso in Kampot today. After a few hours stomping from market to furniture store to supermarket and second hand stores they were an absolutely delicious and necessary treat

THURSDAY 7th SURPRISE: A collection of small, homemade gifts to surprise our lovely Cambodian friend Chantou on her birthday today

FRIDAY 8TH THAT’S FUNNY: There are 10 ducks that live on the property adjoining ours. We can often hear the clack of the ducks’ beaks as they catch insects in the rice paddies surrounding the house without actually being able to see them. If we imitate their quacking all their heads pop up just like this one, who happens to be a loner. I think that’s funny Quack! Quack! Quack!

SATURDAY 9th SWEET: Homemade, sweet, roasted, red capsicum humus prepared from scratch today. Yum

SUNDAY 10th LUNCH: About once a week lunch looks exactly like this.  Cambodia is blessed with excellent coffee and patisseries due to its French colonial past. Locally baked baguettes have become a staple in our diets

MONDAY 11th SOLO: One speaker, one amplifier, one rider and one deafening sound advertising who knows what. Riding solo through the town and villages this man seems to enjoy his job

TUESDAY 12th EMOTIONAL: This little cutie pie is the granddaughter of our neighbours. It is often difficult to guess her emotional state but she rarely cries, sometimes squeals and is usually very excited to see us and exercise her two-word English vocabulary- "hello goodbye"

WEDNESDAY 13th SCENIC: Our regular bike rides often take us past scenic seaside views like this. Thanks to this prompt we stopped to take a shot today when returning from Kep Gardens Association

THURSDAY 14th MESS: The mess that's left after the sugar cane juice has been extracted. At least it's organic. It's the polystyrene food containers littering the streets and coastline that really need addressing. But that mess was just too ugly to photograph

FRIDAY 15th SPOON: An Asian style spoon suitable for noodle and soup dishes. We always seem to need a couple of these whenever we set up house again in Asia and that exactly what we are doing today. The lease on our new house begins today and it's all go with furniture arrivals and cleaning

SATURDAY 16th PLAYING TOURIST: Kep is still quite new to us having lived here less than 3 months so we regularly take shots of this beautiful location in order to appreciate the blessing that being able to live here is. Although we still haven't done all the tourist things because we hope to do them with friends and family when they visit, and we have been too wound up sorting visas, houses, and volunteering options. Nonetheless never a week goes by without us playing tourist and being mistaken for tourists. Torrential monsoon rain here at the moment so this is a shot taken a few days ago returning from swimming and grabbed by the sea views

SUNDAY 17th MY ADDICTION: would have to be coffee. I do not function in the mornings until black coffee has been consumed. I'm thankful to the French colonialists who left a legacy of coffee in Asia and the new entrepreneurs, who continue the tradition with innovation and style. Rumble fish in Kampot, is in a class of its own when it comes to roasting, brewing and packaging and we always have a supply on hand

MONDAY 18TH OUTTAKE: Having already posted a duck photo this month, this is my choice. I knew this one was an outtake immediately as the bougainvillaea photo bombed my shot at the exact moment this quartet of ducks were looking right at me.  I love their quirky ways and observed them often until they mysteriously disappeared a few days ago …….. We fear they have been rotisseried now so they are quite definitely outtakes and possibly someone’s take out dinner! (not ours we are vegetarian)

TUESDAY 19th OUT OF FOCUS: The homemade fermented chillies Ian made are completely out of focus because of the salt in the brine and the ridges and condensation on the glass jar they are stored in. BTW they are also way too hot for me. I'll stick to his chilli jam thanks

WEDNESDAY 20th DINNER: Last night's dinner actually. One of my fusion favourites- cold noodles, steamed and raw veggies, Thai basil, fried tofu and omelette strips with spicy peanut sauce. Take a bowl select your combination drench in peanut sauce and eat. Repeat, repeat, repeat

THURSDAY 21st BETWEEN: the Bamboo House where we are currently living and the modern Bungalow we have rented for the next 12 months lies this modern take on a traditional Khmer style house that we would love to build a copy of for ourselves one day. Located between the mountains and the sea facing the paddies it has the best of both worlds. That's us living somewhere between reality and dreams......

FRIDAY 22nd CARE: There are a great number of things I care deeply about.  I try to reflect that caring in my lifestyle choices and am committed to sustaining a healthy balanced and active life which respects and protects the environment and offers hands on assistance to those in need. I sold my last car in 1989 and have walked and / or cycled daily as a commitment to the environment ever since. I eat locally produced vegetarian food for my own good health and that of the planet. I support local grassroots charities and causes whenever possible. I am dedicated to a philosophy of kindness, gratitude and compassion, which is why volunteer teaching has brought me so much happiness in the past and present. I try to show how much I care by how I live

SATURDAY 23rd RULE OF THIRDS: First twilight run to the beach from the new residence. Living in the new 'School House' begins now...

SUNDAY 24th EVERYDAY ADVENTURES: We have now relocated to what I have dubbed the School House due to its proximity to the largest high school in Kep. Our new house is at the end of this laneway and it's an everyday adventure to get in or out if the turkeys and geese are ranging. I am in constant fear of them biting my legs as we whizz past on our bikes. The male turkey running in the background is the real aggressor but this shot is severely cropped because I was too scared to get close on foot and with good reason because seconds after I snapped it from a distance the two geese stated chasing me

MONDAY 25th CLEAN: The living space of our new home was spotlessly clean when we moved in two days ago. I can't exactly say it still is but it's tidy and when we get a mop I will endeavour to keep these very unforgiving floors as clean as they are in this photo

TUESDAY 26th SHAPE: That unmistakable shape of a coconut palm silhouetted against the beach sky at sunset

WEDNESDAY 27th BUBBLES: left behind on the sand and rocks as the waves retreat and the sea foam clings to the shore at Kep Beach

THURSDAY 28th TRASH: One person's trash is another's treasure. Today's purchase from the Japanese second-hand shop in Kampot is my latest treasure

FRIDAY 29th DESSERT: Although I love to bake, we are not really dessert kind of people unless we hold dinner parties. However today’s prompt inspired me to buy a tub of ice cream- something I have not done in living memory!! ....So instead of our usual mango smoothies mid-afternoon, we had mangoes and ice cream with peanuts as a dessert tonight. (Forgot to add the passion fruit as I panicked with the rapid melting going on in this tropical monsoon weather)

SATURDAY 30th SELFIE: That’s me warts and all. No makeup, no pretences, no second agendas, just my eager beaver face and a touch too much sun...

Thursday, August 31, 2017

oNe PhOtO a DaY AuGuST 2017

My month of trying to use the alphabetic and numeric prompts to showcase our local environment and Cambodia in general. As a new arrival this may be a little ambitious but here is my attempt.


TUESDAY 1st STARTS WITH A: For my month of showcasing Cambodia, you can't go past Angkor Wat. Cambodia’s prime attraction starts with A


THURSDAY 3rd STARTS WITH C: Kep's attractions focus on crabs- the giant crab in the bay, the crab market and ...... well, eating crabs by the seaside of course. Crab starts with C

FRIDAY 4th STARTS WITH D: Cambodia is endowed with a huge diversity of tropical fruit including durian but my choice is dragon fruit. This purchase for PAD in the market this morning cost less than 50c and was a great addition to our lunch

SATURDAY 5th STARTS WITH E: It would have to be elephant. This is a statue at one of the intersections on the main road in Kep. There is actually an abundance of statues along the road and it makes navigating and giving directions so much easier

SUNDAY 6th STARTS WITH F: Fishing boats full of fishermen on the water in Kep. Fish play a huge role in the local economy and diet and these boats are always visible in the bay

MONDAY 7th STARTS WITH G: Having just returned from the local market starts with "G" just has to be garden fresh greens. Over half our haul today was fresh greens including limes, kale, spring onions, knife blade coriander and broccoli

TUESDAY 8th STARTS WITH H: The houses of Kep; some beautifully restored, some dilapidated and in ruins, some concrete, practical designs for families, some holding on to former grandeur, some modern interpretations of traditional residences, some opulent and comfortable and one simple unique bamboo home in the paddies

WEDNESDAY 9th STARTS WITH I: In Cambodia a lot of vendors and households still rely on ice, not refrigerators, on a regular basis. The blocks of ice are sawed into the required size at point of sale. Dripping motorcycle-powered delivery carts ply a busy trade at all times of the day

THURSDAY 10th STARTS WITH J: Organic and unrefined palm sugar is also known as jaggery, which happens to start with J. It is painstakingly produced all over Cambodia's rural regions. Due to this prompt today I have now purchased these two styles- one syrupy and one powdered. The most common block style wasn't available locally. I'm now on the look out for recipes to use them in

FRIDAY 11th STARTS WITH K: For many places K is a difficult prompt but here in Cambodia the Khmer language, living in Kep and visiting Kampot easily come to mind but it is the ubiquitous Kramer that is the obvious choice. Locally made, often by women's cooperatives or empowerment to eradicate poverty initiatives these "scarves" are irresistible and so much more than a scarf. If you are interested in their many uses please read the link below which I wrote while travelling in Cambodia in 2013

SATURDAY 12th STARTS WITH L: The local limes in Kep are the best I've ever tasted. They are large, bright green and juicy: absolutely perfect for our digestive lime juice and water every morning and well this is the tropics so the evening tipple of GnT's wouldn't be kosher without a couple of slices and a squirt of juice

SUNDAY 13th STARTS WITH M: Orange clad monk is the obvious choice for the letter M

MONDAY 14th STATTS WITH N: The N prompt brings to mind another of the statues, which line the roads and especially the coastal strip in Kep. Another of our navigational landmarks the nymph; a nature goddess usually depicted as a beautiful maiden. She sits playing a lyre on the shorefront. I'm not sure what the Khmer Buddhists would call her but to me she is the nymph

TUESDAY 15th STARTS WITH O: The ocean. My go to place for calm and quiet and here especially on weekdays. Sometimes we just ride to the beach and stare at the ocean. This is Kep Bay looking out towards Rabbit Island with a backdrop of the Kep National Park. We see it almost daily but it is crowded and chaotic beyond belief on weekends

WEDNESDAY 16th STARTS WITH P: In this beachside location nothing adds to the glamor and resort feel more than palms. A coastline dotted with palms and summer, vacation and relax come immediately to mind. It is wet season so there is not much blue sky but coconut palms on the foreshore are very Kep

THURSDAY 17th STARTS WITH Q: Quintessential Cambodia from my perspective- the serenity of the monks, the lush tropical flowers made as offerings, the details in the temples of Angkor Wat and sunsets silhouetting palms over the Mekong River. Cambodia to a tee or in this case Q

FRIDAY 18th STARTS WITH R: Neighbouring Thailand calls them tuk tuks but the trailer pulled by a moto (as they call motorcycles here) is commonly known as a remork or remorque. They are everywhere and are popular with locals and tourists alike, to transport both themselves and goods. Whether it is a local run or farther afield. Although more expensive than the bus for a longer run, it is a pleasant well-ventilated and slower ride

SATURDAY 19th STARTS WITH S: Both Kampot and Kep are famous for their salt and pepper production. Opportunities to see the plantations abound but so far we have merely sampled the products and can highly recommend them. Kampot is perhaps more internationally renown and this is our current supply but we will surely try the local product next

Second choice would have to be Spirit House but I posted the one in our yard last month… I really do love them and so this is another shot of ‘our’ spirit house

SUNDAY 20th STARTS WITH T: Transplanting rice seedlings. Surrounded as we are with rice paddies, it's impossible not to notice the enormous amount of backbreaking work, which goes into this staple of Asia. It inspires us to appreciate all that we eat just a little bit more

MONDAY 21st STARTS WITH U: Ungulates are mammals with hooves and these beasts certainly qualify. We see them daily in fields and along the verges of the roads. We are not sure if they are a breed of cow or ox or something completely different but local farmers pride themselves in owning them as a form of wealth. They are never milked and seem to rarely be put to work but more commonly pampered and hand fed

TUESDAY 22nd STARTS WITH V: Today's visit to Sala (school) Monkey revealed a vibrant and viable learning environment and we hope there maybe scope for us in some capacity as volunteers in the future

WEDNESDAY 23rd STARTS WITH W: Wat is the Khmer equivalent to Buddhist temple. (just like Thai) This particular wat is just a few kilometres from our home and is called Wat Mony Ratanak Keo Krousang we just discovered. Not the best shot going, as after cycling there specifically in response to this prompt, we fled in a hurry having spotted a huge snake shedding its skin on the forecourt of the temple

THURSDAY 24th STARTS WITH X: Actually X marks the spot where the Kep Gardens Association, established by fellow Adelaidians, runs an educational centre offering English language development, technical trade skills, life skills, community support, agricultural skills, sponsorship for further education and so much more. We visited today to offer our services as volunteers and we were warmly welcomed and instantly felt a connection. Hoping to contribute to the individual reading programme in the near future

FRIDAY 25th STARTS WITH Y: Youth are the future of any nation and this talented group of young people showcased their talents, leadership skills and determination in the Kep Gardens Association Annual Concert last night. The balance between maintaining traditions and youthful exuberance for modernity was apparent. We left feeling optimistic about the future knowing young people like these are rising to the challenges their lives present with the assistance and guidance they receive

SATURDAY 26th STARTS WITH Z: That would be zingiber - commonly known as ginger but from the zingiberaceae family! One of the many distinct flavours which combine to create the base for Asian cuisine. Khmer dishes are no exception and this is a must have ingredient if you want to create an authentic flavour

SUNDAY 27th ONE: One small spirit house. No matter how big or small your business, office or home a spirit house is required. This simple one adorns the wall of a small local retailer

MONDAY 27th TWO: cold beers -Cambodia of Course!!!

TUESDAY 29th THREE: distinctly Cambodian handmade items I have bought since arriving. None of them were essential or necessary and all of them bring me great pleasure- a cane dish, a silk Kramer and lacquered chopsticks

WEDNESDAY 30th FOUR: monkeys in another of the many statues in Kep. This one is at a point where we never see monkeys but either side of it we regularly spot them. Unfortunately they are prone to raiding the garbage bins and creating a huge mess boldly foraging among the picnickers leftovers as well as openly stealing whenever possible 

THURSDAY 31st FIVE: of the stalls we frequent in the Kep Market