Wednesday, January 31, 2018

oNe PhOtO a DaY jAnUaRy 2017


MONDAY 1st I AM HERE: in Kep National Park -Bopha Prasidh enjoying the splendour of nature and the relatively cool weather. Making the most of the free time and beginning 2018 doing the things we love together

TUESDAY 2nd YELLOW: One yellow prayer flag from Bhutan flying in the living room in Kep

WEDNESDAY 3rd ON THE FLOOR: of the ocean at Rabbit Island. Our first swim in the Gulf of Thailand after hiking and a good deal of scrub bashing around the island

THURSDAY 4th PLAIN: Artisan baguettes from the French bakery - simple, plain, delicious food. I always say we have the French to thank for good coffee and good bread in Asia

FRIDAY 5th STACKED: The fresh limes from the market this morning stacked in a favourite ‘bungchu’ from Bhutan, with the last yellow passion fruit from the vine in our yard on top

SATURDAY 6th HAPPY PLACE: Wherever you can hear the sound of the ocean and see blue skies is a happy place for me

SUNDAY 7th LIGHT: The late afternoon light on the ocean in Kep Bay

MONDAY 8th SPLENDID: To a vegetarian nothing is quite so splendid as a haul of fresh produce from the market. Plenty of colours and textures to ensure we eat a rainbow for lunch today

TUESDAY 9th EVERYDAY MOMENTS: This scene of village kids frantically calling “hello” and waving as we cycle by is an everyday moment that I never tire of. No matter where we go or how many times the kids have seen us before the response is always enthusiastic waving and calling and if we respond, as we always do, there is a ninety percent chance it will result in giggles and laughter all round. We were on a track we had never been on before when this happened today so these particular kids had never seen us before and were a little startled when I stopped to take this shot but they stood their ground and continued confidently with their usual behaviour. Adorable!!

WEDNESDAY 10th I LIKE THIS: Making our lunches from fresh local ingredients on the two days a week when we are going off to volunteer at Kep Gardens and I like it even better when lunch time arrives and we get to eat it

THURSDAY 11th ME:  Learning to accept just being me- no makeup, no agenda just plain ole me. At the end of a full day; visiting the market, practising mindfulness and mediation, teaching the young monks and swimming I feel grateful for having the time to do the things I love to do including relaxing over a beer at a local bar. Life in the slow lane in Kep

FRIDAY 12th SWEET: My first ever attempt at making muffins this morning, was a trial to see if this would be a suitable sweet treat to take to the little monks we teach. Luckily they were fresh out of the oven when the Immigration Police arrived to fill in some paperwork about foreign residents in Kep, they got a sweet treat once the business was accomplished. Always good to stay in sweet with the police

SATURDAY 13th FLORAL:  A still life with a floral “furushiki” or wrapping cloth. Anyone who has spent time in Japan knows these versatile cloths can be tied to carry anything in including bottles of wine to take to parties. Great system as you can just pocket the folded cloth on arrival. I’m not one for pinks or floral but this piece of recycled silk sari has been repurposed as a furushiki. It is one of six I recently purchased to ecologically wrap gifts.  One other pink floral one already has a new home and this will be the next to go

SUNDAY 14th FACELESS PORTRAIT: with a Peruvian Panama or is that an oxymoron?

MONDAY 15th NEW: This morning’s little project to create some new flash cards to assist the monks to understand plurals and answer “How many....?” questions correctly. Not being an artist colouring in photocopies was the best I could manage

TUESDAY 16th WALL: The abandoned colonial residences are something of an attraction here in Kep and this one with absolute beach frontage has an artistic feature wall. Many feature art and few will ever be restored to their former grandeur so invite the artists in an make them more appealing I say

WEDNESDAY 17th THOUGHTFUL: The most recent project at Kep Gardens was to put up bird feeders in many of the trees. I’m sure the birds will appreciate this thoughtful gesture when the cooler weather ends and the blistering heat returns

THURSDAY 18th COOL: We think it is pretty cool that we can cool off in this pool anytime we choose and most times it’s completely empty at twilight when we most like to be there

FRIDAY 19th PAPER: We print hundreds of homemade paper resources for our sessions with the little monks. Yesterday’s letter was “S” and it seems Gam is slowly transforming it into something that more closely resembles the Cambodian script, which he also doesn’t write BTW

SATURDAY 20th REFLECTION: The reflection of the clouds in the pool late this afternoon

SUNDAY 21st DAY OFF: Plenty of time to cycle to the beach and sit and contemplate the world while staring into the ocean on this day off

MONDAY 22nd SCENIC: sunset over Kep’s iconic crab

TUESDAY 23rd YUM: is the perfect description for these delicious pyramids of sticky rice filled with fresh coconut. These are available in the Kep market if you get there early enough. They are just one of the many cheap, nutritious and delicious Khmer foods made daily from local ingredients

WEDNESDAY 24th BEGINS WITH S: Shell begins with S and this one has a near perfect yin-yang symbol at the tip. I found it when beach-combing on Rabbit Island recently

THURSDAY 25th MY MORNING VIEW: often includes this coastal view of Kep. This morning the Mackerel sky and light playing on the water created a shimmering scene

FRIDAY 26th THANK YOU FOR: the opportunity to interact and engage with these beautiful little souls. Though they can try our patience at times, they bring meaning and joy to our lives. Also thank you to Cambodia for the visa that allows us to live here and contribute a little

SATURDAY 27th IN THE NIGHT: as in during the day if we are at home then the front door is open. “Our doors are always open, drop in anytime!”  The outside lights are also always on, if it’s dark, when we are home as is the Khmer way

SUNDAY 28th TEXT: This simple text has a message to be mindful.  As travellers our curiosity and desire to help can sometimes not be in the best interest of the local community. It impresses me that Cambodia is committed to child protection and these signs and messages are prominently displayed in many tourist locations and on tuk-tuks

MONDAY 29th MAGIC: We had a magical day on a boat trip and wandering along the boardwalk getting up close and personal with the mangroves in Kampot on Saturday, so I bring you a little mangrove magic

TUESDAY 30th SECRET: It’s no secret that I love teaching these little guys as we did today, but I do wonder what secret thoughts, dreams, aspirations and desires run through their heads

WEDNESDAY 31st LESS IS MORE: Today’s lunchboxes of love- less rice and fewer chillies means more vegetable salad for me

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 the year of FIRSTS:

Back in January 2017 in Sri in Lanka I wrote this in my travel Diary. “As Lisa pointed out this should be the year of firsts according to numerology and literally for us!! 2016 was a 9 for endings and completions while 2017 is a 1 and a year of new beginnings. Positive new outlooks and beginnings and doing it our way will keep us happy and focused. "The year of firsts" is the new mantra for me.”

Not being one for doing things in half measures I also kept a record of the FIRSTS as the year progressed. So here they are – all 48 of them. Posting this almost a year to the day since the first ‘first’ was entered.

First time to fly with excess luggage and pay but only a minimum

First trip to Sri Lanka

15-1-17 First swim in the Indian Ocean's warm and clear water instead of freezing water from Antarctica.

First sighting of these beautiful flowers and the tree they grow in on the beach in Mirissa

Barringtonia Asiaitica

First time to try to sell possessions on the Internet and conduct a garage sale

My first Airbnb booking albeit with a couple of errors.  I will get better at this

First time since I qualified that a year has started without me thinking about the school I'm going to teach in and I only just realized it today

First time someone has thrown a surprise birthday party for me (in Melbourne and attended by people I hardly know and in some cases don't know)

First time to fly over the Arctic ice cap and see the huge cracks in the ice, the pale pink glow of sunrise and an orange rising moon from the plane

8-3 -2017
First time to go out hiking in America

 First time since I've known about International Women's Day NOT to celebrate with women friends and colleagues, just Ian and Anthony

 First time to view Manhattan from the New Trade Centre Towers

First time for Ian and I to go out to a cocktail bar alone and not just any cocktail bar at that - Flatiron Lounge

 First time to get a Seniors Priced ticket at the American Museum of Natural History. Thanks guys saved five dollars and love the dioramas

 First time to complete a self guided walking tour with an app

 First time to ride a Greyhound bus

8-4 -2017
First time in Toronto and Canada

8-4 -2017
First time to stay in Air BnB (Hosted)

 First time to see both the American and Canadian Niagara Falls

 First time to enter the US by land

21-4 -2017
First time to pay for a professional shoeshine in a street stall.

 First visit to Machu Picchu

 First sighting of Lake Titicaca the world's highest navigable lake at 3,8000 meters

 First trip to Bolivia

 First time to see Flamingoes in the wild wading at alpine lakes

 First sightings of condors in the wild at Colca Canyon

 First time to stay at someone's home when they weren't there. Thanks McKenny!

 First time to fly Qatar Airlines

 First visit to Kep

 First time to get a long-term Visa (retirement/ volunteers/ business) issued

 First time swimming in Masion de Yaya's private pool in opulent garden surroundings

 First supply-run to Kampot from Kep on the local bus

 First one year renewal of our E-Business visa via an agent in Kep

 First purchase of jaggery

First parcel delivery to us from Australia. Nice

First time to move house by bicycle

First time to celebrate Pchum Ben (like festival of the hungry ghosts) in Cambodia. We visited a monastery and agreed to volunteer teach the monks and village children there starting in Nov

 First time to enter Cambodia as a resident

 First time to have a dentist appointment in a foreign country

First time to return to Kep thinking we were coming home

First time to make eda mame from fresh green soy beans since leaving Japan

31-10 -2017
First time to ride pillion on a motor cycle with anyone except Ian riding and it was at night

 First time teaching monks and with no common language

 First time to eat Khmer crepes - egg crepes filled with bean sprouts and served with lettuce, herbs and cucumber and a vinegar sauce

 First visit to a Cambodian hospital - Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital is a quality place and the diagnosis wasn’t even as bad as I feared. Unfortunate name for a hospital however

 First visitor from abroad to come and stay with us in Kep. Welcome Becky Story

 First visit to a pepper plantation in Cambodia.  La Plantation was fabulous with an informative introduction and excellent walk through the fruit trees and pepper vines

22-12-17. First Hike through Kep National Park

 Maybe 2018 is not the year of firsts but I hope the adventures and challenges continue to enrich our lives