Thursday, March 1, 2018

oNe PhOtO a fEbRuArY 2018


THURSDAY 1st TODAY IS...: the end of an era. I lost a sliver charm of the Chinese character fu- “, which I have worn in my ear for almost 30 years. To stop myself thinking about it, I decided to think of 100 things over that period of time that I am grateful for while swimming laps this afternoon. Now we are home and I have hung this “Om” in its place in the sleeper. So today is also the beginning of an era. I hope I get to wear this one for just as long if not longer than the last

FRIDAY 2nd PLAY: We had a play-day in Kampot today and along with household goods and supplies and a few essentials and treats for us, we stocked up with treats, stationery and playthings for our little monks. This is just a small selection of the bootie

SATURDAY 3rd SMELL: The delicious smell of Chinese food currently fills the house. Inspired by purchases of ingredients we found in the market in Kampot yesterday I started by making Lotus Root Salad first this morning and continued with a dish I call Beijing Salad. It’s made from cooked tofu skins and will have raw veggies added when it cools. Because of the smells, I’m now hungry even though we almost never eat lunch

SUNDAY 4th YES: Today we said yes to spending Sunday morning making resources to teach our little monks. When you don’t work full time it’s not so onerous to give up part of the weekends

MONDAY 5th THREE: delicious pieces of the Vegan chocolate cake (with a texture more like brownies!!) which I donated to our neighbour honouring my vow to give away half of everything I bake. It was a real treat too

TUESDAY 6th SKYLINE: At sunset near the crab market in Kep today the skyline was awash with pink and the sun was a luminous red ball

WEDNESDAY 7th DOORWAY: The Khmer style back entrance doorway to the first hotel we ever stayed in, in Kep. I don’t think it is ever used but its atmosphere of former grandeur evokes Angkor Wat and romantic nostalgia. It was here that we fell in love with the location and decided to live in this lovely seaside town

THURSDAY 8th BEAUTIFUL:  It’s rare to have cut flowers in the house here but when I saw these beautiful lotus blooms in the market this morning, I couldn’t resist them. I know they are meant for altar offerings but they do look beautiful in our living room

FRIDAY 9th PINK: This is the inside of the beautiful lotus blooms I purchased and posted yesterday. They have opened up like delicate balloons now and I am hoping to dry the seedpods inside

SATURDAY 10th ON THE TABLE: The results of this morning’s baking are now on the table! Shortbread with walnuts, known as Russian Teacakes. I haven’t made this original recipe since leaving Australia as I usually adapt it to contain cashews or chocolate chips as they are more readily available

SUNDAY 11th BEGINS WITH T: Due to this prompt we rode our bike out for a bit of local temple and exploring today. There is still plenty for us to discover in Kep

MONDAY 12th MY INSPIRATION: comes from beautiful words that speak to my heart, the friends and family who support and encourage me, the many children and young people I have had the privilege to teach and learn from, the travel experiences that have forever expanded my perception of the world and the astounding beauty and ever changing face of nature

TUESDAY 13th BRIGHT: I’m not sure what the specific use of this bright shining ornament in the monastery is, but I’m pretty sure it is not what Gam is using it for. That guilty expression is a dead give away

WEDNESDAY 14th I LOVE: Ian; as simple as that - the love of my life

THURSDAY 15th BLACK & WHITE: Monochrome has always been a favourite dress style of mine and these are the last two clothing purchases I made in Kampot, against a background of the one remaining Kira from Bhutan, I still have in my possession

FRIDAY 16TH TRAVEL: My biggest addiction is travel and we have always celebrated every birthday and significant life event and anniversary by travelling somewhere new, but with deep concern for the environment, I sold my last car in 1989 and its is the humble bicycle that fulfils our daily travel needs.  This second-hand Japanese ‘shopping’ bike was one of our first purchases in Phnom Penh and it serves me well with its adapted local basket for carrying the marketing and teaching resources. Ian has a near identical one and they represent the best $100 we spent last year. We average 15-20 kilometres a day and sometimes just get on the bikes and take a spin at twilight because we can and because there is nothing quiet like the wind in your hair and a good 'coddiwomple'

SATURDAY 17th IN THE DETAILS: I think creating delicious food is all in the details. These are the ingredients for one of the two fillings for the dumplings we made for a Chinese New Year celebration today

SUNDAY 18th STRIPES: since this weekend has largely been spent in the kitchen what came to mind is the delicate stripes of the pattern in one of our Japanese recycle shop plates

MONDAY 19th BENEATH MY FEET: This prompt made me start to think about the many surfaces beneath my feet on a regular basis and how much of the time I’m barefoot. This is a snap shot of the dozen or so that featured today

TUESDAY 20th TIME: We are at Kep Garden School today and our day, like the kid’s day is divided into playtime, lunchtime, class time and home time

WEDNESDAY 21st TWIRL: Spaghetti for dinner and twirled around chopsticks. Very few meals are not consumed with chopsticks in this house

THURSDAY 22nd LITTLE: Grateful to have these little guys in our lives

FRIDAY 23rd DEPTH OF FIELD: A custard apple growing in the magnificent garden at Maison de Yaya where we swim

SATURDAY 24th ARCHITECTURE: There are many formerly grand colonial residences now in ruins scattered around Kep but the architecture of this particular one intrigues me. I wonder was it a school, offices or a community centre..

SUNDAY 25th MY FACE: reflected in the mirror in our bedroom. It’s rare for me to wear makeup these days. I snapped this shot just before leaving home for an equally rare Saturday night out in Kep last night

MONDAY 26th NEED/ WANT: This prompt has had me feeling blessed all day. We are fortunate to lead simple lives and be able to afford almost everything we want. I need coffee to start the day, but want for nothing. I was inspired today to pack a picnic lunch and cycle to the end of the coastal road where the mangroves meet the road in a dead end. We need to appreciate all we have and want less

TUESDAY 27th SOMETHING OLD: and very beautiful is the Banyan Tree which stands in front of the Kep Secondary School almost directly opposite our home

WEDNESDAY 28th STREET: The main coastal street in Kep is quiet and tranquil on a Wednesday morning but come the weekend or any public holiday, the beach teems with swimmers and sunbathers, the shady spots under the trees are packed with crab eating picnickers and the road is crammed with motorcycle vendors wending their way through near standstill traffic and double parked vehicles. I know I prefer our quiet, contemplative midweek beachside cycling along this street

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

oNe PhOtO a DaY jAnUaRy 2018


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