Wednesday, October 31, 2018

oNe PhOtO a DaY oCtObEr 2018


MONDAY 1st YELLOW: A perfect example of magnificently restored and renovated colonial architecture on the main drag in Kep and it’s available for rent. It always makes me contemplate the viability of “The Sacred Lotus Hotel” in the vein of “The Exotic Marigold Hotel”

TUESDAY 2nd PINK: It strikes me as something of an anomaly that the cover photo of this book is nuns in pink. As far as I know most Buddhist nuns wear white, maroon or saffron and only those in Myanmar don pink robes. Given the title it’s an odd choice but a wonderful image and read

WEDNESDAY 3rd BLUE: The wooden shutters of traditional Khmer houses are always blue but so few remain in the towns and cities anymore. I sought out this particular one as it’s the only remaining building that has shutters, I know of in Kep and unusually it has white highlights. Its decaying state suggests it too will soon be gone

THURSDAY 4th GREEN: The current vistas in Kep: The green of the rice crop in the foreground and the ever present green of the coconut palms in the back ground

FRIDAY 5th RED: Grenadine syrup is decidedly red and I sneaked behind the bar at our local to snap this shot. We’ve been left in charge for brief periods of time several times in the last couple of days as local dramas unfolded!!!!

SATURDAY 6th PURPLE: Until we lived in Kep I didn’t realise that passionfruit could be either yellow or purple skinned. Although it is mostly the yellow ones that grow here, I still prefer the purple variety

SUNDAY 7th ORANGE: I find it hard to resist clothes and accessories in orange. It is my go to colour. This is a simple flat lay of a small portion of the many orange items I own

MONDAY 8th AQUA: Early morning at beautiful Kep Beach, when it’s hard to discern which is more aqua the sky or the ocean. Maybe neither! Are they both sky blue? I struggle to identify this colour from other hues of blue and turquoise but it was a great start to the day nonetheless

TUESDAY 9th GREY: stone Buddha at the entrance to the monastery where we teach the little monks. In these parts most Buddhas are glitzy gold and heavily ornamented but this simple grey stone version has more appeal for me

WEDNESDAY 10th WHITE: A stunning white orchid, which grew itself in our front yard. I can take no credit for it but now realise that these exquisite flowers thrive in the right conditions, which Kep certainly seems to have. This is also my one flower prompt for this colour month. I needed to restrain myself to ensure it didn’t become a month of food and flowers. Therefore, I have restricted myself to each photo having a completely different subject

THURSDAY 11th BLACK: A little black magic Aussie style. I am so not a morning person and it’s Vegemite and black coffee that actually get me out of bed and ready to function most mornings

THURSDAY 11th BLACK TAKE TWO: Just when I’d posted my black photo for today’s prompt, this beetle presented itself in our teaching space at the monastery

FRIDAY 12th FAVE COLOUR: Orange without a doubt. This Khmer mask was a new addition to the decor in a favourite cafe in Kampot today. Even though it looks a bit yellow in this shot it is actually definitely orange

SATURDAY 13th NATURAL: The main trunk of a traveller’s palm growing with natural tone starting from beige and gradually changing through yellow to pale green

SUNDAY 14th BABY PINK: A small baby pink shell from Kep Beach

MONDAY 15th BABY BLUE: Faded wooden panels and door with a baby blue patina on an old shop front house in Kampot. It’s an archive shot and I’ve posted it once already this year but as I suspected when I took it in March, renovation was very likely. It is now a bamboo gated front yard with a snazzy orange facade. Change is inevitable ….nostalgia

TUESDAY 16th CHOCOLATE: This prompt was the motivation I needed to bake vegan chocolate brownies. We will resume volunteering at Kep Gardens tomorrow and I heard there are several new, young volunteers there at the moment. With the return of the heat and no electricity for refrigeration or cooling for most of the day, I’m hoping this will bring out the smiles

WEDNESDAY 17th LIGHT: The magical light of twilight over the rice paddies at Kep Gardens today

THURSDAY 18th DARK: No more dark stubble! When you’re a monk a clean shaven head is a must and it takes co-operation to achieve the desired result

FRIDAY 19th PALETTE: The palette of colours we use to create resources for our little monks and give them to do some colouring in. After almost a year almost all of them now select from the whole palette and not just the range of yellows, oranges and maroons that match the robes they wear. Though it still takes the newcomers a while to broaden their palettes

SATURDAY 20th LEMON: This local product has a divine lemon scent and is also refreshing 

SUNDAY 21st LIME: We are never without local limes and they find their way into refreshing drinks, stir fries, curries and desserts. One of the little pleasures of life in the tropics

MONDAY 22nd GOLD: A handcrafted gold leaf representation of Buddha in the reclining position. Although this particular one came from Lao it is typical of the Theravada style which is practised here in Cambodia

TUESDAY 23rd SILVER: The “Om” charm I wear around my neck is silver. Today for my second hospital visit I was chanting every mantra I know for an improved condition and got exactly that result. The end isn’t exactly in sight yet but progress is being made  
“Om  mani padme hum”

WEDNESDAY 24th TWO COLOURS: I choose nature’s combination of pale green and vibrant pink. These two colours appear on the potted succulent next to the steps of the porch at our house

THURSDAY 25th PATTERN: I’m not big on patterns. For me it more about plain and simple.  However, I like cane and rattan very much. Since I’m house bound at the moment, been lots of imaginative searching has going on

FRIDAY 26th BRIGHT: A bright and cheery piece of Khmer Culture. An archive shot of street art in Phnom Pehn because it’s all I’ve got today

SATURDAY 27th POP: Someone popped a beautiful lotus bloom in Buddha’s hand and it is a delightful pop of colour. Another archive shot from PP until mobility returns, I’m limited in my wanderings

SUNDAY 28th CONTRAST: Although there are no real seasons in Kep, the sharp contrast of the variable weather conditions is obvious in these shots taken at a favourite spot on the coast, where we often stop to admire the play of light on the old wooden pylons of a long gone jetty and the shimmering water

MONDAY 29th BLACK AND WHITE: A magnificent old growth tree covered in vines in Kep National Park. Somehow it seems more regal in black and white

TUESDAY 30th PASTEL: The pastel tones of the map we have of Cambodia, clearly showing Kep of course. Despite all the electronic sophistication available, I can’t resist a good paper map and I do love to refer to one too

WEDNESDAY 31st RAINBOW: I’m always delighted to see the rainbow colouring the little monks produce. Although it is in no way realistic it demonstrates how far they have come from the early days when most of them couldn’t hold a pencil and they always chose from a range of colours which duplicated the robes they wear- yellow, orange and maroon. If only violins, elephants and pumpkins really were all rainbow coloured

Saturday, September 29, 2018

oNe PhOtO a DaY sEpTeMbEr 2018


SATURDAY 1st SPOON: The first delicious spoonful of my design your own bowl dinner at ARTerillery tonight was every bit as sensational as I anticipated

SUNDAY 2nd DAD: I have absolutely no photos of my long-departed father but I have spent today reminiscing over memories of him. Instead I have a selection of some dads I know and admire. Some recent and some almost ancient shots among them but all are or were great dads

MONDAY 3rd RAIN: Despite the ominous, dark, rain clouds not a single drop of rain today and I can’t say I’m sorry after the near constant, torrential, daily downpours for the last month and longer. Maybe the monsoon is really truly over now

TUESDAY 4th SAUCE: Tonight’s dinner was Buddha Bowls featuring Ian’s homemade Asian Pesto Sauce. We’ve got this now: 3 proteins, 3 roasted veggies, 3 blanched veggies and 3 raw veggies over quinoa but the ‘pièce de résistance’ was the sauce!

WEDNESDAY 5th TOES: This is an archive shot from my birthday trip to Mondulkiri Elephant Project. I just love the fact that this elephant looks like it is doing a soft shoe shuffle minus the shoes.

Here are a few interesting facts I checked and stole via Mr. Google after remembering the toes were one way of identifying African and Asian elephants: ”Interestingly, not all of the toes have nails. Overall, it is generally accepted that the African elephant has four toenails on the front feet and three on the back as opposed to the Asian elephants which have five on the front and four on the back”

THURSDAY 6th BALLOONS: Teaching little monks basic literacy and phonics has been an eye opening experience for me. This illustration from a text book we bought shows how culturally biased language resources can be, but it is still possible to utilise it meaningfully with a little imagination. How many balloons are there? What colour is this balloon? Point at the pink balloon. Yes, there are balloons here! 

FRIDAY 7th MUSICAL: options are a bit limited in our attempt to lead a simple minimalist lifestyle here in Kep. These two Bluetooth speakers are able to put out pretty good sound and we can listen to our music and connect to the Australian radio stations we like too. Lo-fi simple, cheap and effective music on demand

SATURDAY 8th PEPPER: is a major crop here and the plantations are popular tourist attractions and the product a sought-after souvenir, so of course we have plenty on hand. These are red and black certified organic peppercorns from a local plantation

SUNDAY 9th DANCE: is an integral element of traditional Bhutanese culture. This is the black hat dance of Tshechu, which is a religious festival and a three-day spectacle of movement and dance. An archive shot from a culture we desperately miss

MONDAY 10th KICK: My feet kicking in the pool today and the photo credit goes to Ian

TUESDAY 11th BROKEN: The broken and dilapidated benches that were donated to the “pagoda” where we teach the little monks. They are still better than the floor, which was our previous option

WEDNESDAY 12th SWING: When you are in a hammock you have to put your feet down if you don’t want it to swing. One of the older monks at the pagoda where we teach is often in this position while our classes are going on

THURSDAY 13th CLEVER: I personally think all of our little monks are pretty clever to have mastered the alphabet, initial phonics, and the English words for numbers to 1000, colours, some fruit and vegetables and shapes as well as various simple greetings, rejoinders and many objects having never had any formal education before, even in their native language. And all this in only three hours of instruction a week for eight months with multiple interruptions and breaks. Of all of them, little Duan (pictured) is perhaps the most focused, determined and astute. He is quite obviously very clever and loves the challenges

FRIDAY 14th GRUB: When you’ve done this bus run to Phnom Penh so many times that you know the grub will be non-vegetarian friendly, unhealthy, pre-prepared, luke warm and sitting in a fly infested cabinet, then you make your own and take it with you. Passenger envy was obvious

SATURDAY 15th STEPS: It’s where the steps lead that helps you decide whether or not you will walk up them. Temple steps are always too inviting for me to refuse to climb them

SUNDAY 16th SWISH: A rare selfie says it all. We went to Phnom Penh this weekend to pick up my swish new progressive and transitional lens glasses and I happened to be wearing a piece of jewellery I recently bought in Bangkok and I think of as the wooden swish. I got a swish new haircut while I was there too

MONDAY 17th SUIT: Our newly-purchased second hand bicycles suit the climate and terrain better than the previous versions. They also better suit us and our riding styles

TUESDAY 18th TWENTY: freshly baked pecan shortbread cookies coz that’s what you do when long awaited guests are arriving soon

WEDNESDAY 19th POCKET: I love to have everything organised and this new handbag has 8 internal pockets so there’s a good place for everything. It was the last purchase I made just hours before leaving Australia and it has already proved its worth. Being waterproof is another big advantage in this season

THURSDAY 20th HANDSOME: The oldest of our monk class students is handsome Nit. Today he sketched me in chalk on the ground after class and I love that he had to add in my heart in orange, of course

FRIDAY 21st A BOARD GAME: Our little monks playing an animal memory game yesterday afternoon. They love this game donated by a Canadian friend and are hopeless cheats so I had to make a board and now supervise them while they play. As with all kids and games arguments still occur but focus is good -boys first, monks second!

SATURDAY 22nd WAITING: Today we have been waiting for the arrival of our guests and we are delighted they have now arrived

SUNDAY 23rd HANGING: A corkscrew curl of root hanging from the canopy of a tree in the Kep National Park

MONDAY 24th BITE: I quick bite to eat! A healthy and delicious dinner tonight for the final night with our guests

TUESDAY 25th PLAYFUL: Even little monks have their playful moments. They received the balls thanks to the donation of Joe who is about their age and decided to help them after his mum gave a donation for supplies

WEDNESDAY 26th KIND ACT: Our friends from Australia left yesterday and not only did they carry our new drivers’ licenses to us (the first ones were lost in the post) but they also bought and carried some stainless-steel straws I requested, left behind unused rain capes hoping needy locals would be able to use them and bought us some Midori as a gift. Come back anytime guys it was so much fun

WEDNESDAY 26th KIND ACT 2: Minutes after posting my photo for the prompt our lovely French neighbour who returned to Kep yesterday popped in with these treats from France! Second act of kindness today. Feeling Blessed

THURSDAY 27th FLOWERS: I associate these flowers with Buddhist temples as they are so often grown in the grounds or nearby in Asia. I don’t know their name but I was recently told they are cannonball flowers, as the tree produces a huge seed pod which resembles a cannonball. However, it is the shape that fascinates me

FRIDAY 28th ENTERTAINMENT: options are pretty limited in small town Cambodia but locals and expats alike gather around the pool tables - not that I play myself

SATURDAY 29th GREY: skies looming over the fishing boats in Kep this afternoon

SUNDAY 30th PINEAPPLE: I love the way the vendors prepare pineapples here and in many other places in Asia. It is one of my favourite fruits. It’s easy to eat and so pretty especially with pink guavas and coffee as an alfresco breakfast. This shot was taken in Phnom Penh. We often enjoy this kind of breakfast on the balcony of a guesthouse where we stay and we specifically request a room with a balcony for this exact purpose