Wednesday, January 31, 2018

oNe PhOtO a DaY jAnUaRy 2017



THE PROMPTS FOR THE MONTH


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.

8-1-2017
First time to fly with excess luggage and pay but only a minimum

11-1-2017
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.

17-1-2017
First sighting of these beautiful flowers and the tree they grow in on the beach in Mirissa

Barringtonia Asiaitica

2-2-2017
First time to try to sell possessions on the Internet and conduct a garage sale

8-2-2017
My first Airbnb booking albeit with a couple of errors.  I will get better at this

23-2-2017
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

25-2-2017
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)

2-3-2017
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

8-3-2017
 First time since I've known about International Women's Day NOT to celebrate with women friends and colleagues, just Ian and Anthony

22-3-2017
 First time to view Manhattan from the New Trade Centre Towers

22-3-2017
First time for Ian and I to go out to a cocktail bar alone and not just any cocktail bar at that - Flatiron Lounge

28-3-2017
 First time to get a Seniors Priced ticket at the American Museum of Natural History. Thanks guys saved five dollars and love the dioramas

2-4-2017
 First time to complete a self guided walking tour with an app

7-4-2017
 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)

10-4-2017
 First time to see both the American and Canadian Niagara Falls

15-4-2017
 First time to enter the US by land

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

28-4-2017
 First visit to Machu Picchu

2-5-2017
 First sighting of Lake Titicaca the world's highest navigable lake at 3,8000 meters

7-5-2017
 First trip to Bolivia

17-5-2017
 First time to see Flamingoes in the wild wading at alpine lakes

19-5-2017
 First sightings of condors in the wild at Colca Canyon

27-5-2017
 First time to stay at someone's home when they weren't there. Thanks McKenny!

30-5-2017
 First time to fly Qatar Airlines

16-6-2017
 First visit to Kep

27-6-2017
 First time to get a long-term Visa (retirement/ volunteers/ business) issued

3-7-2017
 First time swimming in Masion de Yaya's private pool in opulent garden surroundings


13-7-2017
 First supply-run to Kampot from Kep on the local bus

23-7-2017
 First one year renewal of our E-Business visa via an agent in Kep

10-8-2017
 First purchase of jaggery



11-9-2017
First parcel delivery to us from Australia. Nice

15-9-2017
First time to move house by bicycle

20-9-2017
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


15-10-2017
 First time to enter Cambodia as a resident

16-10-2017
 First time to have a dentist appointment in a foreign country

18-10-2017
First time to return to Kep thinking we were coming home

19-10-2017
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

2-11-2017
 First time teaching monks and with no common language

19-11-2017
 First time to eat Khmer crepes - egg crepes filled with bean sprouts and served with lettuce, herbs and cucumber and a vinegar sauce

23-11-2017
 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

18-12-2017
 First visitor from abroad to come and stay with us in Kep. Welcome Becky Story

19-12-2017
 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