THE PROMPTS FOR THE MONTH
1. FRUIT: some of the gorgeous fresh fruit beautifully presented in the Ben Thanh market area today Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) today
2. I DID THIS TODAY: visited the Fine Arts Museum in Saigon with a former BCF teacher who now lives here. Funnily enough the building was nearly as interesting as the exhibits
3. P IS FOR … path along the Mekong River
4. TABLE: dinner on the table at Cuc Gach Quan Restaurant Saigon tonight
5. I COLLECT……. books (both paperback and electronic) and even when I have been travelling for more than 5 months with only a small backpack I can’t bring myself to abandon them when I know schools in Bhutan that have a desperate need for novels
6. MUSIC: temple gong in Wat Ounalom Phnom Penh Cambodia
7. YES! after more than 12 hours of non-stop torrential rain the sun came out and the skies turned blue just in time for Phnom Penh to start decorating the streets in preparation for Independence Day
(Nov 9th) - this year being 60 years since the nation gained independence from France
8. SOMEONE I MISS: my big little sister as I have affectionately called her most of my life. She is older but shorter than me and living in Oz while we are travelling and living in Asia
9. MINE: I have a dear friend who collects Buddhas and since I have been travelling in several Buddhist countries in the past few months I have been paying particular attention to the Buddhas available and the differences in the iconography. I could not resist this one but I loved it so much I had to buy two- this one is all mine!
10. BOOK: the one and only book I have bought in Cambodia at this stage. This begins the new collection of children’s books that will be left in a Bhutanese school next year
11. A MEMORY: On day one in Kampot we stumbled onto the set of the French TV program “White Soldier” being filmed in the streets and couldn’t resist taking a few snaps. I couldn’t help but think that for many of the locals scenes such as these, are a not so distant memory and in reality it can be filmed here as there hasn’t been a great deal of change
12. CLOUDS: sunset in Kampot Cambodia
PART OF ME: the ugliest part of me – my feet but I walk miles on them every single day and they always get me there. If you can’t hide them make a feature of them. They have never let me down yet!
14. EATING: recently we have realized that even with a simple decision like where we will eat we are able to support organizations with a social conscience and can make our tourist bucks count. But today we were gob-smacked at what happened when we chose the Sandan restaurant, in Sihanoukville. We arrived to discover that we were the only customers in the lovely garden setting and that there was a training session going on a few tables away. Staff was being told that offering a discount was an option and that they could make these decisions to improve the business. This is the low season and I also over heard that they were just breaking even in a business sense but not in the low season. We were more than happy with our vegetarian choices and the service and called for the bill. Imagine our surprise when one of the two staff in that training session handed us a receipt for our meal and drinks with “This one is on us.” hand written on the back! I had to check it with her several times and then we agreed that OK we will come back tomorrow and pay!
15. IN MY POCKET / PURSE: we are travelling and this purse is the one I check I have a million times a day we when are on the move. Today it has a little bit of a lot of currencies, 2 passports, a luggage tag, a train ticket, a bus ticket, a lot of business cards, a pen, a rubber band, the calculations of how much we have spent in each country we have visited and my credit card. It is scary seeing it all laid out like that. Now it is going back into the safe!
16. PLAY: this riverside promenade is definitely a play zone for kids and adults alike in the cool of the morning and the late afternoon, in Phnom Penh, but I can’t help but wonder if these working street kids ever have time to play. It strikes me that it is ironic that these two girls are selling toys for other children to play with.
17. 5 O’CLOCK: 5 o’clock = beer o’clock Phnom Penh rooftop bar
18. MIRROR: us and the driver in the rear-view mirror of the remork (Cambodian version of tuk tuk) in Kratie
19. WHERE YOU ATE BREAKFAST: and dinner last night too for that matter at Red Sun Falling Coffee Bar and Bookstore in Kratie
20. COMMUNICATION: Cambodian advice on an umbrella at a roadside stall in Kratie. OK it was advertising for mobile phone company but it is still good advice.
21. I WISH I HAD THIS: OK this one is days late because I am in the very fortunate position of realizing that there is absolutely nothing material that I wish I had. I thought about it for days before and after the day of the prompt and decided that the only thing I really wanted was to know where in Bhutan my husband and I would be posted to teach next year. So now that we know I wish I had HAD this information sooner but I know I am blessed to have so little that I desire and to be going back to the Kingdom of Happiness.
(prompt 24 has the details and was actually taken on the day)
22. BEHIND: with all this behind the rider is there actually room to sit? Mobile cane ware shop in Kratie
23. SIMPLICITY: amongst the frantic activity, vibrant colours and bustling chaos of the cities and towns in Cambodia I have struggled to find something that embodied simplicity for me, but finally amid the towering majesty and spectacularly intricate carvings and sculptures of Bayon Temple in the Angkhor Thom complex this stone cairn (small pile of stones erected as marker or memorial) screamed simplicity. I have affinity for them anyway.
24. A WORD: word has it that this is the place we have been waiting to know but it is as yet unofficial, so mum’s the word!
25. QUIRKY: here in Battambang the street names are quite quirky and both 1½ and 2½ feature.
26. MESSAGE: many a message has been written on this wall and can still be deciphered – famous Pub Street drinking hole “Angkor What” in Siem Reap
27. NO! this is a good sentiment but it has no basis in reality here in Siem Reap where we have been propositioned by tuk tuk drivers at least 10 times in the less than kilometer walk from the famous Pub Street back to our hotel
28. I AM GRATEFUL FOR: having this person in my life and being able to live the kind of life we choose together
29. BLACK: charcoal the fuel most commonly used for cooking here in Cambodia. I am no scientist but I just don’t get that something that black to start with turns white as it burns and glows red when it is hot.
30. ALL DONE: We are packed and ready to go, leaving Cambodia but I still don’t think I am all done with it. I am sure we will be back. Photo credit to Ian