Sunday, 9 June 2013

Kep and beyond

It feels like a while since my last attempt at updating everyone.  Suppose it is a combination of things not the least of which is the thought of waning interest as everyone's lives are filled with summer, grand-children, graduations, cycling trips, and life marching on.  Seventeen months of ups and downs, travel, adventure, and transitions.  As the countdown begins regarding thoughts of heading home, I am filled with uncertainty.  I've changed, my life has changed, and now I am contemplating what could be more stimulating than what I am experiencing.  Bah! I still have 9 months to think of something.  In the meantime...

What is a blog without something gross, eh?

So, I was motoring to work one morning and I caught a glimpse of this. "Whoa! that looks like an interesting snake", I say to myself, only to look up in time to miss hitting a monkey running across the road ahead of me. It is moments like this when it hits me that I really am in a foreign place.  Monkeys always make me laugh when I see them, and, seeing the snake on the road below the park where I hike, sent a shiver through me.  This Malaysian pit viper is responsible for their victims requiring amputations. It isn't that I wasn't aware of snakes while I hike.  I always check the trees before I use them for handholds, and when hauling myself up the steep rocky bits, I always shake the knotted ropes as a precaution.  Funny thing though, these snakes hide in the leaf litter on the ground.  Hmmm... need to get up the courage to get back onto those trails.  Perhaps, Anna, I will need those hiking boots after all.

And then there were some firsts.  Not for me, but for Savann and Mr. Noy, Savann's buddy visiting from Sisophon.  Savann turned 32...we we had a birthday party.  His first ever!

Savann doesn't think I know how to make rice! 

Savann and Mr. Noy didn't know what a can-opener was.  

So you ask, how do they open cans then?  To be honest, they don't.  They don't buy things in cans.  Most of their food is bought fresh from the market. They thought this was pretty cool!  What would they do with an electric can-opener?  I can only imagine knowing how they drive motorbikes.

Mr. Noy had never eaten cheese before...I think he likes it! 

A sketch pad and sketch pencils...the man has talent! 

Yes, we/I sang happy birthday as I brought in the candles though:-(

One of the wonderful things about being in Kep is I get to see different sights in Cambodia.  So on the last long weekend, we packed up the motorcycles and rode 3 hours to Sihanoukville.  Sore bum!  Honda Dreams just aren't meant for long distances.  Nice scenery, glad I went, won't go back.  There is no doubt the endless beaches are lovely.  I was doubly grateful to be staying 5 k out of town in a quiet beach area. Janet, my colleague in Kampot and her husband are great company (yes, you too Savann!) so it was fun playing games, walking the beach, and swimming.  As for the town of Sihanouk, well, it was the sex-trade thing... I know it exists in Cambodia... I just don't like having to witness it everywhere I turn.  That said, the quiet beach hut out of town at a different beach was more to my liking.

What a sweetie.  Cheena, making me a bracelet.

Cheena, teaching Savann how to make case he wants to supplement  his income.
Oh I wish I had a picture of the braids that Janet made for me.  I have never had such beautiful braids in my hair before.  Thank you Janet!!!!

Adding interest to one of my weekly trips to Kampot, I just clicked away on our way back to Kep.  There aren't many amenities in Kep, so to shop, get to a bank machine, and have meetings with Janet, off to Kampot we go, we go...

Just before heading home, I thought I would put in yet another plug in for Oil of Oregano.
Not looking too good Dave!  Let me give you some oil of oregano!  (No surprise to you eh Ellen!) 

Thought I would help you get a wee sense of the trip...
Leaving Kampot

Mattresses piled high, being pulled by a motorcycle.

Salt flats...

Yes, face-masks and face guards...for the blinding dust that coats everything. 

One of several Cham (Muslim) communities around Kep. 

Just supervising the road construction. 

Doesn't do justice to all the dust. 

Getting close! 

Oh, at the White Horse round-about...we know we are very close. 

Ah!  We have arrived in Kep with the spectacular Flame trees.  
At the risk of this being too lengthy, I will add a few more shots from around town.  It is lovely here.  Have I said that before.  
Selling fresh crabs from the boat.

On my walk to the pagoda this morning

Sitting on the steps of the pagoda, pondering life...aka meditating

walking through the jungle home from the pagoda

Try to zoom in on this little girls shoes!  High heels about 10 sizes too big!  What else would you wear to take the cows out?
So, life is good here.  Finally starting to figure things out, sort of, at work.  Looking forward to trips in August, November, and the end of March next year.  You will just have to stay tuned.  Love any and all connections so do drop me a line.  I check my email a gazillion times a day...just saying! 

I do hope everyone is in good health, enjoying life, and, having a blast.  Think of you often, miss the connections, and send big hugs across the seas to you.

Until next time...