Friday, June 22, 2007

where in the world is...


forgive my lack of diligence in maintaining the blog! this past weekend i travelled to the ancient temples of angkor wat and, with barely a moment to catch my breath, am off again tonight for bangkok and india.

yes, i do actually work here (tho i'll be gone to a wedding in Indore all next week) and i promise to fill in the gaps for you just as soon as time permits. you deserve a quality account and quality takes time.

check back again soon!

much love,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

the weekend away

it may seem a bit premature to have already taken a "vacation" having only been here two weeks, but what can i say? that's just how i do.

as i mentioned in my brief farewell note, i spent the whole of last weekend with my friend, guy, on the southern coast of cambodia.

day1 and 2 were spent in a tiny seaside town called kep. with a jungle as a backdrop and the gulf of thailand at our feet, to say the setting was breathtaking would be an understatement. the better part of both nights were spent lounging on our oceanfront veranda, sipping wine and gazing at the stars. by morning we toured the cambodian country-side and in the afternoon took a fishing boat to a secluded island where we swayed in shaded hammocks and ate fish so fresh it tasted as though it leapt straight onto the grill from the sea.

on day 3 we made our way to sihanoukville, a touristy spot that's more popular with the beach-seeking backpackers and gap year kids. were it not for the constant stream of beggars and junk peddlars, it could be considered cambodia's version of paradise, replete with white sand and warm aqua waters.

the highlight of the day was meeting pub, a cheeky lil boy who introduced us to the cambodian children's painting project - a nonprofit designed to give beach (homeless) kids a way to be creative while safely earning the money they would otherwise get through begging. ( ) i couldn't resist pub's masterpiece, "penguins on sihanoukville beach" and have now hung it proudly in my apartment back at phnom penh.
it's only a matter of time before the international art dealers come knocking.

i could go on and on about the trip (verbose as i can sometimes be), but i think a few snapshots should wrap this entry up nicely. hope you enjoy seeing them as much as i enjoyed being there (or close to it, anyway!).

the beach

our boat to rabbit island

sunset the first night

my friend guy at breakfast in kep

coming back from rabbit island

Friday, June 08, 2007

the weekender

my dear readers,

i'm off for my first weekend excursion outside of phnom penh! i'll be spending the next three nights in the sleepy seaside town of kep, on the southeast coast of cambodia. i hear there isn't much to do besides eat, relax and soak up the sun (perfect!). while i won't have access to the internet down there, i promise to take copious mental notes and deliver a full report upon my return early next week.

much love and appreciation,

btw: here's a quick link so you can get an idea of where i'll be...picture me chillin' ;)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

love at first bite

anyone who knows me knows that of all the pleasures in life, food is my paramount source of joy. my gourmandizing ways often lend heafty definition to my experiences of a place or a people, and such is the case with cambodia. much to my delight (and surprise), i have found that phnom penh not only offers a veritable buffet of choices (pun TOTALLY intended ), but it is an incredibley delectable city. just about anything you could possibly want to eat is available at dirt cheap prices (most restaurant meals are under $5 and 6 of us ate dinner for a total of $10 the other night!) and it's all delicious.

though burgers, pizzas and all other manner of cuisine are readily accessible, traditional khmer food is the most abundant (and so far my favorite). makeshift "restaurants" (a lady with a few pots of food, some plastic chairs and a sidewalk) are set up on almost every corner and a variety of food "carts" (that offer quick snacks like fruit shakes or dumplings) can be seen wheeling up and down the busy streets. i have to admit, i haven't yet had the courage to try anything that comes from one of those greasy lil carts, but soon as my stomach builds up the necessary microbes, i'll be the first in line.

i have the added bonus of working in an office full of cambodians who love to snack even more than i do and every afternoon is filled with some new and curious treat (like khmer beef jerky or fresh lychee). everyone gets a kick out of watching the "foreign girl" try to figure out how to eat something (i had to follow my colleague's lead on cracking into a lychee and i could have sworn the beef jerky was a bag of dried bark) and i don't mind being the spectacle so long as i reap the yummy reward.

of the khmer food i have tried (from fresh spring rolls to coconut cury fish to noodle soup), i've loved it all. but nothing has blown me over quite like the mangoes. now look, i know some of you are from or have been to indigenous mango regions of the world, but this is my first time and the only way to describe that first bite of fresh, ripe mango is to liken it to giving a blind man sight. no, wait, better than that. it's like positioning a blind man right beneath the sistine chapel and THEN giving him sight! mmm...i think i just drooled on my keyboard thinking about it. haha
my love of the mango has turned into a full-blown obsession and you can find me stalking the streets of phnom penh at all hours of the day, hunting for mango vendors. my mother says i should ease up because too many mangoes will give me zits. but peak mango season is almost over and if it's one thing this addict won't be doing is quitting her habit anytime soon!

(ps: i could dedicate a whole blog just to my gustatory experiences here and promise to expand on those experiences soon)