Sunday, December 02, 2007
Hi! Owing to an ailing interest in writing blog posts I have not contributed much in the last 6 months. Im sorry. Its hard to maintain a steady flow of posts and now everyone seems hooked on the Facebook (something I steadfastly refuse to join). Anyways Bec is in NZ and i have been a little bored - so here I am back on Blogger.
I have little of interest to write about and and will therefore share the first draft of a Manshed I am designing and plan to one day build. A friend recently alerted me to the concept and I was immediately enthused. My recipe is one part grown up cubby house, two parts fun and the tiniest pinch of functionality. Christmas is also just round so the corner and this looks just a little bit like a wish list for Santa.
1. Vintage Premier Drum Kit - not necessarily Keith Moon's but something similar would be nice.
2. Fender Jazzmaster and a Marshal stack (well of course).
3. Persian rug - cheaper the better and only from the retailer who needs to clear his warehouse by 30 June or face bankruptcy.
4. 24-channel mixing console (for sitting next to when interviewed for music documentaries)
5. A unique and moderately comfortable couch.
6. Picture of Michael Tuck + autograph (i actually have the autograph already).
7. Home Brew Kit
Im sure there is a lot more yet to add. A door would a solid idea. Perhaps some walls and a roof. You get the basic drift anyways. Love to all. More posts to come - I promise!
Saturday, September 29, 2007
My dear friend Teesh gave birth to her first child on Friday (I think it was Friday - however the text was sent at 1:31am so she could be an early Saturday baby - I'll have to check with her Mum). Either way...she has entered the world and I am looking forward to meeting her and spending time with her Mum in November.
Congrats Teesh and Bryan on your first child! A momentus and special occasion. We are thinking of you and we send lots of love.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The field in which we planted...
Saturday, July 14, 2007
and here's one we took a few years ago before we started blogging...
and his Mexican fiesta...
and his boxing chicken...oh wait...no, that's not a Kenny's chicken!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Ben and I have been feeling rather homesick recently. Attempting to share in friends joy as they become parents or become pregnant has made us acutely aware of just how much we are missing out on over here. It's times like this you have to step back and assess whether the benefits of living over here outweigh those of living at home. We're not sure.
We know that we currently have work opportunities that we would never be afforded back home and we both enjoy our jobs despite the various frustrations that crop up. But there are many challenges to living over here that you grapple with each day and today I'm afraid posed many...
It started with the guy who delivers our newspapers knocking on our door at 6:30am to collect the money due for the next three months of delivery. Early wake up calls are not something I have adjusted too in this country and despite being up and already dressed, he scared the bejesus out of me knocking on the door at that time. With a brief exchange I sent him on his way empty handed (I didn't have enough money). But the surprise of him turning up left me with a slightly unsettled feeling as I set off for work.
So with my mind ticking over, I was driving down our narrow street aware of the fact that another motorbike was coming towards me with three guys on it. The driver didn't have great control, so he was coming towards me at fairly close range. At the same time as this, an older woman, who I presume is a neighbour, stepped out onto the street without looking. I was metres from her and had no time to brake and no room to swerve to the otherside, so I tooted my horn (as I so often do) and narrowly missed hitting her by millimetres. She of course yelled at me, as though it were my fault she stepped out and didn't look and I drove on with my heart thumping and my stomach churning.
I had not got more than a few streets away when my bike started to wobble. I had only been at the mechanics yesterday fixing my foot-stand that had become loose, making it hard to change gears and balance the bike. Now here I was wondering why my bike was off balance yet again. As I pulled over, I took one look to the rear of the bike and discovered my first flat tyre. I let out a groan and promptly went about searching for a roadside mechanic to do the repairs.
After wheeling my bike 100m in crazy morning traffic; and stopping off at 4 different places that had brand new tyres on display out front, only to be told no...I was feeling rather frazzled. Thankfully an elderly Cambodian man appeared from out of his small shop, which had chips and other fast food snacks on display and he offered to fix my tyre. I then noticed the old tyre inserts and tools he had for doing just that. It was quite a fascinating process to watch as he filled the inner tube of my rear tyre with water to find the holes and then cut out new rubber to melt down and patch over these trouble spots. Within 10 minutes my bike was fixed and it only cost 1,500Riel (approx 40 cents) for the trouble.
But it was not a good start to the day, especially when I was heading to work for an all day program meeting, at which I had to do a two hour presentation I was not fully prepared for. I called Ben to inform him of my adventures whilst my bike was being fixed and surprised myself as my frustration bubbled to the surface and my voice began to waver, just as it does before you cry. My logical side was muttering, "what are you gonna cry for??...the bike is getting fixed and you'll be at work on time...it's no big deal"....but there bubbled the emotions all the same. Thankfully, as I stood there on the street, I held it together and did not cry but I have to admit, today has been a roller coaster of emotions. When I got home this evening, Ben's day had not been much better. So we ordered in some comfort food...and decided...friends, family, we miss you.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Friday 8th June 2007, marked the first time my immediate family has all been together in the one space, at the one time, in 3 years (??). The last time being (if I remember correctly) at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne, farewelling my brother as he headed across to the UK for work. Now three years later, he is still there.... as is my sister, who made the journey across about two years ago and now lives with her English boyfriend, Mark. So my parents know in very real terms what being "empty nesters" is all about, with all three children living OS.
But with the arrival of June, across the continents they came and with that the "Griswald" Family Holiday in Cambodia began (we watched Lampoon's Vacation way too much growing up). Alas, there was no Wally World to be had but there was fine dining and markets...and for Gaz and Mark - Temples, land mines and rifles. The time seemed to fly by...and all too quickly everyone departed...but not before Phnom Penh put on an impressive heatwave; a monsoonal storm; a trip to the provinces with Ming Yim's family; and a birthday party for yours truly. It's official - I am old......er.
Now my brother is back in the UK, most likely at work; my parents, sister and Mark are in Kota Kinabalu soaking up the sun; and come Thursday, Ben and I will be in KL awaiting the arrival of my parents, sister and Mark, to spend some last few days together (shopping and eating) before saying our final farewells for now. Who knows when the next family tour will be? And where it will be.... London? I do know that after months and months of planning this visit, it went all too quickly....but I want to say thanks to my family (Mark included) for all travelling so far to celebrate my birthday - you made it special.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Hmmm...well we started this post some weeks ago but seemed to only get as far as the heading. Must have been our celebrating the Royal birthday that tired us out, as we did have 5 days to party on down.
Anyhoo, since we had this time up our sleeve, we decided to leave the country and do some travelling thanks to the cheap airfares of AirAsia. So to Krabi, Thailand we went....
Where we relaxed with scenery like this...
So if these photos are at all enticing and you'd like to see others of our travels (perhaps Ben and I pretending to be clown fish) then head to the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benbecca/sets/72157600230372177/
If you'd like to hear anecdotes of our time in Krabi then I'm afraid you'll have to wait until you are in the presence of our company, as we feel far too lazy to write (blogger shame). In the meantime, here's a brief synopsis:
"We did the usual touristy things: swam at the beach; rode on a long tail boat; rented a motor bike for the day to go sightseeing (mainly aquariums and beaches) and ate seafood. We had fun".
Monday, April 16, 2007
Some of you might have noticed the changing colours of our blog. Green has always been my favourite colour (except for perhaps a pink period in '85) so I find the new hue rather pleasing to the eye.
But I am wondering...have Ben and I taken it too far in our hallway?
I assure you this is not trick photography, we actually have a fluorescent green light bulb(purchased unintentionally of course).
I half expect slime to run down the walls.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
"Junpoh chnam thmei"....(wishing you a happy new year)
It's that time of year again...a time to get out your water bombs and talcom powder and wish your fellow neighbour a happy new year. Although if you are not in Cambodia (or Thailand & Myanmar, as it's their new year also) then it may seem a bit strange to cover your neighbour's face in talcom powder and throw a water bomb at them when they're not looking. Could be fun if you're bored though.
As for Ben and I, we are enjoying a very long weekend and a deserted Phnom Penh. We have stocked our fridge with an abundance of food so that there is very little reason to leave the house...and we have settled in to celebrate our anniversary...not of our relationship but of having arrived in Cambodia. I'm not sure if it feels like two years... or more...or less...but two years ago it was that Ben and I arrived in this fine country...and two years ago it was that Steph took us to Wat Phnom and I got caked in talcom powder, as I watched Khmer youth play games and "court" one another. What an initiation!!!
So with two years having passed one might expect Ben and I to reflect on such times and note what has changed and what hasn't...perhaps even what we have learnt from being here...
What has changed?....Shopping malls are quickly emerging across the city...
What hasn't changed?....It's freakin hot in April!
What have we learnt?....(well not Khmer that's for sure)...perhaps that it's always freakin hot in April.
A week ago, in eager anticipation we posted a congratulations to Leigh and Kara on their wedding day. This was before realising how premature we were in this. Now we are a day late (we clearly are not good with time)...but that's not to say we didn't think of you both yesterday and make a toast in your honour, because we did.
So Leigh and Kara, congratulations on your special day...may you have a lifetime of happiness together. We wish we could have been there to share and celebrate the day with you.
Our love and best wishes,
Bec and Ben xx
PS. Any chance we can see some photos?
Last weekend Bec and I went to Kuala Lumpur to watch "the pinnacle of motorsport that is formula one." We stayed in a hotel that was very near two very tall and very identical buildings. These cloned structures looked especially amazing at night when viewed from a taxi with your head tilted at a 45 degree angle.
The Sepang racing circuit is located (you guessed it) in Sepang. Sepang is also where the airport is located. The airport is 70km's from the city. Therefore (once again you guessed it) the Grand Prix actually billed to be hosted in KL is found well beyond the defined city limit. Now in Asia, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, this would probably make you expect some challenges and a deal of planning, time and cost to reach the desired destination.
And there was, but we are happy to say not as much as we had expected...
There is a very fast train that runs between KL and the airport. I dont know if it is as fast as the very very fast bullet trains you see on documentaries in europe or Japan but it sure was quick. This made the whole journey quite pleasant, the only additional hassle being 2 buses we were required to catch to actually get near the entry gate to the grand prix.
Owing to work commitments and the like we could only attend the race day itself and none of the days preceeding. We made the most of it however and secured some fine seats at the end of the main straight. Our granstand afforded a very close view of corners one and two that would promise some hot racing action.
Hot was the word of the day, in our grandstand we sweated a lot whilst eagerly awaiting the race. After the cultural spectacle, sorry after the planned cultural spectacle (there were plenty of unplanned cultural spectacles to see on the day), cars finally came around to line up on the grid. I have seen F1 cars a few times before but you still get that tingle up the spine when you hear the sound they make, well at least I do.
From then on everything happened very quickly - suddenly they had started and well if you want to know the details of the race click here - details of the race.
Here are some photos Bec took...
Friday, April 06, 2007
Yesterday morning at 10:05am (Australian EST), Sean and Cheryl welcomed the long awaited Atticus into this world. At 8 pounds 13oz, we are told he is every bit as beautiful as his Mum (and you too Sean).
To his parents, Ben and I would like to say a huge congratulations and how delighted we are. We send you all our love and hope to see photos of little Atti soon.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
The world beard & moustache championships (WBMC) have updated their website.
Beard Team USA really is something to behold and I find it hard to see how traditional world-bearders Germany will overcome this all star line up. The perfect mix of youth, experience and facial hair.
Best address on the net bar none.
Join my campaign to have soul patches granted competition status.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Some guy decided to trump us all by bringing this really cool BMW bike.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
You might notice that our last post ended quite abruptly - reason being that Ben and I started it in Australia but never got the chance to finish it. Now that we are back in Cambodia it seems a bit weird to blog in back-dated fashion but pretend its current. So instead - perhaps you should stay tuned for another blog posting where we reminisce about our time in Oz??
Hmmm having said that, I can't promise that this blog entry will be posted anytime soon or at all given the fact that Ben and I have been consumed by work since arriving back... and I speak for myself here, when I say that the energy levels for blogging are not high (ironic really when I am blogging right now)...but I'm sure you all know what I mean. If not, just pretend you do.
Anyhoo, Ben and I would like to say briefly, to all those dear friends and family members we caught up with that it was great seeing you all and we hope we see you again in the not too distant future.
Stay classy Melbourne...and Albury...and Rutherglen...and Alexandra...and Canberra...and Bonnie Doon...and of course San Diego.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
What is it they say..."There is no place like home"... It's so true.
Our trip back home to Australia is very quickly winding up yet it feels like we just arrived. Ben and I have settled in to life here so much that neither of us wants to leave just yet. Although I'm sure we'll be fine once we get back to Cambodia and work will see us settling back into life there very quickly. Although we'll probably be homesick for the first few days.
Since being back in Oz we have caught up with friends and family; shopped like consumerism is going out of fashion; and eaten enough steak to keep our iron levels up for the rest of the year.
However, our main purpose for returning home was to attend our dear friends; Tim and Sal's wedding. Held in Northern Victoria in the Rutherglen wine region at a place called the Wicked Virgin Olive Grove/Layback Manor....
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Last night was a special one here in the Bodge. As you know, we have Khmer family - Ming Yim, her niece Gim Lee and co. Add to this - Hagar (the NGO that Ben works for), which now has a restaurant...and in the last few months - a raffle competition to help promote their opening. Add to this the major prize draw - a brand new Honda Dream motorbike...and you have yourself a winning combination.
And the winner is??????
Ben called me excitedly last night from work to tell me that Gim Lee had won the draw. I couldn't believe it. He then went on to say that Hagar management were wanting Gim Lee to go around and have photos taken with the bike but Gim Lee said she couldn't go. Caught up in the excitement of it all I drove my moto around to the house and in the meantime Ben called her employer to convince him to let Gim Lee to go. I then bombarded their house and perhaps overwhelmed them with my excitement because I somehow managed to get the whole family to pile into their car and follow me to the restaurant, where Gim Lee was presented with her brand new motorcycle. Amazing!!
The happiness and excitement was contagious. There were many hugs, many photos and many smiles. There was also an obligatory dinner. Ben and I were trying to get home, as Tim and Pauline had cooked us a yummy green chicken curry but Ming would not have a bar of it. So we stayed for another hour for dinner...and I have to say it was truly special to sit there with Ming and Gim Lee and see the joy as they called their family in the provinces and informed them of their good luck.
This good luck came about with the help of some thoughtful foreigners. Christine, who Gim Lee cleans for, who had entered Gim Lee and Tim and Pauline, who had entered Ming and our tuk tuk driver Gogo, even though they didn't win it was a lovely gesture all the same.
Anyway, I wanted to blog about this special moment quickly...but as it is Tim and Pauline's last night with us...I must head to dinner.
Stay tuned for a post on our recent trip to Laos...
Friday, January 19, 2007
For the last 10 days or so, our street has had drainage added and has been in the preparation stages for being paved. Ben and I have been quite excited at the idea of a paved street. Less dust. Easier to ride our bikes down. No more flooding during wet season (fingers crossed). We have also been intrigued by the fact that the government only contributed 15% to the total cost of this infrastructure. The rest was paid for by the families that live along this street (I have a new-found appreciation for Vic Roads).
Despite our enthusiasm for this improvement to our street, we have not been as taken with how it's been executed. I mean, you expect a bit of inconvenience with these things...and we have taken in our stride having to dirt-bike down our street, as the workers created mounds of dirt and rocky hills installing the drainage (I'm amazed at what I can do with my little Honda and her 50cc's of grunt). We even coped just fine with all this happening at the same time our bathroom was being repaired. Which by the way, was done by some of the roadworkers installing this drainage and paving the roads...and as it turns out, was not done very well. Call me naive but I assumed that repairing plumbing would mean that it would work better - not halve our water pressure and leave our brand new spanking bath with broken seals within days of installation. Stupid me.
Anyhoo, today the workers decided it was high time this road got paved. Ben came home at lunchtime and managed to get out just before being trapped in, as they started the cementing process around midday-ish. He gave me a call and gave me the heads up. So I was not surprised when I returned home close to 6pm to find our entire road blocked off.
Now here is where the poor planning kicks in. Although I'm no builder of roads, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about? But I would have thought that logic would dictate that you paved one half of the street and left the other side unpaved so people could travel down it...and then once that side was dry...you paved the other half. Apparently not. On our street, they decided to do it all in one go and progressively work their way down. So, that when all us little workers trudged home on this Friday evening, we were trapped at the end of our street, staring longingly at our homes.
I parked my beloved bike at the end and locked it up as best as I could...and then made my way down through wet cement to our house, where I had to wash my feet and my thongs. I then called Ben and said that his parents, who were arriving in PP this fine evening...might have some trouble making it down our street with their luggage. Oh dear!
Uncomfortable with the idea of my bike being at the end of the street I rang a friend and organised to park it at their place. So back I trudged down the street only to get to the end and discover I had forgotten my moto key. Idiot! So back through the cement I went again...until the key was in my hands and I could make my way once more (I think the neighbours thought I liked walking in the cement) to my bike and drive it around the corner, where it shall be bike-sat tonight. Thanks Cam and Chanel!
Not long after this, Tim, Pauline and Ben arrived all in good spirits (and they weren't on the scotch and dry's like me). They had soldiered on down the street, in the dark and in their bare feet with all their luggage. Impressive! And whilst I am sure they won't be forgetting this arrival in PP very soon, it would also seem an indelible mark of all our footprints has been left in the cement. Hey, maybe I should go downstairs now and write "Bec & Ben woz ere 2007"???
Sunday, January 14, 2007
So I made it through week one of work at SSC. My head is swimming with information but it's the kinda stuff I like to ponder - such as cultural differences and the value judgments we make. Interesting stuff. When it stops floating around my head and I make heads and tails of some of it I'll let you know...but I think my job is going to be very enjoyable and challenging.
So moving on to the weekend...for people who have few friends we sure had a busy weekend!
Friday night saw us having dinner with a friend of Ben's aunt and her sister. Two lovely women we had never met before. We took them to one of our favourite restaurants in PP that serves provincial Cambodian food...and as we chatted and got to know each other we discovered just how small the world can be. Anne (from Perth) is friends of Ben's Aunt Pam and her sister Lynne (from Tassie), I discovered through conversation is friends with my Aunt Liz, who also lives in Tassie and her daughter was friends with my cousin Lucy. What are the odds that two random people could be friends with our Aunts, when there are 20 million people in Oz? Trippy!
Saturday was wedding fever! My dear friend Chenda always said she would get married in 2007 and sure enough she did. So Ben and I experienced our first proper Cambodian wedding. It was out in the provinces so we hired a car to drive there. Took about an hour. We went with two other woman from Hagar, as that's how I knew Chenda - through my work at Hagar. She was the finance person there.
Cambodian weddings are interesting. Chenda had 10 different outfits for the day, although we only saw two...but they were beautiful with lots of bling. It's amazing though - Cambodian women cake on the make-up when they get married and they hairspray their hair to an extent that it would stay still even amidst a tornado...they are so made up they are almost unrecognisable. Chenda on any given day is stunning but I hate to say, I think Western notions of beauty differ when it comes to Cambodian weddings.
Like Aussie weddings though...a Cambodian wedding consists of guests having quite the feast and then partying on down to some bad music. Whilst there was no Bon Jovi "You're love is like bad medicine"...or Billy Idol's, "It's a nice day for a white wedding"...we had fun.
The thing I was most taken with was their cans of coke...allow me to introduce what i call Commitment Coke...it's pure, gassy love in a can. A toast to the happy couple!
Saturday night was out on the town with my good friend Michelle (aka Wookelle). Wookie used to live here in the Penh but is now based in Singapore...so it was lovely catching up. I met her and a large group of people for dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in the French district of PP. If that makes sense? A cultural fusion some might say.
Then this morning, Ben and I met Wookie and her friend Claire that she was travelling with at Java for brunch, where again there was another fair crowd of people...popular is our Wookie! So I think Ben and I have eaten and socialised our way through the weekend quite successfully.
Now I must prepare myself to move on to week two of work and come Friday Ben's parents will be in town and we are off to Laos! Yay!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
There are times when living overseas really does suck. Today is one of them.
Right now our dear friends, Nic and Meliss are getting married. Their ceremony would be happening at this very moment and I sit here at the computer writing this blog whilst Ben is at work, trying to imagine how the ceremony is going.
We would have loved to have been at the wedding and shared in such a special day but since we cannot we want to express our happiness for them both and our most heartfelt wishes for their future together.
Nic and Meliss - we will be toasting your union with Cameron and Chanel today at Tamarind. Know you are very much in our thoughts xx.