Breakfast gadgetry

There was great excitement at breakfast today – well from me, at any rate.  I walked into the dining room to be greeted by a brand, spanking new coffee machine … and it works perfectly!  Chay, the assistant manager, told me proudly that they’d spent $4,500 on it. It’s the sort that grinds the beans…

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Cooks in tuk tuks

I’ve been to a cookery class.  A local hotel runs half-day classes which start with a visit to the market with the chef. She bought some of the ingredients for the meal we were going to cook. These are banana flowers, used to make a salad. No part of the animal goes to waste –…

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The Khmer Relief Spa

I decided to indulge in a massage, and the Khmer Relief Spa came highly recommended. When I arrived I was given iced jasmine tea, with a lotus flower looking very zen in a little bowl on the tray.  I was then invited to choose my massage, and opted for the anti-stress release, advertised as ‘a…

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A spot of culture

Whilst I was busy getting lost the other day, I happened upon a shadow puppet show being put on in the grounds of a local restaurant by some students. They had written the show themselves, and were performing it to raise money for their school. In a more conscious effort to learn more about the…

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Misunderstood crocodiles

As I finish school at three on a Friday, I decided to go on a jaunt afterwards and visit something nearby.  I was investigating the possibilities and came across the crocodile farm, which advertises ‘crocodiles of various sizes and dispositions’.  I found this intriguing because I’d been led to believe that all crocodiles were of…

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A technological first!

I thought you might like to hear the wedding music that’s started up again this morning, so have made a one-minute recording from my bedroom. Turn your speakers up to full blast and play on a continuous loop for three days for the genuine experience.  

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Celestial planning permission

You can see what look like small shrines on poles outside buildings all over Siem Reap and the surrounding villages.  These are called Neak Ta and the tradition dates from pre-Angkorian times ie before the 9th Century, when people had animist beliefs. It is important to build one before you build your house, to ask…

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A disturbing discovery

Today I made a disturbing discovery. As if running the country wasn’t taxing enough, our esteemed Prime Minister has another job; she’s moonlighting as a teacher at Biff and Chip’s school. All I can say say is that she makes a bit more of an effort when she’s in Parliament, and actually she scrubs up…

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Another day, another dollar

Much as Garrison Keillor always began, ‘Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon’, I could always start ‘Well, it’s been a hot week in Siem Reap.’ Despite the heat, the children race around just like children everywhere. These girls play rope-jumping before school, and can jump it at incredible heights by flicking it…

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It’s just not cricket …

I took a trip out to the spice garden, where I was the only visitor and the staff were all far too busy to take any notice of me. So I wandered around, enjoying the huge number of butterflies everywhere.  There were a lot of pepper vines – Cambodia is famous for producing very good…

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The school party

On Friday we had a party – in fact we had two parties, one for the morning classes and one for the afternoon classes.  The party was funded by a group of student physiotherapists from Australia who have been working with the special needs unit for three weeks.  All the children came in wearing their…

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The purple Pringle

A couple of months ago I watched a programme where the sprightly septuagenarian Angela Rippon skipped around the world looking for the secret of eternal youth.  She found it on an island in Japan, where the average age of the inhabitants is about 150, and the secret ingredient in their diet is the purple sweet…

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