Thursday, November 30, 2006

Travel log from times past

Kuala Lumpur Carrefour durians July 2006

I was cooking tofu and vegetables for lunch today on my one-burner camp stove when I was reminded of an enjoyable evening outside of Kuala Lumpur with a friend of a friend.

This friend had picked us up for an afternoon of seeing something more than just was KL urban center had to offer. We got a tour of the Carrefour department store and supermarket, then drove around the suburbs. For dinner we were given the choice of Indian or Chinese food. Since Indian food in Malaysia would probably be too spicy, we opted for Chinese food.

Kuala Lumpur Carrefour coconuts July 2006

My friend ordered for us and the dishes just started coming in Chinese tradition. Fried Frogs legs, some kind of a fish, another seafood type thing, vegetables and on. The frog's legs were different, yet had a taste I could get used to. Overall the food was really delicious though not what I normally would choose.

What we didn't know until after the meal was finished was that it was a completely vegetarian Chinese restaurant. So, it wasn't frog after all, but a soybean version. What a pleasant surprise, and yet how foolish I felt getting disgusted at the seafood and frog's legs.

I like dining experiences like that!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Forgotten birthday

Yesterday was a birthday that was supposed to be important, but forgotten by most. The birthday boy didn't say that it was important, merely that it was going to be his birthday. Admitedly, I forgot until 7:45pm on the birthday night, but it was too late. He already was at another person's birthday (and apparently didn't have any fun - boo hoo!).

The next day it was announced that nobody remembered his birthday and therefore he was unimportant, so he will no longer think of the 28th of November as a special day.

What is the lesson learned? Him: don't make this day special anymore. Me: Tell people when something is important to you and what they can do to make it special. Don't expect them to do your thinking for you!

If it's going to be your birthday, or any other special day, PLEASE, let me know about it and what you'd like done!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Too much or too little

Sugar Palm Tree

What can I say? There's either too much happening or not enough things to do. I just don't have the time to journal every single last thought in my mind. Where's that brain plug that I need so I can just download, or is it upload, my thoughts directly to my blog?

School: going well. I don't feel so inundated with stuff. There's only 4 weeks left!

Pig Project: The fundraiser's coming along well with the products sorted out and pictures taken. Just waiting for all the products to be ready for final organizing and packing for the sale in January during my holiday tour. By the way, I'm going to be selling some locally made handcraft items when I come through Cali in Dec/Jan. All proceeds go directly to the village families for buying and raising piglets for fattening and sale. It's an investment in providing alternative profit-making ventures beyond the rice growing and harvesting.

Umbrella Tours: There's a 20 person group arriving on Dec 20 from Singapore. It'll be our official first customers. But it can be a real headache to manage the finances of this.

Personal: I'm happy, I'm sad. It's a little of both because there are so many ups and downs of life, especially in Cambodia. But overall, I'm content with what I'm doing. There's always plenty of opportunities for growth and character-building.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Suffering is character building!

Boat races at the Siem Reap Water Festival Nov 4-5 2006

Some days it just feels like I'm riding my bicycle through a continual dust bowl everywhere I go. Yesterday was one of the those days. I really enjoy when the dust settles and I can breath much easier.

Sunday evening provided an excellent lesson on suffering in ministry from a wonderful person who had just gone through a bunch of it. It was refreshing to hear a biblical viewpoint of lamenting (see the book of Lamentations) over our suffering rather than pushing it aside as ungodly.

There is a time for every season of life.

Boat races at the Siem Reap Water Festival Nov 4-5 2006

Boat races at the Siem Reap Water Festival Nov 4-5 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Holiday log: Cambodian Independence from France Day

Night train: Nong Khai to Bangkok, Thailand  September 2006

I don't really know what to do with myself today since I don't have to teach and it's a Thursday. A friend just left who was in town for a week, but he'll be back in December for about another week. It's good to catch up.

I've been waking up before 5:00 am lately, and today wasn't any different. However, I decided to lay in bed since I didn't have to be at school for my 6am class. It was nice, though I felt lazy since I could have been starting my laundry, taking a shower or folding clothes rather than zoning out flipping through TV programs, none of which were really that interesting.

I managed to take a shower and start folding clothes that had been piled up. Then it was time for breakfast at the Soupie.

The rest of the day is wide open.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A walk along the river

Boat races at the Siem Reap Water Festival Nov 4-5 2006

I've been walking along the river the past couple of mornings for some exercise. The only problem is the constant staring, and what would be considered rude comments in America (ohh, so big!), by the the Cambodians.

Most of them have come from the countryside anyway to race their boats in the competitions over the weekend. It is understood that countryside folks don't know what us foreigners look like and so we're all BIG to them.

I pretend like I am deaf and keep walking and looking elsewhere so as not to acknowledge the ignorant comments. It is for this reason that I know why I prefer to stay indoors during these festival days. Too many people, too many vehicles and too much junk!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Morning bike ride

I just realized that my previous entry was on Halloween and the subject matter was rather critical. Hmmm. . . Could there be a connection?

On to brighter and more interesting things. . .

I was up at 5:00 this morning and I didn't even have to teach at 6:00 like usual. But laundry was calling. I managed two loads in my kitchen sink (I handwash all my clothes. I don't trust the laundry shop anymore.) I got it hung on the line and then went on to the next chore. . .

Shopping at the market this morning cost me 500 Riel (15 cents) to park my bike as opposed to the usual 300 Riel (5 cents), since this is Water Festival Weekend, so therefore all parking fees must increase. I picked up my vegies and beef to make myself lunch today, for a change of pace from my most recent routine of going out somewhere to eat.

I took my bag of food and popped it in my bike basket and wheeled off in the direction of the river road. The plan was to get in some pictures of the boat racing activities to take advantage of the better morning light (I'm starting to think more photographer-like). I got a usual comment from some teenage boys, "Ohh. big, big." You don't really want to know my witty comeback in Cambodian. They shut-up quick, though.

Boat races at the Siem Reap Water Festival Nov 4-5 2006

I rode around and snapped shots then pulled in to school for some work and sorting out copy requests and lesson plans for the next week since I have a whole 3 days of holiday: Saturday, Sunday AND Monday. Yippee!

I'm feeling very happy today. To top it off a friend from California showed up and I retrieved some much-longed-for red vines (the wide kind). Can you hear me smiling?