Monday, February 18, 2008

Everything old is new

I see many new faces and places and some old (well, not really). It's good to re-connect with those who I saw regularly before and fun to re-visit the favorite eating establishments. It's also fun trying out new ones that have cropped up in the six months of my absence.

The old standbys:
  • Khmer Kitchen: still slow in serving food, but tasty as ever
  • What Bo? Cafe: pork chops and fried fish with coconut rice are delicious, though the pork chops went up a dollar
  • India Gate: arguably, I suppose, the best Indian food in town with a new location, but same friendly Indian staff with superb memories and fantastic naan
  • Cafe de la Paix: still serving up half-priced goodies after 8pm with lovely service

And, some new ones that are hit and miss:

  • Red House Pizza: a big NO on this place cause who puts peanuts on their pizza?
  • Common Grounds Cafe: a new coffee house supporting the NGO People for Care & Learning has great looks, tasty drinks and food, and comfy seating with WiFi

I'm on a mission to volunteer my skills and services to whomever might want to partake of them while I'm here. So far I am working on a promotional and marketing campaign for a 4-year old NGO called Angkor Association for the Disabled (AAD). This organization has been spearheaded by the extraordinary efforts of a landmine victim whose giant heart wants to see the end of discrimination of the disabled among Cambodians. However, awareness of the issues and obtaining financial support are the first priorities in order to feed and house the beneficiaries. Not only that but they are battling bad press by a former dance troupe manager who has attempted to discredit the organization and has nearly succeeded.

I watched a practice of their dance performance and it was fantastic. These young victims of disease and landmines are beautiful to watch as they pour their hearts into sharing the very personal story of overcoming tragedy on the road to triumph. Their talent goes beyond dance into wood carving and handicrafts. They each have incredible stories to share.

It is my hope that I can assist them in finding regular venues to showcase these talents locally and maybe even beyond.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Back in the Heat (and LOVING IT!!!)

What fun it is to be back in the 'ol stomping grounds again. Though this time I am not required to do a single thing but enjoy the sights and sounds, and smells (but that is more like disgust).

Greeted by family upon arrival as my surprise, I was sweeped away to the brother's apartment for rest and relaxation. I was still trying to shake a cold the came on two days before departure so I wasn't feeling the best. It was a combination of a head cold and jet lag that made me feel uneasy. I still managed to go out on the town (more like the big mall). We had pizza (The first time for the parents. Watching them trying to figure how to use a fork and knife to cut and eat pizza was novel.) I was definitely happy to have some homemade Cambodian food. I certainly missed it.

After a lovely afternoon, evening and morning in Phnom Penh with the family, it was back to Siem Reap on the long bus ride. We arrived in the evening and after waiting for another brother to pick us up, I was escorted to the place where I'd be staying. My first night we had pork chops. Oh, those wonderful pork chops at What Bo? Cafe. I love 'em!

Now I'm getting settled and riding my bike around town for errands and such. It's almost as if time didn't stop, except for the fact that there are more businesses, buildings and cars on the road.

Stay tuned for more updates!