For Khmer New Year (in April, at the end of harvest season ), one of my colleagues at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights invited us all to his parents' home for a party. New Year is a very big deal in Cambodia, with most people taking (at least the official) three days off work and going to their 'homeland' (as most people refer to their hometown) to their families.
rithchappaoen (in red), who threw the party, which was at his house. that's his mother in the purple.
there was much dancing going on!
my coworkers at cchr (except the guy in stripes. never met him.)
they kept saying 'another one...'
so i kept taking them. (chappaoen's older sister--whom he pointed out to me 'loves foreigners' and is very 'un-cambodian'--is on the right.)
virak, our president, and rupert, our program and development director, who hired me and who was also my housemate
me and tricota, one of my cchr colleagues, at our *next* new year's party. it was held at baitong, which is a restaurant owned by virak and rupert. (you can see by the backpack and ipod-in-hand that i had just arrived and was immediately roped into the picture-taking festivities.)
there was lots of posing going on at the beginning...
sreang and pheap
pheap and tric
tric and pheap with some of the women from the baitong staff, who also joined the party. it was a joint staff party, really. thrown by virak for all his employees. (also please note the awesome t-shirt on the woman on the left.)
chhapoaen and his sister join the picture-taking festivities.
unlike us westerners, most asians don't have to be falling-down drunk and coaxed into doing karaoke. if there's a microphone, someone will pick it up and sing. even right at the beginning of a party, which is what happened at this one.
and of course, there was food!
kalina, our finance and administrative director, was one of my favorite people at cchr. we shared many a nice lunch together (most often her food brought from home that she insisted i share).
kalina and pheap are two of the people on staff i became closest to. (and this is kalina's adorable son.)
...and much dancing later
at one point everyone started doing this line dance that everyone knew. i thought of it as the cambodian electric slide.
Much fun was had by all! su Sua Sdei Chnam Thmei! (Happy New Year!)
CHERRY COKE: eshable of litess jns or cherry in the wear no of litbus. Cabual food good nutritive value tue...I defy any of you to find meaning in any of this. I used to joke that in Asia it seeme that people sometimes just put random English words together to make a t-shirt or to name a store or something. But this, well...no of litbus. Need I say more?
I guess it was bound to happen. Still, I haven't quite stopped marveling at the genius of it yet. For the uninitiated, durian is probably the stinkiest fruit in existence. It doesn't actually taste that bad (though most people claim to hate it...yet it's sold everywhere so *someone's* buying and eating it, now, aren't they?), but the smell is truly so revolting that in some countries it is banned from being taken in shops, on airplanes, etc. Just what you want instead of 'white' flavor in your favorite sandwich cookie, right? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the Durio.
OK, I admit it. Last week I bought a small bag of New York steak flavored potato chips. Because, you know, I just had to. They weren't too bad. But while I'm sure the Good bean vermicelli is just that, and while you could argue that 'artificial spareribs flavour' is really no different from New York steak flavor, I won't be running out to purchase these. I guess I prefer the 'artificial' in my artificial flavor to be implied rather than invoked as a selling point . (Also, note the Dunkin' Munchkins/Happy Meal box design. Love it.)
The first time I saw something like this, in Mondulkiri, I thought it was funny and that the silver spray-painted coconuts I saw discarded in the trash were probably from some sort of celebration. Then came the banana, just lying right there on the street in Phnom Penh. Now I can't decide if this is something I should just leave as a mystery, or try to get a Cambodian friend to explain. Either way, it seems pretty clear to me this banana was eaten after it was painted. The mystery deepens.
The usual laundry in front of the home on the sidewalk hung as if for sale but clearly (at least in this case it's clear) not.
Yeah, I suppose you could be my son. Except you're a girl. (And really...where does that shirt come from? Maybe there was something on the back to give some indication, but...sorry.)
I think this is my all-time, all-world favorite ad.
asia laughs in the face of copyright infringement. hello cat! (these are gifts for my girls.)
and then there's just 'cat cat.' let's face it: cats sell.
I opened the bag of these mangosteen chewy candies I'd been giving out at the end of class to find it swarming with ants, the double plastic bagging I'd protected them with all for naught. Apparently one of the candy wrappers was open and thus the swarm came. I emptied them out onto the bed, separated the candy from the ants, and as I crushed the lot of them by methodically sweeping the side of my palm along the sheet and flinging it onto the floor, I told them: 'Live by the candy, die by the candy.' Served 'em right.
How could I resist a Bugle-like 'American Corn Snack'? Totally cornae, I know, but I've always been a sucker for Bugles. Why anyone would ever have thought of making a snack food shaped like a bugle is beyond me—though, strangely, that question had never occurred to me before contemplating Cornae (which are, in case you were wondering, far inferior tastewise to Bugles).
clean, hygienic, brittle, attractive, passes the muster of meticulous selection...like I said, how could I resist?
raphael *finally* made it out to a cs shithead night! continuing my tradition of shithead (which, for the uninitiated, is a card game) parties, i gathered a group of couchsurfers in phnom penh and we managed to have three fun shithead nights before i left. niall, bless him, was at all three!
Niall (who looks like he's posing for a mugshot) and Megan
Lindsay, Stani and Emily. As usual, it was quite a long while before we remembered to actually start playing the game.
I honestly don't remember what everyone was doing. Lisa is either looking in a mirror or reading someone's cigarette pack... (We actually had to move the gathering from out of the VIP room because we learned you couldn't smoke in there and there are literally only two members of the whole group who don't smoke.)
Savor Scentuary! (unisex bathroom at the Free Bird bar, where we held our last shithead night)
This is a urinal.
This is a urinal on pineapple. Better than moth balls, I say.
Lindsay outside Free Bird, waiting for us all to make a move.
My friend Sam and I in the garden of my house a few days before I left Phnom Penh. Little did I know I would see him less than a month later in the apartment I'd be staying in (recuperating) in Kuala Lumpur!
this little guy liked to hang around our house during the day (and fight with the most blood-curdling cries at night). when i first moved it he would run away from his favorite spot on my balcony (this one) as soon as i came up the stairs. the longer i lived there, the closer he let me get to him, but always i would get one step too close and he'd dash. until just a few days before i was leaving (and, sadly, the last day i saw him). he let me pet him--his belly and everything--and he purred like a baby. he even deigned to come into my room for all of 5 minutes. 'see what you've been missing this whole time, boo-boo?' i told him. i called him boo-boo, or boo-boo kitty. what a beauty. couldn't get him to open his gorgeous eyes all the way for the camera, unfortunately.
awww, boo boo kitty in the sunshine!
Who knew God drove a tuk tuk? A personalized tuk tuk at that. Or perhaps this is more one of those cases of ‘God is my co-tuk-tuk-pilot.’
what a slogan. (i'm sure the resemblance of the product's name to 'vegan' is pure coincidence.)
the community empowerment program staff at cchr, with whom i worked: sreypheap, savuth (the big cheese), samnang, daren and bunthoeun
Stani and me post-sunset at my going-away do at Snow's, my favorite bar in Phnom Penh
Nabil and Emma
Alyce and Krissie, both fellow volunteers at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights
Joanne (one of my first friends in Phnom Penh), Lindsay and Stani
Sarath and Chanthoeun, two of my colleagues at CCHR
Niall, Jo and Megan looking out over the river (A major part of why Snow's is my favorite bar is the view from the balcony at sunset. Phnom Penh proper is across the river, so you are looking out over it.)
Emma and Rupert catching up (I met Emma a few days earlier in Kampot and we found out we were both Couchsurfers and had quite a few friends in common (CS and non-CS alike) back in Phnom Penh, where she'd lived last year.) Rupert, my housemate and colleague at CCHR (and the person who hired me there) was one. Small world. Or country, at least.)
Stani and Emily
Virak, CCHR's fearless leader
me behind bars. and beads. (where I belong?)
me & Ru
lovely ladies Lindsay and Lisa...quadruple L!
me and snow's resident kitty
pizza delivery for dinner
these are all jo's pics...all of which she seemed to have taken when we were digging into the pizza...
nice face, mia.