Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a pig.
A close up of one of the hand made kites. Factory made kites are too expensive for most of the village residents. Notice the green ribbon on the front of the kite. During this day there were 4 kites in the air each with their own distinctive sound from their ribbons.
I have not flown a kite in years. The kite is large and the wind tuggs on it a bit. There is a 3 foot green ribbon on the front of the kite that vibrates in the wind releasing a harmonious sound.
After the funeral we all ate home made food (great food and this time no pig skin). In the afternoon after the funeral I joined with the residents of the village in flying hand made kites which is a favorite past time in Cambodian villages.
The villagers and I followed the monks and the casket to a huge cremation furnace. The monks recited a traditional Cambodian funeral song just prior to the cremation.
The evening before the wedding a resident of the village died. I was invited to the funeral the day after the wedding. The person who died was a 54 year old man probably from metastatic (spread throughout the body) cancer. Here I am walking with about 40 villagers behind the casket through the village. This walk was early in the morning and the temperature was in the low 60's. During the mid day the temp rises to the mid 80's in January.
Last weekend I was invited to a traditional Cambodian wedding in a village about 20 miles north of the capital city. The food was delicious although the vegatable soup had soft, gelatinous pig skin. Ahh, no thanks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This image should be before the previous image, but anyway, the 2 dishes in the foreground were diced, delicious salted meat with a hint of pepper. The dish and pot in the background contained sliced cucumber, baby sliced eggplant and bok choy-like vegetables. The vegetables are placed on a spoon, topped with a little helping of meat and then eaten. Chanang (tastey).
Here is a second dinner of Cambodian food by another family about 5 hours after a previous lunch seen on the next picture. Here I ate freshly caught and cooked river fish, fried eggs and sliced, white mango. This type of mango is eaten by topping a slice with cooked, delicious diced meat. This type of mango is not sweet. The sweet Cambodian mango is some of the best I ever had. By the way I have never eaten so much rice in my life as I have been doing for nearly 2 weeks now. I actually enjoy the rice now with every meal. 'Chanag' which is Cambodian for tastey.
Here is a family of one of my Cambodian friends. His parents invited me to their home and withion 30 minutes I was eating traditional Cambodian food seen on previous images. We are sitting on bamboo slathes (strips of bamboo that form the floor) on the upper level of the house complex which was built on 8 foot stilts. We ate sitting on the floor.
A large group of children not entirely shown here greeted us as we rolled into their village on a motorbike. I have a picture of the group of kids that I'll try showing later. I was impressed with the 'family' environment of this village. People literally invite you into their homes to eat or drink something and the whole family seems to get involved. I have been here just under 2 weeks and I have been in more homes and have eaten more home cooked meals then on any other trip.
Here I am eating wild, fresh honey from a honeycomb that my friend found on a branch of a tree. The honey was intense and utterly delicious. It was so intense that I could not eat the entire comb in one sitting.
My Cambodian friend here found a honeycomb on a branch on the rice farm in the Kandal province. See the next image.
My 2 Cambodian friends have recently invited me to their 'homeland', a province called Kandal about 18 miles north of Phnom Penh (capital city of Cambodia). The parents' home was built on large wooden stilts.
The 3 cooks at the apartment that I am staying at have been cooking great meals like these home made spring rolls.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quick update

Hi everyone:
Phewww! I have been all over. I befriended a local who speaks good English and who has taken me to places that only locals go. They had a national holiday here on Jan 7 and I was invited to visit my local friend's homeland about 40 miles north of Phnom Penh (capital of Cambodia). The holiday was to celebrate the fall of the Khmer Rouge. I road on the back of a motobike. I will upload the pictures soon of my experience there: I ate traditional Khmer food by his mother and another family and I ate fresh wild honey with the honeycomb from a tree branch. Also the hospital experience is awesome. I am seeing many fascinating diseases. The doctors and nurses are eating up my video collection as I teach. Several doctors want copies for their departments. I will upload pictures soon. Take care. Dr. D.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This is my modest room accomodation in a 3 story complex. Toward the end of a long journey I began to feel like a zoned out zombie, sort of the feeling toward the end of a night shift. With a fan at my side I hit the sack hard and out in minutes. By the way I share the apartment with 5 other volunteers: two young ladies (one from France and the other England), a young man from Luxengburg, a young man from Canada and the 5th I don't know.
Despite little sleep in the 2 days it took me to get here (yeah, as if I'm not used to little sleep after working evenings and night shifts) I headed for the nearest market. With the warm, breezy air and the sites and the smell of food in this market it hit me; I'm in for an adventure.

First image in Cambodia.

This is my first posting image. I snapped this shot just after deplaning in Phnom Penh airport.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I am here finally in Cambodia

Hi everyone:
I made it to Cambodia after a seemingly endless 2 days of flying. I arrived @ 09:30 AM on Jan 3, 2009 and the temperature was about 70 with a cool breeze. Despite little sleep I unpacked and hit the streets. I walked about 10 blocks to a large central market and soaked in all the sites. The chef at the apartment complex that I am staying at made me and 4 other volunteers a Cambodian lunch and dinner. The meals were full of veggies and small slices of meat. Tomorrow I will be on the hunt for chocolate. I will try to post a few pictures tomorrow. Take care. Dr D.