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Archive for November, 2010

Nov '10

Ant Forecast Calls for Rain

When we were at Angkor Wat this weekend, our guide noticed a stream of ants climbing up a ruined wall. “It’s going to rain,” he said. “They always come in when it rains.” There was a smattering of rain while we were there, and a shower that night. Last night a parade of ants trailed […]

Nov '10

Now I Know My ABCs

Nearly all of them, anyway. It won’t be long to collect the whole set. Here’s some art I picked up for my apartment – an alphabet poster. The consonant song covers all of the big letters, and the vowel chant pronounces the smaller ones at the bottom. Some of the pictures are mystifying. Is that […]

Nov '10

We’re Cookin’ With Fire

I finished outfitting my kitchen today. My equipment list: countertop (free with the apartment) sink (free with the apartment) minifridge (free with the apartment) portable burner with fuel can – $10 electric kettle – $10 – immediately recouped by not needing bottled water small aluminum wok pan, large teflon wok pan, a spatula knife and […]

Nov '10

Thanksgiving Dinner

The Thanksgiving menu at the Common Grounds Cafe: pumpkin soup waldorf salad roast turkey (Butterball, brought from Phnom Penh) stuffing mashed potatoes and gravy cranberry sauce corn long beans and carrots a choice of pie: apple, sour cream apple, pumpkin, or pecan I brought an Australian and two Cambodians to dinner. They seemed to enjoy […]

Nov '10

What is the Water Festival?

The Water Festival is an annual three-day celebration that marks the Tonle Sap River reversing direction. During the rainy season the river overflows into the Tonle Sap lake, the great lake you see in the upper left of a map of Cambodia. When rainy season ends the water level drops, and the lake resumes emptying […]

Nov '10


Last night the streets were lit by candle light. The houses and stores in my neighborhood put a few candles and incense at the curb near their door. Most had rice, water, and fruit as well. I wonder if it was for the stampede victims.

Nov '10

Water Festival stampede

I woke up to the news of a stampede in Phnom Penh when a crowd of festivalgoers panicked. Very sad. Phnom Penh attracts the biggest crowds for the Water Festival, since it hosts the national finals for the boat races. What a terrible culmination of the festival.

Nov '10

Water Festival Preparations

Last week the boat teams brought their boats to the riverbank. They seat about twenty people. They’re very shallow, and look as though they’re made from one tree trunk. I couldn’t see any joins when I looked. All of the boats had incense or fruit or flowers in the bow, even during the races. They’re […]

Nov '10

Pan-Pacific Cultural Exchange

An Australian volunteer shared a treat from her care package. Cheezels, Australia’s first ring-shaped cheese snack. They’re cheese curls shaped like calimari rings. Exactly as delicious as you’d expect, Cookie Monster would call them an “only sometimes food”,

Nov '10

What’s on the idiot box in Cambodia?

A sampling of tv programs this week.