So we 1st spent a night in Phnom Penh which I haven't seen much of. And now have no great desire to revisit. It just seemed too big and so different from SR. Though I did want to visit the Kingdom Brewpub, a recently opened 1st ever micro-brew pub in Cambodia. I do miss the microbrews of the US especially Vt. pale ales. We searched out a Mex place, I know weird but it's what we did with the couple in SR, and found a good one. Though before we went there we entered another place that served mex food but found it also apparently served up women. As we walked in we realized it was filled with Western men and flashy Khmer women. It was obvious that the women were 'professionals'. We kinda got odd looks and decided perhaps we were in the wrong place and quickly left. Then we noticed on that street the bars were named Pussy Cat Club, 69 Club and the like. Not too discreetly named as the place we entered. An odd experience.
Mondulkiri is one of the provinces with mountains we visited and had a great time. It was cooler and seemed to not have mosquitos. They are really not that bad in SR but they are present. The highlights of our days there were riding elephants and washing elephants. And going to see these impressive waterfalls. It's a town and region that will most likely see a lot of growth, tourism, soon. A road there was just built last year and it makes it so much quicker to get to and accessible in rainy season when everything turns green, like Vermont. We also had great times talking to some local folks there.
From Mondulkiri we headed to the beach! We went to an island Koh Rung Soloem off of Sihanoukville. Specifically Lazy Beach www.lazybeachcambodia.com What a wonderful time we had there being lazy. The beaches were white sand and the water was crystal clear, and virtually no one on the beach that stretched out a long ways. The bungalows were sparten but clean and with showers and hammocks on the porch. Only 14 of them spread far apart and all overlooking the water. What added to the enjoyment of that was that the food served at the restaurant, the only food available, was excellent.
We spent our few days there not doing a lot, well it is Lazy Beach after all. We did take a hike through the forest, 25 min walk actually, to another deserted beach. And we did have a few games of Uno. We ate, drank, talked and I got maybe the 4th sunburn in my life. Not bad at all but I did peel. So it was great to see other parts of Cambodia and now has us itching to see more.
|That's Lazy Beach down there|
So we left there and headed back to Phnom Penh to say our final sad goodbyes to our Eastern European friends. We did promise them that we would visit them in Budapest. I've always wanted to visit Easter Europe and now we have friends to show us what I believe is a beautiful city. We will go at some point.
|Jess, Andras, Eszter, Olga and Gabor , me|
Back to routine of SR. And there is a routine now firmly established here. I like both the gigs I'm involved with as I've stated previously. And it seems like we still need to visit some eating establishments here that we've heard are good. We did go to a fairly new Italian place. Though a bit pricey, for here, the food was fantastic. We especially liked a dish that we loved to eat at the Trattoria Delia in Burlington, Vt., scamorza alla griglia, (smoked mozzarella with grilled veggies). We stared at each other elated as we took our 1st bite as it tasted just like the Trat's dish. The wine was good and Jess loved her gnoochi with porcini and cheeses and my spag Bolognese was delicious. Then the true test, panna cotta! Wow it was fantastic! Don't know how much we'll make our way there but it's great just knowing it's there.
|Teacher Srey Mien, Makarai, me, Eli from Portland , Ore., kids|
We met one of the owners, an Italian who has restaurants in Italy but said it's nearly impossible to open places there. So they decided to open a place in SR. Lucky us. And I understand one of the owners plays tennis with a Belgian guy I play. Another potential partner on the courts!
Weather has been surprisingly pleasant and also surprisingly it rained a few days in a row. Not typical for this time of year. Normally it's hotter and no rain, so we're enjoying the oddity. Folks keep telling us just wait, and we have been here in April so we do know it will get hot and humid soon.
Just a thought about foods and eating here. I am eating more fish and fruit here than I did at home. I think significantly more. And more pork and less chicken, but maybe more meat in general, beef also. Veggies about the same perhaps though maybe more greens. More beer and water and less wine. I have lost a bit of weight. Maybe because of riding my bike so much, have I mentioned I love riding my bike, or maybe I'm just getting old. On the other hand I'm still holding my own on the tennis courts beating 'youngsters' in their 20's-40's. Ha ha.
We'll be heading to Vt. in May and very much looking forward to that. I'm very curious as to how it will feel to be back in the states, back to an American/Western culture scene. And then to return 'home' after almost a month 'home'. We'll see.
|a great dad and kid pic|