Posts Tagged With: Phnom Penh

My coconut man – self taught and speaking out

coconutmanI want to share with you a short snippet of the life of a man that I visit weekly in search of the best coconuts Phnom Penh has to offer. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Mr. Nara. Mr. Nara has a small coconut stand in front of his house on a street that is known as the coconut go-to of the city. Competing with probably more than 50 other coconut vendors, Mr. Nara spends his days from sunrise to long after sunset cutting open coconuts and selling them to thirsty passer-bys. He has a wife and a two year-old daughter who also take shifts to manage the stand – his wife has recently started making coconut jelly to sell as well. Continue reading

Categories: Daily life in Cambodia, Politics | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Ode to the granny bike

grannyDutch blood runs through my veins. My legs are genetically supposed to begin making cycling movements before I even start to walk…

In my volunteer programme, we are generally expected to ride bicycles if our workplaces are within 5km or so from our homes. Living in Phnom Penh, most of us reside close to work. When I arrived and had a look at the chaotic city traffic and chronically potholed roads, I thought there was no way I was getting on a bicycle. Not even to mention the fact I had arrived in Cambodia under that stifling heat at the beginning of the rainy season and daily flooding. Other volunteers encouraged me to get on a bicycle and give it a try – which I did once – and subsequently made a decision to never try again. Alternatively, I decided to focus my Dutch genes on spinning classes at the gym with machine bikes, cute instructors, and pounding dance music! Continue reading

Categories: Daily life in Cambodia, Personal, Volunteer | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

R.I.P. Dara – a skilled teacher, inspirational storyteller and undying romantic

daraToday I received the sad news that my Khmer teacher, Dara Than, passed away this morning in Phnom Penh. Dara is very well known among the VSO and Cuso community here and introduced many and most of us to the Khmer language during our first weeks upon arrival. Dara had an extremely unique sense of humour. He would often intertwine a romantic twist into his lessons and belt out a few lines from country songs like “Don’t Cry, Joni”. He has a life story of both unimaginable tragedy and uplifting inspiration. He kept our intensive classes full of laughter even during moments of regular frustration that foreign language-learning can induce. He also let us into his past at times and shared moments of unthinkable human acts during the Khmer Rouge . Continue reading

Categories: Culture, Personal | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

My 6 Phnom Penh stars******

starI used to move around the world a lot. Changing city or country was easy, and the people I met along the way make up the foundation of the memories I have today. Before coming to Cambodia, I had been in Canada almost five years – a sort of break from globe trotting. Although in those five years I moved from Vancouver to Ottawa to Toronto and back to Vancouver, I definitely had the sense of stability in re-discovering my Canadian-ness. I dare say I got used to it. By the time I left Vancouver in June 2013, I felt a tsunami of emotion. Continue reading

Categories: Personal | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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