at the end of the work week – blue crabs for lunch in Kep’s Psar Kdam

It's always nice when work takes you down to the coast. This is our team's last trip to assess public health facilities. That we were in Kep was much appreciated! Kep is a small seaside province which has been designated a resort area so it is rapidly developing - see some photos of Kep on our Flickr. The crab market (Psar Kdam) is an especially big attraction. There are all manner of seafood on the grill for sale here. Ten squid on a stick cost 20000Riel (US$5). Whole chicken on the grill is around 30000Riel too. Big fish are around 8000-12000Riel each. Blue crabs are the signature catch for Kep, so we splurged on these for lunch on our last day. For small crabs we were able to haggle 18000Riel/kg (~US$2/lb). For 35000Riel/kg the crabs … [Read more...]

a new color scheme

I've been separated a week already from my son and I am still shedding the tension from a year and a half of interrupted sleep/sleeplessness. So here's one way to de-stress - painting! I had to paint the place anyway (the previous tenants had a toddler who marked up the parts of the wall he could reach) and I had help so I figured, why not have fun with the colors! Seeing the vivid colors go up - stark against the white of the previous walls - made me momentarily think I've made a mistake. But now they're up I love it! More pictures later! … [Read more...]

one happy little boy

[Read more...]

Tuk-tuk rides: Look, ma, no seatbelt!

This little monkey is a a terror in the tuk-tuk. Thankfully the tuk tuk driver, Rithy, drives fairly slowly and cautiously, occasionally watching the boy from the rearview mirrors to make sure he hadn't fallen out (which is sadly his only use of these implements that we can determine). But luckily he fell asleep after we let him use the vehicle as a jungle gym for 20 minutes. A sleeping boy makes for a happy Papa! … [Read more...]

Medical consent form – Lost in translation?

This is the English translation of a surgery consent form included in the hospital guidelines. It has the gist, but perhaps it isn't quite what the writer meant..? … [Read more...]

the problem with the way we handled attachment parenting

The above image is from the 21 May 2012 issue of TIME magazine. "Are you mom enough?" - That headline just grabs you, doesn't it, questioning your values and your parenting. One thing we didn't anticipate, in all the planning and discussions about attachment parenting, is the difficulties in teaching our son to put himself to sleep, and to soothe himself back to sleep when he twitches awake in the night - without me. For the past 16 months I was perfectly happy to oblige his every request. I'm quite fortunate to work for an employer who's flexible to the needs of new mothers. There's a nursery at the office so you can nurse or pump during the workday, and until the child is a year old s/he and the nanny can be taken on work trips to … [Read more...]

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary

Desperately seeking green spaces in Phnom Penh? Just 40 km outside Phnom Penh is a rescue center for injured or trafficked animals. There are over 80 species including macaques, lions, tigers, bears, gibbons and crocodiles - most are endangered, rescued from the wildlife trade. The sanctuary sprawls across 2500 hectares of protected forest. It wasn't as terrible as I expected (small concrete cages with animals pacing in the heat, going mad) and the handlers are quite knowledgeable. Tristan got to see many animals he has only ever seen in pictures. To boot, there are a lot of trees with shaded areas. They're working on putting the crocodiles on a feeding schedule so that they can put shows on during the weekends like the elephants … [Read more...]

building communication skills to help with the Terrible Twos

At 15 months, we're getting a premature taste of the infamous Terrible Two stage. Our little boy's personality seems to be developing along what the books call "spirited" or "strong-willed", even "high-need" (although this last term is politically incorrect anymore). His Khmer nanny is bewildered and amused at the range, intensity and volatility of emotion he exhibits. He can be blissfully happy one second and thrashing about in a full rage for the next two hours. It sets him off when we don't understand what he wants. With redirecting a bit more difficult now we've had to be creative. Thankfully he's developed some decent communication skills early on. The fact that signing and verbalizing are still novel to him at this stage, and that … [Read more...]