why conservation is a losing battle

Seemed like all restaurants we went to in Ratanakiri will serve any and all types of wild-caught meat. The more endangered it is, the greater the demand. But the most creative menu I found was at a restaurant in Kampot, where threatened species each had its own conservation poster hanging on the wall. Diners point at the posters to order that particular meat dish :-\ … [Read more...]

a Ratanakiri sunset

Sunset views from the east side of Boeung Kan Siang Lake, in Banlung, Ratanakiri, Cambodia. This side of the lake is where food stalls and mats are set up. It's beautiful, sitting on the bank eating fertilized duck eggs -- such peace and quiet with just the occasional ash wafting by from slash and burn practices (deforestation? shifting cultivation?). Photos by Keith Kelly. You see the smoke from these burning fields practically everywhere you go in the province. I guess that makes for pretty sunsets.. … [Read more...]

Living in Phnom Penh, Having a baby in Bangkok

Photo by Keith A Kelly CHOOSING THE HOSPITAL We work and live in Phnom Penh, and wouldn't feel comfortable with the specialists / facilities here in case of complications during delivery. The nearest city with internationally accredited care is Bangkok, so there we went at 35 weeks 6 days gestation, the latest we’re allowed to board a Thai Airways flight (with a fit-to-fly certificate from the doc). Most of Bangkok's well-known private facilities have high quality patient-oriented care and great customer service. They have translators, can take care of extending  visas, take the baby's passport photo (this isn't easy so do get this done at the hospital!), get the birth certificate officially translated and documented at the Ministry of … [Read more...]

scene in Kampong Cham

Here are scenes from a recent trip to visit a colleague in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. For more photos see Keith Kelly's flickr. For some reason, the cloud formations around here are really cool, especially during the rainy season. They get big and puffy like the clouds you liked to think were bunnies or pandas or other cuddly creatures in the sky when you were a kid - cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds is what I think we used to call it in 2nd grade. It makes for dramatic sunsets. Except the rainy season has refused to come to SE Asia so far this year, and any gorgeous sunset is completely lost on our poor melting gray cells. Looking for a great meal? This coconut oil fried fish from the Two Dragons … [Read more...]

Bamboo bridges and river rafts

Would you believe this bamboo bridge in Kampong Cham has to be reconstructed from scratch at the end of each rainy season? The land shifts with the Mekong River flows, and the bamboo washes away with its floods. The folks living on the island get separated from the mainland and use boats for transport. More photos on Keith Kelly's flickr. And THIS is how they'd transport SUVs and other similarly heavy equipment across the river, by tying two boats together and nailing a wooden plank on top. I used to cringe every time I traveled this way across raging rivers over a kilometer wide, but now I know these things are indestructible. You just gotta believe. … [Read more...]

late night soup messenger clak-clak-claking down the street

So Keith and I were the other night having a few drinks at Rising Sun by the river when the Soup Messenger came by. Here's what it sounded like: [audio:https://www.abejero.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Sound-clip-clak-clak1.mp3|titles=Sound clip clak clak|righticon=0x0000ff] It's a relic of the olden days, when food carts roamed the city streets and a little boy was sent ahead to let people know the food is coming. The kid taps a stick against a piece of bamboo, the sound of which the dead of night really carries-- especially back when houses were mostly wooden. (The concrete shophouses along the river also bounce a healthy bit of noise). The sequence and rhythm of the clak-clak-clak is code for what kind of food they sold - bohboh (rice … [Read more...]

offerings to the small lost souls..

This post is about Merenang Kang Veal, the memorials and offerings to those who've passed into the next life while still very young (from the aborted to the stillborn to those who died at a very young age). The relationship with nature and all living things whether still on earth or physically gone is still very tangible and real in Asia and the Khmer's Buddhist tradition. These shrines and offerings are an effort by those still alive to pay respects and appease the wandering and lost spirits. Notice the toys and miniature clothes, food and water given as offerings. We're doing some research into these to find out more about them. Stay tuned! … [Read more...]

sunset scenes on the Mekong

Time for some pics around town.. who knows how long I've got in this beautiful country ;-) … [Read more...]