Thursday, January 31, 2013

Keys to the Kingdom

I was home for about thirty seconds today.

jan 25 2013

Coffee with grandparents, reading while my mom got her hair cut, lunch with the family, grocery shopping, bottling wine with my dad, drinks with a friend and getting together with a bunch of fine ladies.

dress: tailor made in Vietnam
tank & leggings: Cotton On
boots: Ayla

Today I'm thankful for friends. Wow, I've missed you. 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Angkor Wat

Ok, Cambodia. You got us. After travelling through South East Asia for over a month we finally got sick. Really sick. Sick for 2 weeks, sick. I don't know if it was something we ate, too much sun, the flu, the slimy water we swam in or a combination of all. Either way, it sucked. 

All my life I've wanted to explore the temples at Angkor Wat. I think it's amazing, beautiful and so old. I was hoping to spend at least one whole day riding a tuk-tuk and walking around ruins and temples. 

The plan did not come to fruition. Even though it was rather early in the morning it was so, so hot already. And it turns out that even though we were feeling heaps better it wasn't enough. 

Look at that face! So ill. 

We were only able to walk about 10 meters before taking a 20 minute rest. I was fully concentrating on not fainting the whole time. What a shame we couldn't really appreciate the wonder and beauty around us. 

Even though we had hired a tuk-tuk for the day and already paid him, we went straight back to the hotel after about an hour. It took over a day of resting to recover from that adventure. 

Today I am thankful that our hotel had air-conditioning, a mini fridge, and a TV with Discovery Channel (and other English channels) since we spent over a week lying in bed there! Sadly there was no hot water so showers were not very relaxing!

We did manage to take a few photos, if you fancy a very abbreviated look at Angkor Wat, Cambodia pop on over to Mind the Ramp


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Maybe tomorrow

It appears that I only get dressed in clothing suitable for public consumption a couple of times a week.

jan 24 2013

I applied for jobs, shook my bum at Zumba and then dominated at trivia. Pretty good day in all. 

tank: Cotton On
skirt: Target
blazer: Ricki's
leggings: Cotton On
boots: Ayla

Today I'm thankful for generosity. Right now I'm living a pretty borrowed life. I'm house-sitting for neighbours for a few months. I'm also lucky enough to borrow my aunt and uncle's car while they spend a week in balmy Panama. 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Dr Fish

Have you heard of Dr. Fish? It's basically where you put your feet into a tank and little fish nibble off your dead skin. I'd always wanted to do it but was a bit scared because, really? I don't like anything with little bones and fish sort of gross me out. 

Oh my goodness it was the funniest thing I've ever experienced! I giggled and wriggled for about 15 minutes! It's so tickle-y! The best part of any day was walking down the street and seeing older ladies trying it and just laughing and laughing as their husbands took photos. 

It was $3 (US) for 30 minutes plus you got a free beer and the guarantee that there were no piranhas in the tank! What a deal! 

I'm not sure I ever need to do it again but I'm so glad that I did. I love love love laughing and that was such a funny thing! I asked the owner if he has to feed the fish as well. He said that on a busy day our foot skin was enough for his little fish! EWWWW!

Today I am so thankful for trying new things, even when they scare you a bit. Totally worth it. 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Show & Tell

How was you week, pals? I wrote ALL THE COVER LETTERS. Or at least a few. Hopefully it results in a job. I also shook my bum around with my mama at Zumba.

And also HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY to all my friends down under! 

How about some cool things? Huh?

Since getting an iPhone I've discovered all sorts of things that can make it more personal. Gala Darling writes about blinging out your phone.

The difference between modern sizing and vintage sizing. Now you know!

I found this on the amazing Edenland blog. I spent this Christmas in Phuket. It was one of the hardest hit areas of Thailand in the 2004 tusnami. This could have been me, 6 years later. This is really upsetting to watch, these poor people didn't know what was happening. And they could do nothing. If you notice the sea doing funny things, get out of there immediately. Ok? And remember all those people who lost everyone and everything...

This is so interesting. Families worldwide pose with what they would typically eat during the week. We are so different but so the same. It's a bit confronting when you realize how much we eat compared to most others in the world. And also the way that we eat, everything being in cans and boxes. The photos with the fresh food are so much better.

Anything cool in your world? Share share!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Sweet little succulent crab

The Gentleman Caller and I popped down the coast to a smaller beach town called Kep. 
I really liked this lady, sitting alone out on her point. I love that someone has lovingly draped her with fabric. I've seen other photos and her clothing is always different. I wonder who does that?

The beach was lovely. Not white sands but far less crowded. Many children seemed to love being in the water but when we went in it seemed to have a bit of an oily residue. Pleasant to bob around in, not great when you got out of the water and felt a bit slimy. 

We walked down to the Crab Market and sat ourselves down in one of the restaurants jutting out over the sea. We watched the waves roll in and the ladies check on their crab traps. I ordered crab in Kampot pepper sauce. It was incredible! Yet utterly unladylike!

Today I am thankful for seafood. I grew up in a landlocked province and never knew the sea. I always thought I hated eating fish until I moved to the coast of England. Turns out I just never knew how to cook it. It is such a treat to be able to try fresh seafood so affordably when we have to pay a pretty penny for pre-frozen stuff back home. 

As always, more photos at Mind the Ramp!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Beach time in Sihanoukville

Sometimes you've just got to get out of the city and spend some time on the beach. We took a bumpy, lumpy bus ride from Phnom Penh to Sinhanoukville. 

What I liked most about this beach was that the local children and families were out and about having fun. This may have been because it was a holiday (which caused the prices of hotels to skyrocket!).

It was so pleasant to spend our days walking along the beach and playing in the waves. And our evenings having dinner on the beach, while a storm rolled in across the water. How romatical!

If you fancy reading about our 'Happy Pizza' experience and seeing more seaside photos, hop on over to Mind the Ramp. 

Today I am thankful for the way that the sun shines when the day is nearly done. It's such a magical time that I rarely take notice of. 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A spell to change my fate

Even when you don't have a job, Fridays are pretty good days.

jan 18 2013

Purple is the colour of royalty. That's why this fabric was chosen for the dress I had made for me in Vietnam.

Red is the colour of Brave (oh my gosh! I love that movie! It's my new Little Mermaid!) which is why it was chosen for my new hairs.

thermal top: Walmart
dress: Su Shop, Vietnam
belt: Friends, Cambodia
tights: Ricki's
shoes: Steve Madden

Since I'm living at my parents house I had an audience for my photos. My mom was folding laundry and unexpectedly got into the spirit!

How cute is she!!

Here's a close up on the new cheveaux:

Today I am thankful for people with a vision. I told my stylist vaguely what I wanted and she made me feel like a lady again. It's so nice to have soft, shiny hair that is so much healthier!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kneaded: Phnom Penh

Today I paid someone to walk on me. Repeatedly.

There is just something about a total stranger kneading your body like a bit of well-loved dough.

Maybe it's because we all carry such heavy things (children, bags, hearts, hurts) all day long and it feels great when those get rubbed out. Maybe it's something to do with the sense of touch and how we all need that.

And it great (so freakin' great) when you partner gives a massage but it's all sensual and lovey dovey (which is also great) but this? No need to make conversation or do anything other than close your eyes. And try to put your hands in the right place.

My first massage I think I freaked out a bit. What do I wear? Nothing? Are you kidding me? Someone will be touching me? Won't they we judging my wobbly bits? What if I make the wrong noises?

Noises like this:

And this:

As I've grown older I'm of the opinion that this body? My body? This is not the worst that these professionals have ever seen. So when they told me to get changed right there on my bed, one of 4 separated only by flimsy see-through curtains, I thought 'eh?'

And when the funny Cambodia fishermans pants that they gave me to wear did up strangely and basically showed my crotchal area and I realized that I was wearing the most inappropriate underwear possible for this occasion (in my defence I had to wear special occasion underroos because it's laundry day), I thought "well, what are you going to do?"

And then she twisted and pulled me in the most extraordinary positions. But it didn't hurt. It just felt like the stretch I needed. And when she stepped on my back I heard that crunch that I have been trying to get at for weeks. And when there was a head massage involved... mercy.

But here's my problem. I have such a hard time getting my head to shut up. For at least half the massage I was thinking about the day and tomorrow and next year and food and what I was going to write about this experience. Dude. Be cool and concentrate on the now. That is always my downfall. But I'm learning. Perhaps next time it will only take me 15 minutes to calm down my monkey mind.

So. Massages. Any words of wisdom to quiet the mind? Any particular kinds that should be tested out?

* * *
Since I first wrote this we have been fortunate enough to enjoy 10 massages (well, one mani-pedi for me). Each one is a little different, some more relaxing than others, some able to crack our tough and stiff backs. What I didn't expect was how comfortable some of these ladies are with rubbing down strangers. I have never been massaged up quite so very high on my inner thigh and was surprised when I got my boobalas done as well. It was good, just different from our experiences at home. And if they were cool with it, so was I.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Hard Day

I woke up this morning at 6:30 with a sense that something wasn't quite right. I couldn't figure it out so I got back into bed. Then I just had to make sure that the passports were in my purse. Except that I couldn't find my purse. I started throwing clothes into one corner in case it was there somewhere. It wasn't. I slowly had a panic attack, leaning against the wall while the Gentleman Caller ran downstairs to see if I left it where we were drinking more than enough pitchers of beer last night. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. All I could do was make a high pitched moaning noise out of my nose and look around wildly. All my money. All my cards. Passports. Camera.
Thankfully, wonderfully, it was at the reception desk with everything still in it. It took over an hour for my heartbeat to return to normal.

We hired a tuk-tuk for the day and after the first one broke down and we got another, we headed to Choeung Ek, the killing fields. This is one of the places that the Khmer Rouge took people who might have been associated with Cambodia's former government, detractors, professionals, intellectuals, even those who wore glasses (association with the educated) to execute them. 

It was hard. There was an audio guide and I was crying before the first entry had finished. Tens of thousands of people are buried there in mass graves. Men, women, children, elderly, babies. Bullets were expensive and precious so most were killed using the farming tools located nearby. I just... I just don't know. How can people do this to other people? To their own people? I know it keeps happening throughout history, again and again, and each time we never learn.

 As the rains fall and the ground settles bones, teeth and bits of clothing work their way to the surface. And we step over them.

The tuk-tuk took a shortcut back to Phnom Penh through an area I never thought I'd see. The road wasn't paved. We bounced along and into oncoming traffic. I saw a little girl playing on a huge pile of garbage. It was also her front yard.

We got to Tuol Sleng, S-21, the high school that was turned into a prison/torture camp. The school rooms had been divided into tiny brick or wooden cells. With leg irons and graffiti. Other rooms with photo after photo of the people who were tortured and killed. Rooms of photos. Some of them children. Many women with babies. 17,000 people (or maybe more) people were held there. 

When Phnom Penh was liberated only 7 were still alive. Seven. Two of the survivors were there sitting under a cheap umbrella to shade them from the sun, trying to sell their books. I couldn't buy it. And now all I feel is guilty. How could you come back to this place? Everyday? I burst into tears and hurried out of there.

The tuk-tuk took us home. I'm sure we didn't tip enough. I feel guilty about that. And almost want to go out and try to find him on the street. I feel like I've been fighting back tears this whole day.

Oh and also my shoes were stolen. Or I guess, swapped is a better way of putting it. I came out of an area to find that my neatly placed shoes were askew. And that when I put them on my feet they were definitely not my shoes. In fact, they were 2 sizes too small. And I know in the grand scheme of things, especially considering what I saw today, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't. But at the same time I'm so upset about it. I'd worn those sandals everyday for the last year. They were perfectly suited to my feet and comfy beyond all sense. I only have one other pair of shoes that broke in New Zealand and are held together with glue. And these are really uncomfortable. So now I have to go find another pair of shoes. I think I may need to have a small cry as the thunder rolls in for the nightly downpour.

Today I am thankful for peace.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining. They just shine."
                 - Dwight Moody

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Show & Tell

I don't even know what I did this week. Procrastinate I think. I know I need to start looking for work but I've secretly been putting it off because it's exhausting. Need to get on that one!

This image has no home. Can you help?

What have you been up to?

Here are some things that I like a lot:

Melbourne is where my heart is in Australia so if ever anyone does fancy going there, here are some tips of great things to do.

When I was little my grandpa made me a gorgeous dollhouse replicated after our own house. Downside? It is huge. This dollhouse in a 3-ring binder is a perfect solution!

Need a pep-talk?

When the Gentleman Caller and I were in Thailand we watched a lot of this Forever Alone video (I love how the guy awkwardly dances!). But in order to know who she is you have to watch this one first (you really only need the first bit). I think she really seems to enjoy hurdling and has such a great smile!

Megan's having a bloggy birthday party!

Want to become a morning goddess? I sleep in always (if I can). And I love it. But on the days that I wake early and everything is still and magical, I think maybe this is the time we're meant to be up and about.

This is so interesting and a little heart-breaking. Abandoned suitcases of Insane Asylum patients.

What are you into? Sharing is caring!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Holiday in Cambodia

Phnom Pehn, Cambodia was my first experience with tuk-tuks and their persistent form of yell-advertising. Saying 'no thank you' literally 150 times a day gets pretty exhausting. The question is if I said no to your buddy beside you, do you really think I'll change my mind in the two steps it takes to get to you? But to be fair, the couple of rides that we had were pretty fun. 

We didn't go into the Royal Palace because I was not dressed appropriately as my shoulders and knees were showing. It wasn't too big of a loss because most of the palace was closed due to the passing of the king. 

When the Gentleman Caller and I went to the Killing Fields someone swapped their shoes with my own (that's a story for another day). These are the shoes I had to buy to replace them. They are both cute and a little bit too much. I miss my plain black ones. 

For more photos of sidewalk haircuts and homegrown gas stations click on Mind the Ramp!

Today I am thankful for hot weather and many options for show buying in the markets. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Relearning the ropes

Since being home I haven't really put much effort into getting dressed. Partly because it's cold, partly because most of my clothes were frozen solid in storage, and partly because I have no where to go and no one to see.

Jan 17 2013

Today I had an outing! A coffee date!

dress: Viva La Body in Darwin, Australia
tights: ?
shoes: Hard Hearted Harlot
necklace: gift from mamabear

It's only -15C (5 deegrees F) but it's rather chilly outside! I don't know how you outside photo bloggers do it!

Nope. Back inside. 


Today I am thankful for the kind of friends that you can not see for months or years and can just pick it up as if no time has passed. They are rare and blessed!