Monday, August 9, 2010

Rice Paddy Pics

We've finished working in the rice paddies. I miss them. They are beautiful, peaceful, and completely foreign compared to anything we see in the U.S. Just a few pictures to share from the last few days...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Strange sights along roadways...

Deb here...We are constantly amazed by how hard Cambodians work. Even the simplest things, like getting from one place to another, or getting cargo from one place to another, is daunting in a country where few have cars and where cars are not even that useful if the roads have turned to squishy, rutted, clay car traps. Following are a few examples of how Cambodians transport themselves and their stuff…

You just cannot really imagine how they could get this truck any fuller than it is!

Taken through a rainy windshield, so not the best clarity, but you can get the idea that vehicles do not go anywhere unless they are being used at or beyond full capacity. You may be worried about the safety of the people on top, or about all the unbelted people inside the truck bed… but fear not for the front seat passenger. A new Cambodian law requires the driver and the front seat passenger to wear safety belts. So… two out of thirty will be just fine… probably.

It is not uncommon to see several large pigs being taken to market on a motorcycle. Sometimes there may be a litter of small (but not tiny!) pigs in a bamboo enclosure on the back of the motorcycle.

Motorcycles are used to carry way more cargo than I could ever imagine they were capable of. This man is bringing manufactured items in from the Vietnamese border to sell in Cambodian markets.

Sometimes motorcycles carry monks! Hard to see, but there are two monks as passengers on this bike (count the feet…), and a driver at the front. Monks are a bit like the Amish, they can get a ride on the moto, but they are not allowed to be the driver.

Buddha sometimes catches a left as well. Not sure about the exact rules for him, but I have not seen him driving anything yet.

In Cambodia, when the say “manpower”, they really mean it.

If you don’t have wheels to work with, you may have to use your head!

So… these are some of the odd things we see while we are on Cambodia’s highways and by-ways. One last photo: Strange scenes seen by Cambodians as they travel the roads in Kampong Thom’s rice fields…Us!

The Beginning...

So, Andy and I have been trying to "one-up" each other in terms of questionable delicacies indulged in, but we haven't shown you anything yet! In an attempt to make good with our viewing audience, here is a video of me ingesting a... "baby duck egg". Meaning, a partially formed duck/hardboiled egg surprise. Sound chgnang(delicious)? You bet it was!

Here's the video.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Finally, after three weeks, my first post and quick summary of whats been going down here in the adventure that is Cambodia

Here are some pics. They took a long time to download, so unfortunately I dont have the time to write any text at the moment. Hopefully I can write a brief summary of my experience and adventure thus far in Cambodia tomorrow, but for now enjoy the pics...

So finally after being here in Cambodia for over three weeks, Im going to attempt a quick overview/summary of my adventures so far. Ive met some interesting characters, seen ancient structures, and have experienced Cambodia's glorious natural beauty.

First off, like an earlier blog entry refered to, the travel over to Cambodia was quite brutal. Im not a huge fan of being couped up in a tiny place for a long extended time. I think overall with the flight and lay overs we spent roughly 30hours traveling to get to Cambodia ( not including the 5 hr drive to Chicago). On our last layover we landed in Taipei Taiwan. That seemed to be a very interesting place and I was hoping thats what Cambodia had in store for us. This first picture was taken in the airplane right before we landed in Cambodia

Once we landed in Phenom Phen, I noticed the humidity right away. I had known it was going to be hot and sticky, so I psyched myself out and the weather hasnt really affected me all that bad, but even the slightest physical activity causes one to sweat buckets. We didnt have much time to explore our surroundings, as we quickly were loaded onto a van by Deb's coleauge and friend, Kolap. We were off to Kampon Thom, where we would stay the majority of the time while in Cambodia. During this van ride, I was exposed to my first experience with Cambodia's traffic, and the lack of any traffic laws... pretty intense. Basically the only rule is make way for the biggest vehicle.

Our first week was sort of used as an adjustment phase. We basically did what we wanted, and had free reigns to go and explore the town. I did just that. I wondered around the town and had a bunch of random people stop me to talk to me. Sometimes it was to try and take me to a nearby temple sight and that I should hire these guys as a guide, but most of the time it was just people who were curious about me and where I was from and they often like to practice their English with me. The people here are very friendly and my first week, I felt like a celeb or rock star walking around. The coolest part is when tiny school children randomly stop you, practice their few phrases of English they know, and then bid you adieu. Here are a couple photos I had taken durring this first week.

si This first one was of a wedding set up I randomly walked by.
The second photo is of these little girls who are hired as the "street sweepers" I kind of feel bad for these girls because they are working out in the heat with these jacket/uniform things on. It cant be very pleasent and they probably get paid very little. But to be positive at least they have a job and can earn some money. These too were giggling at me as they watched me attempting to catch butterflies (and appearently making a fool of myself) by a nearby park where they were working.

And This last photo is of the river that is near the hotel we are staying at. I thought it was an interesting pic, and seeing how we have just arrive durring the rainy season, Im curious to see what the river will look like (how deep it has gotten) since the time we have been here..
So Ill take another pic at the same spot before I leave. I can tell already that it has risen considerably

As Chris's last blog entry has reffered to, him and I seem to be encouraging one another to try some of Cambodia's unique delicacy's, but Im sure most of you wouldn't call this stuff that. We first tackled crickets, and we were both surprised how good they tasted (mostly because they were deep fried and had a deep fried taste). I called them french fries with eyes, here are a few of the pics. We have already tried a few other of these, how can I say, wierd food choices, which include frog, eel, chicken ovary and undeveloped egg. The durian fruit (which suprisingly was the only thing that I hated, and I hear this fruit drive the people in this region crazy, uck!) and a few other things I cant think of off the top of my head.
But we still must take on the tarantula, which Im sure there will be a good vid soon. But for now check out the recent vid Chris just posted of him eating an under developed duck egg! I still must try this.

Also durring this week, I decided to get a little adventurous and kicked it into outback mode. Before I left the states, I picked up a very handy guid from Nat Geo on Cambodia. This guide has given me alot of valuable tips and ideas to explore here in Cambodia. So I read up on a few of the temple sights that were around the area and found that they were in a tuk tuk range of time to go and explore.

Here are a few pics of the "creepy crawlys" all of us are more than ethusiastically chasing around here in Cambodia. We have started up a bug collection to bring back to the university and so far we have caught some very fascinating things. There are also alot of lizards running around this place. Oten a gecko will accompany us at dinner. Some of these lizards are very elusive and seem to escape both the catch of my hand and of my camera. I found the praying mantis outside of a school in a garden and the milliped was scurrying around an ancient temple.

Again Ive ran out of time so this story must be concluded another day...




















Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back in KT

Well, we're back in Kompong Thom to accomplish our stated goal of measuring rice paddy biodiversity! I'm not sure if it's because we've been here for...18 days, or simply because it's not as hot, but the weather isn't so all-encompasing and oppresive. We set out at about 6:15 am to meet our first farmer, who is generously allowing us to tromp all over 3 of her paddies. What a great lady!

Here are some photos from the first paddy:

The first paddy is to the right, the second and third to the left.

See the pounding fists? Those are our fish traps...

Our faithful tuk-tuk waiting as we sample the paddy.

Cows making their way home. No moooooo.

-C 7/28/10