Caroline and Sven's Geriatric OE 2012 travel blog

Ice being delivered to our guest house to keep items cool in...

Iced coffee with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom.

Sven in the busy and colourful Takeo market .

Method of duck transportation to and from the market.

Into the lake, clothes and all, for a refreshing dip.

Sven making his way back from our lakefront bathing and lunch thatched...

Conjoined babies lying beside the grandfathers house for viewing by the village...

Lotus flowers are another source of food, both the stalk, flower and...

Mobile coconut shop!

Grilled fish. We assume the sticks were to keep them straight.

We never cease to be enthralled by the market and a visit there is never quick!  The pictures can't capture the sounds, smells or heat - all added extras.  We have been searching for all manner of things and people are so helpful, leaving their shops and escorting us to where they think we might find an item.  Care for lotus flowers, weaner pigs, live chickens or ducks, fresh fish (ie still alive and flapping), meat portions including entrails, banana fritters, water balloons, breadfruit, rivets, dental floss - it's an amazing conglomeration of everything one could wish for!

A favourite drink here is iced coffee.  The ice is delivered on the back of motorbikes cut into manageable slabs.  These are kept in orange cool boxes and cut into smaller blocks when required.  The basic way of making crushed ice is to put a chunk into a cloth bag and bash it with a stick!  The more sophisticated version is a machine where the ice cube is held in a vice-like contraption, a handle is turned and hey presto, shaved ice appears underneath.

Sot, one of the older boys from the orphanage, took us on a tuktuk tour last weekend.  We watched women weaving silk scarves, visited an 11th century temple and had lunch at a lake where locals like to swim.  Sot looked aghast as I pulled out my very conservative one piece bathing suit, and told me that just wouldn't  do!  So instead, I went for a dip clothes and all.  And yes, the water was exactly the colour you see in the photo!

We had a bizzaire experience at Little Po last week.  Thyem, the teacher, said we (the volunteers) should all come and see a "strange" baby.  We duly followed him through the village to be confronted with dead conjoined babies.  The babies were a month or two premature we guessed, there was one and a half heads, 4 ears, 4 arms and 4 legs, but some of the internal organs were not fully contained in the stomach.  The mother was in hospital in Takeo, the father was in Phnom Penh and the baby was lying outside the grandfathers house, on a cloth that was on ice, under an umbrella.   Many people of the village were there and a basket was in front where anyone could donate to help this poor family.  

We feel like royalty in Takeo!  We can not bike far before we have a smiling child or adult say "hello, what is your name? where you go?".  Especially the young children continually call out "hello" to us and wave as we cycle past.  We are obviously a novelty.  Takeo is not a tourist destination so the majority of "white" people they see are volunteers from NFO.  We often have people cycling along beside us, or on their motorbikes, talking to us, eager to practice their English.  

I have been teaching a morning English class once a week at the Takeo Teacher's college and also had a meeting with the three English teachers last Saturday.  They are eager to learn about how we teach in New Zealand and would really benefit from pronunciation practice.  In Cambodia, the last part of a word is not enunciated.  People also tend to do this when speaking English so "rice" sounds like ri, but "right" also sounds like ri.

One more installment to come from Cambodia before we head to Laos next week.

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