Quiet weekends

I like quiet weekends. And so does my husband.
There is nothing better to us than to have a plan-free weekend, with our time free to potter around the house.

Of course, we still do errands and shopping (recently we were scouting for a yamaha hs50m for his class) and other chores but, for most of the time, you would catch us relaxing, pursuing our own hobbies, or napping, and then we’ll have a nice dinner at home or, on rare occasions, dine out in our favourite restaurant. Our lifestyle is definitely changing and I’m pleased about it.

Grilled mackerel laced in mixed spices, mango salsa, and Chinese bok choi with oyster sauce and garlic.
Grilled mackerel laced in mixed spices, mango salsa, and Chinese bok choi with oyster sauce and garlic.

The past weekend, my husband wanted to have some grilled fish. And so we trooped to Psah Thmey and bought nearly a kilo of mackerel (2 pcs for 17,000riels) for grilling and ingredients for the Khmer mango salsa to go with the fish.

Every time we visit Psah Thmey it is crowded than ever, no thanks to the busloads after busloads of tourists that go there and the worsening traffic. It was nice to be in the market last weekend when most of the shoppers and tourists have already gone. Psah Thmey was no longer crowded (it was around 12nn) and so we’ve avoided the traffic jam as well as bumping into fumbling tourists in great numbers who were eager for bargains. Still, despite the crowd, the overpriced goods and sellers more aggressive than ever, Psah Thmey retains its charm that we keep on coming back.

We were home by 1pm and we didn’t get the dinner started till 4pm. We capped our day with a movie after this sumptuous dinner we bought earlier today.

Dear blog…

I know it’s been a while since my last post… *cringe*

Yikes, my last post was dated March 13th. Yikes again.

Our breakfast fare - toast (not in the pic), butter, marmite and jam.
Our breakfast fare – toast (not in the pic), butter, marmite and jam.
DIY flower vase
These are what I used for that flower vase.

Did I tell you already that we moved to a new house? It’s close to my (now-former) workplace. It’s really lovely but what we love the most is that my husband and I can have breakfasts together at a leisurely pace. Gone are the days we just gulp our coffee and say hasty bye-byes before making our separate ways to work to beat the traffic. Nothing fancy, just the normal toast and jam but it’s the precious time we share before going about our day.

Anyways, I was thinking about my blog-absence after breakfast this morning. I can assure you though that I was hard at work during these, errmmm, “gap” moments. Plus, I have tons of crafts and DIY projects – unfinished, of course – that are lying around and not even one is ready for sharing. Darn. I’m not sure if if I’m the only one who has this problem. Have you?

While I was sat there pondering, my dog’s “zip line” got caught in the tall santan shrub when he chased another dog, our landlord’s. The leaves were torn and along with a cluster of red flowers fell on the ground. Not wanting to see the flower go to waste, grabbed some cotton thread, an old beer bottle and a stick to prop the clusters of santan. Nice, eh?

My current state of affairs

Work stuff. Where are you, Friday?

Not meaning to clog up my blog with random stuff but here I go posting one of those random blog posts…

It’s pretty much the same thing at my end. Endless documents that needed submitting, new urgent tasks that land on top of my already-endless urgent task list. Attending team call outs via skype. Running to and fro the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, checking hotel rooms for the volunteers. Requesting photos for our Center’s signages to running around canvassing for brochure prints. On top of that, I’m waging a silent war against da monmon in every lunch meetings that I go to.

I’m really surprised that I am still sane after all of these. So please bear with me for awhile till this mighty wave of workload has gone away.

We’re on the look-out for more!

Since acquiring a new place in the southwestern side of the city, my husband and I are on the market for some serious home stuff. We’re not actually looking for fancy furnishings but our goal is to procure quality, albeit secondhand items. We’ve enlisted to a local buy and sell network and, so far, we’ve had some successes in getting the stuff we like.

For instance, we acquired a really nice wooden table. Quality workmanship and solid wood. The owner is in a dire financial situation and she was selling it for only $50. A lot of people asked her to lower the price. My husband and I went to have a look and we admired the quality of the table. We bought it at that instant. Two weeks ago we were able to buy a huge wooden closet. It was very heavy and it took 4 people to move it.

The buy and sell network has a Facebook page where members sell or look for something. You wouldn’t believe what’s out there. Aside from furniture, there are also lots of musical instruments for sale, for example, a rarely used washburn bass guitar is selling for less than $100.

So we’re keeping our eyes and ears for more in the coming days till we have enough furnishings in the house 🙂

New year, new house!

Happy new year!

My husband and I were very busy prior to the new year because we … moved to a new house! It’s a lovely traditional Khmer wooden, stilted house but the landlord has the ground floor walled in. Old and basic but has a lot of character and my husband and I feel will be a nice home.

Ahhh, sunshine. Lots of sunshine.
Ahhh, sunshine. Lots of sunshine.

It has a garden, located in a quiet neighbourhood with a small road. There are lots of birds and fresh air, too! So we bid goodbye to the concrete and glass sweatbox of our old apartment. Although we’ve moved stuff to the new house, we decided to keep the old apartment for yobo’s evening school.

We were very excited to welcome the new year at the new house. At work, I couldn’t help but talk non-stop to my officemates about it. Too excited, in fact, that I absent-mindedly picked up my colleague’s apple laptop battery – batteryheads.com and deposited into my bag when the clocked turned 5pm – home-time! I only realised my mistake when I was trying to connect it on my non-apple laptop – much to my amusement. Good thing my colleague didn’t get upset about the switch!

Outdoor Wednesday 006: Kite-flying

Yes, we did just that over the weekend. The whole city was celebrating the Chinese New Year and my husband and I wanted to escape the city just for a day. We had nothing else to do and I, particularly, wanted to go out since I’ve been working on several images of business cards commissioned by a friend.

My husband didn’t need a lot of convincing. We picked up my younger brother and headed north-west of the city, driving through national road number 5. The main road was nice and paved but when we turned to a smaller road it became more challenging.

We were looking for a wat (temple) that sits on a hill and, not long after, we found the place. We went temple-hunting and weren’t disappointed. See pictures here.

Afterwards, we located a place that was deal for flying a kite. It was a vacant field, punctuated by palm trees and bamboo shrubs as far as the eye can see. In the background, we could hear the chants from a nearby wat. Across the lot was a huge mango orchard. It was around 11am, the sun was already high. Here my younger brother and husband were waiting for the wind to pick up to launch the kite.

outdoor wednesday
It was hot and there was not enough wind to fly the kite higher. Nevertheless, we had fun and enjoyed the change of scenery.

Sleepless in the Penh

Oh dear, what a tiring day it is today. I had a busy Thursday and went to bed very late at 2am-ish. It has something to do –actually it has all got to do with waking up at silly o’clock in the morning the next day (that’s 4.30am, eek!)to make it to my husband’s office by 6am, for an organization outing.

Being a known grump in the morning, I think I did fine while being surrounded at an unholy hour by screaming, enthusiastic pre-teens as well as angst-ridden teenagers forever complaining about the heat. After 3hours of getting baked outdoors, my husband and I drove back to Tuol Tumpong to grab lunch at our favourite pork-rice stall at the Russian market. If you haven’t been there yet, go and check it out.They serve the best bai saech chrouk (pork-rice) in town, IMO. Watching ming (an older woman, aunt) who owns and runs that food stall is awesome. With her cleaver and great skill, she chops the meat, tomatoes and cucumbers swiftly and precisely in front of her customers, a pleasure to watch all the time. On some days, we catch her with her magic pala de fritos (lol) frying the pork meat in a giant wok-like frying pan, filled with boiling cooking oil, in a heavily-flamed gas stove. I just wonder if what kind of a business liability insurance cost she paid for, you know, if something happens

Dog-tired. Photo not mine.

Sitting in the car on the way back home I started yawning uncontrollably. When we arrived home, we were chatting about the day’s outing while I was lying on the couch and he was at his desk. I could feel my eyes straining to stay wide open and awake as he talked about the new class project he is going to introduce to his class next week. My husband had no idea how desperate I was to climb my bed and catch some zzzzzzzzzz…  The next thing he knew, he told me, was that I was already in the REM stage and gently snoring, tee-hee-hee…

So now, it is close to midnight, I am at my desk staring back at my laptop and very much awake. With my dog Joe by my feet and the irregular whirring sound coming from the ceiling fan as my companions, I impatiently wait for sleep to come while my husband is fast asleep. Drat.

 

 

Oh wind, where art thou?

Taken two weeks ago. We had no luck with the breeze last Saturday.

Some kind of a downer this weekend.
We were planning to go kite-flying on Saturday to test the kite my husband made for his AP class. It’s sort of a class project, in relation to their mapping/directions lessons. The students had to design their own kites, that’s supposed to be fitted with a digital camera that was intended to take pictures/video footages while up in the air. So, of course, my husband had  to make one first, a model if you like,  to see if it really works.

So come Friday evening, when the kite was done and we were still fussing about fitting the camera on to the kite. At half past midnight, my husband finally declared all systems go. With our back packs prepared the night before, we excitedly drove to the Hun Sen Park at the city centre where it was virtually empty for the holidays and ideal for the kite’s test flight. Except that there was NO WIND, much to our disappointment. We waited. And waited. For an hour. But there wasn’t just enough breeze to lift the kite off the ground. BUMMER!

Oh well, the excitement turned into a major, major disappointment. We went home and consoled ourselves at the thought that our landlord will take us to the place he knows where we can go fly kites. But will have to wait till he comes back from holidaying in Stung Treng.

 

 

Outdoor Wednesday 003: Road sign

  My entry for this week’s Outdoor Wednesday was taken in December of last year. At that time, one lovely Saturday, my husband and I ventured on an impromptu road trip to the Cambodian border town of Bavet, in Svay Rieng province.

Bavet is one of the several international border crossings of Cambodia, in the southeastern part of the country, to Vietnam. It’s counterpart is Moc Bai, in Tay Ninh province of Vietnam. Hundreds and thousands of tourists come through the gates of this border as recorded  by the immigration officials. To me it is more convenient and hassle-free than in Poipet, another Cambodian border town to Thailand. Visas are available there upon arrival.

It took us four hours to reach Bavet – and that’s because of the very long queue at the Neak Loung ferry. However, we enjoyed our trip very much. It was a welcome and pleasant change of view, so to speak.

Are we there yet? Nearly there but don’t hold your breath, dear.

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve been at the Bavet border and, I must say I’m impressed at the huge changes that I saw. The road to Bavet is wider than before and in great condition, thanks to the road-widening project. However, it is still the same border town that I know of,  where casinos, massage and karaoke parlours are prevalent.