Monday, February 28, 2011

Proof readers needed!

Everywhere I go here, I notice signs, and I occasionally take pictures of the ones I think might appeal to my readers.  Sometimes it's because they're just interesting, sometimes it's because they're funny, sometimes it's because they're a bit of both, or I wonder what message the Khmer translator was trying to get across. 

Once in a while 'll see a menu or a sign that is particularly amusing, just because the translation from Khmer into English (or the spelling) turns it into something cute or amusing and something it was definitely not intended to be.  One thing is certain - a person could make a lot of money here as a proof-reader!

Sign over Center Market.
Bottom right - Daily Useing Tools (huh?)

Your another choice to get Happy and Funny
Then again, a Birdy Massage might get you Happy and Funny too.

If this were a mixture of Spanish & English,
it would mean 'Hurt a lot'
Happy Hour - All day?
Angkor Wat, a la Angkor beer can is.....
Much better than the bad kind..

This place might specialize in cutting
the hairs on your Phaney

'Clean and Clean'
Say what?

Skin Tologist
Angkor Shoes Making

Sign on the wall of the Sand Hotel
I don't think they really use sand.

Cambodia's answer to 7-Eleven Stores

Menu - featuring:
Deep fried Banana swerved Honey
Snack Munu
Chicken Boxing
Bread Cram
Asserted Finger Sandwich

No thank you, I'd rather tour Angkor Wat

'Kampuchea' is Khmer for 'Cambodia' 
This is a great little sign

Big Sheet (snack food)

Big Bang (also snack food)

Sign near the banks of the Siem Reap River
I wonder if it says 'Keep off the grass'
or maybe 'No swimming'
Apparently not meant for tourists...

And my favourite...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Should I Be Worried?

In Cambodia, the cost of electricity is very high, so forgetting to turn off lights or appliances can rack up bills fairly quickly.  To get around this, our guesthouse asks guests to turn in their key when they leave their room.  It's simple, really.  The room key is just a regular key attached to a credit-card-sized plastic tag.  This tag fits into a slot in a device on the wall just inside our door.  Once the card is removed, the electric circuit shuts off.  You lock the door by simply pushing down the button in the centre of the door knob.  When you return to your room, you unlock your door with your key, put the tag in the slot, and you have electricity again.

Our key with the tag in the electronic slot

We've been staying at MotherHome Guesthouse for about sixty days now.  On any given day, we might go in and out of our room at least three times, so have had approximately 180 opportunities to lock the key in the room.  Given those numbers and the fact that I occasionally experience a brain-dead moment, I'm really proud of the fact that last night was only the second time I screwed up and locked the door without taking the key. 

I knew it as soon as I shut the door.  My heart sank, but then, I remembered how easy it was to get into our room the first time.  The front desk asked the housekeeper to use her master keys, and presto!  So I really don't know why things were different this time..... 

I went to the front desk, and announced I'd locked our key in the room, with an apologetic "Som toh!", Khmer for "Sorry!"  "Meun ay dtay!", "No problem!" was the reply.  (Yeah, right....)

The desk clerk tried every key on that ring of master keys three times, but she could not get our door to open.  Next she called the night maintenance man, who also tried each key twice, but could not find one key on that ring to unlock our door.

If at first you don't succeed,
call in the maintenance man

Now this may seem hard to believe, but just at that exact moment, the man occupying the room next to ours announced that he'd also just locked his key in his room!  "No problem!"  "Meun ay dtay!"  The maintenance man walked over to the next door, opened it easily with one of the master keys, and retrieved the man's key from the electronic slot.  

The desk clerk and the maintenance man exchanged a few words in Khmer that I didn't understand, and the next thing I knew, he was using the key he'd retrieved from the room next door to unlock our door!  The man from the next room was standing right there and saw the whole thing. 

Now I ask you, should I be worried?

Please, Please, Can We Keep It?...

Yesterday, when I began my work at Honour Village, I was startled to discover a little kitten asleep under one of the desks I was varnishing, so I carried it over to show the other volunteers.  I learned it had wandered onto Honour Village property the evening before, and had apparently decided to stay put.

 It's an adorable little thing, same stubby tail as we see on most cats here, but with one remarkable difference.  With it's pale blue eyes and distinct cream and tan markings, it's likely derived some of its lineage from a Siamese cat. 

Who can resist such a cute kitten?

Chhunly is a big 'softie', and the next thing we knew, he'd given the OK for this kitten to join the big Honour Village family.  In keeping with the tradition of naming the Honour Village cats, she (we think it's a she) has been named O.B. Lucky.  She's lucky to have arrived at a place where she will be well fed, and well-loved. 

Welcome home, O.B. Lucky!  Good luck!  Somnang l'or!

O.B. Lucky

Thai gives O.B. Lucky a squeeze

Chea (L) and Narong (R) petting the new kitten

All tuckered out

O.B. Lucky may soon be getting lessons from OB Happy
on how to sneak some rice & fish from the little ones.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Photos

Every day, I see different things that I think might interest my readers, and I take a photo here or there.  I find the longer I've been here, the less photos I've been taking, probably because things are beginning to become  routine, rather than new and exciting.  Here is a gallery of random photos.

The road in front of our guesthouse.
This dog is not dead, just merely sleeping.

A chicken just outside our guesthouse

This statue stands just outside Kids Plaza
just down the road from us.
Kinda scary, actually.

A couple of kids playing down by the edge
of the Siem Reap River.
A lot of debris & garbage gets tossed into the river.

Kids everywhere love boxes

A new 'recycle' store with a big picture window 
has just opened up around the corner.
People inside were stripping down to try stuff on.

Prom & Sreymau have a new puppy!
Her name is Panda

When we asked Prom if this was his new baby,
he replied "No.  Second wife."

This spider was in Sue's bathroom

When you compare its size to the hooks on the wall
you get an idea of its size...

Detail on a roof that we pass by on our walks

Cupping is a form of traditional medicine
practiced in Cambodia

You can buy whiskey
with snakes & scorpions inside the bottle

Transporting a sign

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Some People Will Do To Make Money...

Last year, we went to Pub Street a few times, and that's where we first saw the 'mobile magician'.  (If you click on those highlighted words, it will bring you to an article about him.)  He's a fairly young man who makes his living by roaming the streets doing magic tricks, performing death defying feats, and collecting the donations from people who enjoy his performances.  
Although Pub Street is a big hit with tourists, it's an area we prefer to avoid, mainly because it's become noisy and crowded, prices are inflated, tuk-tuk drivers drive you crazy, and beggars abound.  So it was only by chance that we were in Pub Street area, and once again enjoyed Mr. Pinchor.  Last year he had a rickety cart equipped with a huge loudspeaker that carried all his equipment.  Nowadays, he walks the streets carrying a boom-box, with all his stage equipment under one arm.

While we sat at a cafe enjoying a cold drink, he set up his show only a few feet in front of us.  I managed to capture a few photos...Not great, but maybe this video (click on this to see the video) will give you an idea of what lengths some people in this country will go to, in order to make ends meet. 

Setting up his equipment
Boom-box on the curb
The ring of knives is real
He adds a couple of huge knives at the bottom

He sets the big knives at the bottom on fire

He dives through the ring of knives and fire


As I've mentioned in an earlier blog, the kids at Honour Village have a fairly structured day.  They go to school every morning, mealtimes are at certain times, they get their drink of water at certain times during the day, they have afternoon rest time and meditation time.  But some days, routines just gets broken.  Today was just such a day. 

For one thing, there was no school today, so all the children were home.  In the morning, they played hard, and worked hard, then ate a hearty lunch, but for some reason, they just did not want to settle down after lunch for their afternoon rest.  As I varnished away, I could hear children talking out behind the building, obviously trying to sneak out of their nap.  Somewhere I could hear one child crying, and I could see a few running up & down the stairs to their dormitories.  Then I heard Riem wail, and I watched him climb down the stairs, still bawling his eyes out.  Just about the same moment my can of varnish ran out, everything seemed to go silent.  I walked over to the office, and this is what I saw....

Three-year-old Riem (L) crashed out.
Sek (R) is in that 'teenage-always-sleeping' phase

In another building, six kids slept in reclining chairs

Brothers Rethy (L) and Raphy (R)


Little Phanit

Sisters Narin (L) and Narong (R)

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to structure time for a nap or a rest, it doesn't always work out, but when it happens all on its own, isn't it just grand?