Cambodia · 62 Days · 75 Moments · March 2019

Cassi's tour through Cambodia

2 May 2019

This was a school down the road that was built by a guy that planted many of the grenades during the Vietnam war/American war. He then felt guilty and built a school where he encouraged inclusivity with the many handicapped children rather than ostracizing them. You can see the few handicapped kid depicted in the picture. This school has since moved to the structure we taught at today. This is me playing around outside it.
During free time they insisted on turning me into Frida. I couldn’t communicate that I’d rather they smelt the flowers than picked them from the trees soooo we embraced it. I then gently underhandedly tricked them in to learning how to make mandalas and meditating. I now understand how addicting spiritual influencing was for colonizers ... luckily this is a Buddhist country so I’m not breaking any cultural barriers. Keep in mind their English is no where near conversational.
Once a week the sanctuary sponsors a day of teaching sooooo i was teaching 30+ kids... My competitive side came out as this German girl and i butted heads mid class over techniques. It was like reality tv of who was gonna be the las teacher standing. She humbly stepped out these kids leeearrned. It was really cool to see how universal some things are. Anyone can memorize but understanding is a totally different thing. With funny body movements, drawing and dancing around these kids LEARNED.
Everyone in the village/ area relies on the water filtration at the park. In exchange for cutting down bamboo and leafy snacks for the elephants on the land outside of the sanctuary, we drop off a jug of water for the family to use and encourage them to come back and refill it.

1 May 2019

The mother of these 8 week old pups was killed by a motorcycle this evening so a family brought them over to the sanctuary. Unfortunately they can’t take in any more animals so instead we give formula to the family and teach them how to feed them. This was terribly difficult to see them get carted away in this bag. It’s a really hard thing to try to empower at the expense of failure.
A German girl that’s also helping out this week is a professional face painter and blew the minds of the people that worked here Also, we made jack fruit BBQ tacos!!!
Collecting seeds of peacock tail trees (Thai term) to replant a field next month.

30 April 2019

This wild looking bug kept landing on me. It’s kind of beautiful how the trash is always filled with butterflies... it’s a reminder that just because we don’t want it, doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t love it This is an endangered gibbon and he’s super shy. When he was brought to the sanctuary because someone had illegal bought him and then didn’t know what to do with him. The sanctuary built a huge enclosure to keep him safe and make sure his meals were supplemented... and shortly after another gibbon showed up and she followed him around and fends off the aggressive macaques that are also in jungle. They think that he must have been captured locally, resold, and now his mom followed him here

29 April 2019

View from the balcony of my friends apartment that I’ve been house sitting while she went to Finland. My neighbor. In yoga we have a sacred practice called fire breath... i was able to catch it on film!

25 April 2019

Sneaky recycling hidden in every corner! This is the best chocolate cake EVER... and it’s vegan... and the air was so hot that it slid apart like an iceberg... global warming is officially effecting cake and that in not something we can ignore

17 April 2019

This is a cloudy day with chances of afternoon thunderstorms
See the weather channel screen shot for explanation.

16 April 2019

Finally got access to a mini fridge so i visited my first real supermarket... same prices as US 😏

15 April 2019

This is a perfect reflection for how the world apparently sees the US.

14 April 2019

You cant see them... but at sunset the bats come swooping down all around you to eat the bugs you are attracting... so swimming with bats 🤗
Was having a meeting at the salon attached to one of the yoga studios and one girl asked to experiment on us with eyebrow tinting... ( spoiler alert you can’t really tell the difference) This is a classic example of Asian marketing to health conscious consumers... this is the “macro biotic platter” which was just TINY little bowls of broccoli, pumpkin, tofu, sunflower, seeds, seaweed and olive oil with rice... NOTHING macro ( essentially micro) and NOTHING biotic ( nothing fermented) ... but nice try... keep in mind this is at the health resort i work at where foreigners pay 100+ a night ( equivalent to a 5 star hotel)... good thing i get meals for free Oh, and that scratch on my head... ya know when you’re effortlessly swimming under water and one day you hold your breath wayyy longer than you realized and as you pull your hands to the sides, you run into the wall ... I’m fine.

13 April 2019

The first clean up I’ve seen the locals do. They take their New Year holiday very seriously.... its a bigger deal than our Christmas, Passover and New Years. Everyone of all backgrounds and all ages participate. Not gonna be many pictures because it was 3 days of me being incredibly overwhelmed and hiding from the chaotic celebration. Glad they had fun but it’s exhausting to be around. Allllllll businesses close. Everyone from surrounding areas come in to the cities... including tourist ( especially Chinese tourists), they blast music all night and go wild in the streets dumping water on everyone at all hours of the day without exception and shooting water guns and often at your face. Sounds fun... if i was 15... but it’s actually emotionally a bit violating. Imagine doing yoga and meditation allll day at a secluded resort and then having to walk home at 9 pm (because no driver will bring you remotely near the city center) Remind me to tell ya about it when I’m back

12 April 2019

Been spending a lot of time watching ants ... especially these big red ones which act a bit like we do... rushing around everywhere and then stopping and look around. If they bump in to one another they slap each other or hit each other’s heads and run in the opposite direction

11 April 2019

Khmer New Year is approaching... extra blessings and color are sparking up everwhere

7 April 2019

Love the cones of rice!

6 April 2019

Bamboo scaffolding... sustainability 😬
Workshop on Chi Nei Tsang, a Taoist massage for the abdominal organs ... little did i know these techniques were gonna be my saving grace, keeping me out of the hospital when i was struck with a crippling pain in the middle of the night... I’m sticking to curries and other fullly cooked foods from now on

1 April 2019

Billy was so fascinated by what I’m eating over here so i started taking more food pics haha Can you tell which picture is from a regularly not so scheduled city wide black out? If it happens during the day, businesses close and everyone huddles in to the coolest spaces and if it’s at night... dinner gets candlelit romantic So many kittens here. It’s cool to see mama cats still with their babies. You can see the dynamic of mana cats and dogs still watching out for their kids even when they’re full grown This is also the only yoga studio with AC and it’s sooooo fancy haha

31 March 2019

Last day in PP, i soaked in the unexpected beauty like this incredible tree and condemned building that was surely once an incredible palace.

30 March 2019

On a lighter note. They sell corn kernels to kids so they can feed the pigeons! It’s the total opposite of NY. Kids gather outside temples along the Mekong river at sunset and through corn to birds with such excitement. No i didn’t get pooped on... yet
This tree is covered in the blessing bracelets from people all over the world. Using ammo was expensive so most executions were done by hand. Specifically for children and babies who would get swung in to this tree by their feet and then thrown in the ditch beside it. while most bodies were excavated you still see clothing and bones start to surface as you look around the fields.
These bracelets are blessings that travelers often acquire by ceremonies with monks and they would drop them in “grave” areas to offer peace.
Spent the day visiting the Killing Fields and S21. Not the kind of places to take pictures but there were moments that i needed to remember. Like this insane tree that was the marker for where busses of soon to be executed Khmer were brought. The knots and winding branches seemed like a metaphor for the stress and misery that took place here. Looking around at all the trees, so many had stories as they not only saw what took place here but were often used in the killing process. The air smelled of flowers and the birds sang loud but there was more being said by these trees.

29 March 2019

Got 2 job offers in Siem Ream so I’m headed back in 2 days and going to experience this chaotic city with an open mind... i type this as a huge rat stares at me on the side walk like a hungry cat. I’m likely not gonna take many pictures here because every block has soooo much to capture that it’s overwhelming. In a good way and bad way... mostly in a - this city is a living trash heap and yet everyone is quite happy kind of way

28 March 2019

After being invited to stay on the island long term for free accommodations and food in exchange for lending a hand, i had a bit of an internal crisis. This paradise was EVERYTHING i craved but i felt like i was missing something. Woke up and just knew it was time to go... at first i thought it was because a week without a shower was just a tad too long. Ultimately it was something more i couldn’t describe but i trusted it. Back on the bus i went and 8 hours later I’m in phenom Phen where i was met with the complete opposite of serenity but still certain that i made the right decision.

27 March 2019

Did i mention you have to navigate thru the jungle to get everywhere? Hiking at least an hour to get to each part of the island. It was incredible. Also, passion fruit! Such an under rated fruit! If you pour it out on to chocolate it’s INCREDIBLE! Every day started and ended with yoga and meditation as i shared with people from all over the world and then discussed experiences, philosophies and life with these kindred strangers. The best part of traveling is no one asks where you came from but rather what are you doing here... the emphasis on the present leads to so much connection as opposed to the questions of past tense that take you out of the moment and often invite judgment.

25 March 2019

Apparently i showed up on the day of their anniversary sooo that means dancing in a huge tree house with people from all over the world while waves crash along shore, the sky lights up with lightning and beats fill the air that layer tribal music with famous speeches. They LOVE MLK here! This pic is at 7am when i woke up to meditate on the beach, still covered in paint and the party is still going. It may seem like an insane thing, which it was, but it was much more of a wild celebration of the relationship of humanity and nature.

24 March 2019

Sooo much creativity hidden everywhere “Free gym”
At least it has a bathroom!

23 March 2019

Wandered thru the jungle and found huge structures that were soooooo much fun to climb. Later i found it was called Elephant Rock. It did not look like an elephant 😑
Got here at night and had to navigate my way around a JUNGLE but woke up to this gorgeous serenity where everyone lives in tree houses and I’m the only butthead carrying around a phone ( because people tell me i need to take more pictures)

22 March 2019

Notice the old flip flop the used for bumpers
Woke up the next morning and jumped on a bus to the coast and then took a boat ( that you have to practically swim out to with your back pack) to make my way to a remote island with basically ZERO service. At first it felt like something between Lord of the Flies and The Lost Boys Never Never Land and that Leo DiCario movie about a paradise island. Imagine gorgeous nature, 4 hours of electricity a day fed by solar, a water filter system that looks like Harvey built it, French chef, friendly peaceful expats and a beach full of trash that everyone pitches in on cleaning up every morning... Oh endangered birds, poisonous snakes, glowing plankton at night, huge centipedes and geckos EVERYWHERE

21 March 2019

Ultimately it was a pretty special experience that only lasted 24 hours because I NEEDED the ocean. We watched the sun sets above crab farms, shared my dinner with this lil dude, took a boat down the river to watch the INSANE stars from a deserted island.... all while learning about politics in SE Asia The waters were filled with baby barracuda! Which are absolutely beautiful and glowing plankton which are simply magical.

20 March 2019

Soooo it got waayyy too hot and it was a full moon...So i jumped on an overnight bus to Krong to spend time by the water. The bus was surprisingly lovely. Stopped every few hours in the middle of nowhere to pee in holes in the ground and take a look at the full moon. Finally arrived in a seemingly deserted city and then took a motor bike to find my friend’s guest house. You can see my excitement at this filthy SHANTY in the middle of a fishing village. The picture looks soooo much cleaner than it was. This dude from Singapore was visiting Cambodia after college, fell in love with it, bought a shack and turned it in to a “guest house”... 5 years later he has them all over the country. UPDATE: he just visited Siem Reap to get my consultation on a resort in the mountains that he’s buying and turning it in to a yoga retreat. This will be my second yoga retreat space in Cambodia that I’m assisting in the creation of

15 March 2019

Been spending the past few days hiding from the 100+ degree heat, long meetings with incredibly inspiring kindred spirits and navigating more options than i could have hoped to awaken to.

13 March 2019

And nowww back to writing sequences for my first class at Yoga Space for an Ayurvedic Balancing class where i taught about the 5 Koshas/ Sheaths of Self

11 March 2019

Angkor wat sunrise... not enough time there but hope to return

10 March 2019

Love how creative they get with reusing materials

9 March 2019

Back to the city and getting taught how to make floating lotuses
Saying good morning to my neighbor. You can see her reaching her trunk out over the fence as we talked

8 March 2019

Last day of camp so Gigi and i went sunset hiking

7 March 2019

6 March 2019

The sun sets and the food always raised the bar each night at the Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary

5 March 2019

Found a momma and her eggs hanging out behind a board Met the rescue dogs and finished building cement pools for them.
Finally, first morning at the park.

3 March 2019

Sooooo these calf’s inspected me like the local dogs but then TRIED to follow me home!!! At first it was cute... and then it got a little scary because as i picked up pace they did too! There were bulls and some adult cows on ropes further in the field that made it clear they didn’t want the babies following me so i did my best to respect there wishes. Something i find very cool is as sad as it is all these cows are clearly just “farm to table” dining, they leave the babies to roam free because likely are not to leave their moms. Another thing to note, these are how skinny cows could be if they were eating naturally and not pumped with hormones.
There’s something about these dogs that feel more human than some humans. Every time you approach a new street you’re met by the local dogs to inspect you and decide if they accept you on their street. It’s very funny and incredibly predictable. It feels a bit like crossing thru customs. Finished the night with a coconut mango smoothie at a veryyyyy cool vegan restaurant where i made friends like i was an extrovert or something!
Then i saw a sign that said “artisan” so i wandered in to an alley to find these studios all centered around a garden where these artists use natural lacquer( from roots and fruits), leaves, vinegar, eggs and recycled metals to build huge design structures for temples.
Went for a walk and found these ladies that make baskets out of the plastic bags the find on the road and in trash. They use yarn to build a loose structure and then crochet the plastic through!
Facilitated a partnership while being the only one to NOT speak Chinese in this group. Followed by the best vegan birthday cake in the world.” - my new hippie vegan friend from the elephant rescue group that showed up just in time to save me from the well intentioned Christians I’m joking... kinda.
Aside from the incredibly talented musicians in the church, i felt a weird sense of eerie ness... after the session, i opened up a curtain and staired out. Not knowing what i was looking for, but curious to see what i was feeling. ALLIGATORS! Everywhere! Churches can’t be in visual sight of any Buddhist structure so this school/ church was put right in the middle of this alligator neighborhood. Hundreds of alligators stacked on top of each other in TINY pens. This is where they are bread to then be sold as babies to China for there skins and meat. Check out these mansions surrounding the pens. I’ve never seen anything like this! You can barely make out what they are because how they are squished in to such tiny areas.
Long morning of hot walks, networking and church... yes, church. I refused to go in the US but somehow I’m in the most Buddhist country in the world and i end up at a church!

2 March 2019

Tying up the politics of getting clearance for some medicine in customs before heading to the camp. With two girls that don’t drink, this networking meeting looks a little too much like my old job. Some pics from a little market. Tuk Tuk ride with Dr. Wu and a very passionate educator.