Hong Kong S.A.R., Cambodia · 25 Days · 127 Moments · December 2017

Cambodia 2017

30 December 2017

Angkor Wat in the background
We left Siem Reap at 5:25 pm.
Saying farewell to our dear friends❤️
Arriving at the airport (notice Kumpheak’s hands-free phone).
Our turn to go to the airport 🙁

29 December 2017

In the evening, Kumpheak treated us to dinner at one of the new shipping container markets.
Later in the afternoon, we met up with Kumpheak and went back to Wat Damnak just to spend a little time enjoying the beautiful park-like setting.
Sokmean and Sithai met us at the airport to say farewell. Sokmean gave the boys each a t-shirt of Angkor Wat.
The boys last day in Siem Reap. We left for the airport at 8:00 am.

28 December 2017

It was Lachlan and Connor’s last night in Cambodia, so we had a farewell dinner for them at Horizons (t-shirts for the boys from Sithai).
While we were at the pagoda at Wat Damnak, we got a monk’s blessing after the filming (notice the red bracelets).
In the afternoon we went to nearby Wat Damnak so the boys could interview Chanthou.
At noon we took a tuk tuk out to where Sokmean works, then found a quiet spot out in a field so the boys could interview her. We had to fight off some ants in the process (of course!)
We went to the tailor shop in Kumpheak’s village where the the boys picked up the clothes they had ordered.

26 December 2017

We went to the amazing Phare Circus tonight.
The little boy at Horizons spent the morning doing some Christmas decorating. He broke off small pieces of silver garland and went around putting it on the plants saying it was snowing and then constructed a Christmas tree out of the rest of the garland and decorated it.

25 December 2017

Christmas dinner at Georges Rhumerie☃️
The boys interviewed Kumpheak at the pagoda in his village. While Don and I waited, a monk came up to Don and asked to be his Facebook friend so he could practice his English. After the filming , we went to the Khmer Kitchen for lunch and then to the tailor to order a couple more shirts.
The cricket traps
The filmmakers 😀
The boys had some more filming to do, so we headed towards Phnom Krom for some countryside views. A different way to spend Christmas Day!

24 December 2017

Merry Christmas from Siem Reap!
A very convincing Santa showed up too!
We went to Babel Guesthouse for a wonderful Christmas dinner.
A Cambodian wedding in the countryside.
The boys in their new tailor-made shirts.

23 December 2017

We went on another tour of the temples today.

22 December 2017

Our reflection in the the giant Christmas decoration.
The faces of 2018
The boys did more filming of tarantula hunting today and in the evening we went to check out the Christmas displays.

21 December 2017

Standing among the awesome trees at Ta Prohm.
At the Victory Gate at Angkor Thom
We found this beetle being attacked by red ants.
More exploring in Angkor Thom
Some of the faces at Bayon Temple. There are 216, plus these two!
Bayon Temple
Stopping to watch the monkeys in Angkor Thom.
Angkor Thom (which means “Big City”)
Selfie at the centre of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
We went on a tour of the temples today. First stop was Angkor Wat.
Lachlan is earning some money on the side

19 December 2017

Lunch is ready - beef and red ants!
Back at Horizons to cook lunch. First, the ants are sautéed, then the greens and then the beef.
Bagging up the ants
Finished with the ant hunt, but still trying to get the ants off of us.
The bucket of ants
The ant hunters found many nests and after a while there were ants running around everywhere and were crawling up our legs and biting us. It was tough for Lachlan and Connor to do the filming while fighting off the angry ants. It turned out to be a real antventure! 🐜
Putting the ants in a bucket of water.
Finding the ant nests up in the trees and pulling them down.
This morning we went to Chanthou’s parents’ home near Angkor Wat to gather ants for today’s lunch.

18 December 2017

The crazy race back to the dock.
Out on the lake for sunset.
Once we were out on the lake, we were startled by the bang when this women hit our boat as she came alongside to sell us drinks and snacks.
On our way to the lake.
Getting back on the boat to head to Tonle Sap for sunset.
Shrimp processing
Kampong Phluk
The boys did some filming while we were in Kampong Phluk.
Getting off the boat to walk through the village where it is currently above the water.
Views of Kampong Phluk from our boat.
Today we went with Chanthou to the east of the city where we took a boat to Kampong Phluk, a village of stilt houses in the water along Tonle Sap.

17 December 2017

After the bumper cars we won a few prizes at the games.
In the evening we went to the carnival, which runs nightly in Siem Reap, and tried out the bumper cars.
A coconut break after the filming.
After the silk farm we went to Puok to do more filming with Kanika.
Savuth showed us the tree ants that are used in cooking.
Everyone was feeling well today so we headed back to the silk farm for more filming with Savuth.

16 December 2017

A new Mexican restaurant in town.
Not much to post again for today because Lachlan‘s symptoms worsened so we were back at the hospital for several hours for more treatment. Anyway, he seems to have finally beaten the infection and we went back to Horizons in the afternoon.

15 December 2017

Don’t see this at home - a dead scorpion squished on the road. I guess it escaped the frying pan only to end up as roadkill 😟
Still recovering, we took it pretty easy today. I went for a walk with Kumpheak around the pagoda in his village.

14 December 2017

I don’t have any photos to post for the past couple of days because Lachlan became very ill and we had to take him to the hospital. He received excellent treatment there and was admitted for that night and next day. I was allowed to stay in the room with him. Unfortunately, I ended up sick as well. Anyway, we are both much better now and came home from the hospital last night.

12 December 2017

Back at Horizons we celebrated Sokmean’s birthday.
At the rice fields.
Kumpheak stopped here along the way and got us some cold drinks.
After lunch Kumpheak took us through the countryside out to the rice fields near Tonle Sap Lake.
A wonderful lunch at Kumpheak’s home. The dessert shown in the last photo is tapioca and lotus seeds.
Getting measured for the shirts that will be made for them.
A walk with Kumpheak to the tailor shop.
Getting the ants out of their shoes 🐜
Trying to solve a problem with the audio.
At Kumpheak’s spirulina farm.
Heading off on a tour with Kumpheak today to his home and the surrounding countryside.

11 December 2017

One of the monkeys near the Bakong temple.
The boys weren’t allowed to take their camera equipment into the Banteay Srey temple, but the guards at Bakong didn’t stop them, so they managed to do a bit of filming there.
After our bug hunting adventure, we went to the Banteay Srey and Bakong temples.
A smorgasbord of bugs.
Jumping jiminies no more.
They are washed and then placed into hot oil and fried.
Back at the house with all the critters. The kids check them out (the spiders are de-fanged as soon as they are caught😳).
Lachlan holding the scorpion.
After hunting spiders, scorpions and crickets, it was time to dig for crabs. Luckily, Sokmean didn’t reach in to grab what she thought was a crab because it turned out to be a scorpion!
Out on the hunt - we watched them catch another tarantula, three scorpions, and three coconut crickets, all of which live in holes in the ground. As Sokha says “where there’s a hole, there’s food”. The hunters have special narrow shovels for digging into the holes. The basket shown in the photos is used for keeping the live spiders and crickets. The scorpions were placed in an empty water bottle (which had to be cut open because of the size of the scorpions) because they are too tricky to catch once in the basket.
Before we arrived, one spider had already been caught. Here Sokha shows it to us (and it’s still alive). Saana, in the background, is the spider hunter who caught the spider.
We set off first thing this morning to go to the countryside north of Siem Reap to a place where we would meet a woman who hunts for spiders, scorpions, crickets and crabs.

10 December 2017

After a great day of visiting Kumpheak’s family in Puok and touring the countryside, we stopped for dinner at Vitking on our way home.
We stayed at the rice fields to view the sunset.
The rice fields outside of Puok.
We went for a walk through Puok with Kumpheak and Kanika.
Lunch at the market in Puok.
The boys interviewing Kanika.
Savuth explaining how silkworms are eaten and Lachlan trying one🐛
We visited the Angkor Silk Farm where we learned about the silk making process and also about silkworm-eating.
Kumpheak showing how to pick the back shell, wings and stinger off the big water bugs he likes and Lachlan trying one.
More bug shots...
Kumpheak picked us up in the morning to take us to his hometown of Puok. Along the way we stopped at one of the bug vendors where the boys got some great footage for their documentary🐛

9 December 2017

Back at Horizons, we celebrated Connor’s birthday.
After dinner, we stopped at one of the many places catching crickets at night.
Dinner at one of the picnic shelters in the lotus fields. Lachlan enjoyed the snake soup😝
Watching the sunset before dinner.
Back to the lotus fields for dinner.
We walked up Phnom Krom, a small mountain near Tonle Sap Lake.
Our trip to the lotus farm near Tonle Sap Lake.

8 December 2017

At the ruins along West Baray.
Taking a break at one of the picnic shelters out at West Baray.
In the afternoon we took a tuk tuk out to West Baray where we made our first bugs purchase - crickets and silkworms 😋
A couple of sights along our walk today.
The boys were up early and ready to head out for the day.

7 December 2017

Once they got checked into the guesthouse, we walked downtown to Pub Street and then went for dinner at The Khmer Kitchen. They had had a very long journey and by the end of the meal they were having trouble staying awake.
Heading to the airport to meet Lachlan and Connor. Their flight was early, but it took over an hour and a half for them to get through the visa and immigration process. I was starting to get worried, but then they finally came out of the airport where I was waiting with a mob of tuk tuk drivers.

6 December 2017

Dinner at one of the picnic shelters near Tonle Sap Lake.
Kumpheak showing me one of the many uses of lotus leaves.
We headed out of the towards Tonle Sap lake for a view of the sunset and then a picnic.
Back at Horizons, a wonderful guesthouse downtown Siem Reap.
We had a 2.5 hour flight from Hong Kong to Siem Reap. Sokmean, Sithai and Kumpheak met us at the airport 😀
This is our second trip to Cambodia this year and fourth trip here overall. We had a 13 hour flight to Hong Kong and then just over a 2 hour layover before flying on to Siem Reap. We could hardly see the city of Hong Kong through the smog.