Worth the Wait

Are you thinking…what is with this girl? She moves to a new country then never posts anything on the blog.

Yep. I’m behind. But also, bag snatching and phone snatching are popular petty crimes in Phnom Penh (still safe, come visit!). This fact really limits my desire to bust out the phone and snap pictures of daily happenings here.

No matter, I’ve got some delayed content for you. This is the most exciting:

water spout

Check this out! It is a water spout (aka mini tornado). We were sitting in a lovely boat house having a drink and we were looking out like: “huh that cloud looks like a funnel cloud.” Then minutes later it turned into this! It grew and shrunk up, then went back down! Isn’t that cool? (P.S. when researching this weather pattern I learned his happened the same day that the hurricane hit Florida.)

Well, maybe it isn’t as exciting in picture form, but upcoming we have some holiday pictures to share with you. In the meantime I will try to capture some day to day shots.

Just in case you aren’t a Facebook friend, I’ll leave this here too:

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After many weekends of practicing driving around the block on the scooter, I made it to the grocery store!

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We have a night guard at our house. A couple of weeks ago Matt gave him his left over pizza from an evening out. In turn, our guard shared his nighttime snack with us the next day…beetles. What would you do? Eat them politely or say no?

My general food policy is if people eat it and like it somewhere in the world, I will try it once. (I have a few moral exceptions). So we just popped those beetles into our mouths!

First impression is it tasted like the sweet soy saucy, lime leaf infused peanuts we get here. Though after the crunch, the inside, to me, tastes like a poopy farm:( I chewed it with a smile on my face until about half way up the stairs when I couldn’t hold the heave in any longer. Don’t worry, I didn’t puke, I got the guy down. Matt handled it a bit classier.

That’s not where it ends. There is plenty more mystery eats to be had. Yesterday he had roasted frog (not just the legs) and crickets.

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Frog, and cricket

This time I only tasted the leg part of the frog, because I didn’t want to crunch on the whole body. But I was hopeful with the cricket. I’ve heard that they are not terrible, just crunchy.

Wrong.

This was a fried cricket. Disappointingly it was a bit soft, and still had some “juice” to it. In the end it still tasted like a poopy farm.

I’m still optimistic. If I can find a roasted cricket, maybe I will give it a try. Who know what we will have next…ugh.

July Round Up

A bit late, but it’s here:

Books: This month I read One Thousand White Women: The Journal of May Dodd. I am a big fan of books written in letter or journal form, they just pass by so quickly! This book though! Love it! Until I read the very end and found out that it is not a true story! Complete fiction! I wish I would have known that as I was reading. Here I was telling Matt lies about history all month!

TV: Game of Thrones in back! I could leave it at that, but we are also caught up on Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I love when you can binge watch full seasons!

What’s Cooking: Well, nothing much. We have only had a few cooked meals in our house, but we have to pack lunches starting next week, so all that will have to change. We did however, buy a grill! Good times on the patio to come!

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Monthly Musing: A lot has happened in July. We spent the first 17 days in Mallorca taking classes, and the last 14 in Cambodia finding a house, and doing school orientation. Needless to say, it has been busy. A musing for you though: On our flight to Cambodia we had to sprint (for REAL) to catch out Barcelona to Singapore flight. Imagine the Home Alone Family running through the airport and getting to the gate…just made it. We stepped into the Barcelona airport about 15 minutes before our flight left. Not boarded…left. Thanks to our fast feet, and a nice airline that let us on, and some nice people who let us cut the customs line, we made it!

Matt’s Musing: I found Wantan Mee here. It’s at the closest noodle place to our house.

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Bike Tour

Last weekend we took a morning bike tour on the Mekong islands. We took a ferry, then biked across one island to another ferry then biked across another island and ferried back to the mainland. In total it was about 25km of trail. Some of the trail was road and some was narrow trails in between farms and banana trees.

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I loved this part of the trail!

Along the way we stopped at a silk worm farm and silk weaving place, and a pagoda, but overall the biking was the best part.

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The famous Mekong River. Though it looks really brown, it had hardly any garbage, which is a change from Congo. I think the brown is just from being muddy?

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Farming! We also biked past some cows.

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Pagoda on an island.

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Alive and well. Maybe too early in the morning for Matt…

Restaurant Heaven

We’ve been in Phnom Penh for a week! So far, so great! To some of your disappointments, I have taken one picture. You will have to rely on your imagination skills. Here are some highlights of the week:

  1. Tuktuks: Ahh the open air! I enjoy riding in tuktuks way more than I thought. Just sitting back on a comfy bench, letting the wind blow through my hair while being carted around the city! Life is good. We are sorting our a driver who will cart us to school everyday. Downside: most trips are $3. More expensive than I thought.
  2. Nice weather: I don’t want to mislead you, it has been hot! Once you accept that you will be sweaty, it is sort of nice. I’ve worn sports clothes this whole week, which has helped, but our patio gets a nice breeze and sitting outside is relaxing.
  3. Restaurants: If you want it, Phnom Penh has it. Predictably, we have eaten Asian at almost every meal so far. There is food for cheap, there are restaurants to splurge on, really anything. The restaurant scene is very hip. There are lots of places with amazing patios and artsy furniture. It seems that every place is trying something new. The food we’ve had so far has been pretty delicious. The coffee too! Highlight: Korean BBQ! It’s not for everyone, but it is for us! If you like lots of side dishes, many pickled items and grilling meat at your table, come join us next time!

Canadians: There are two currencies in Cambodia. They use American dollars for everything over $1 and Cambodian Riel for everything under. I read that the Canadian dollar is up these day…what a great time to visit!

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My breakfast this morning. Though it was good, I think I would rather stick to sweeter, more typical breakfast items. 

The Big Reveal!

And the winner is...

The Winding Staircase!

(scroll down after the pictures for an explanation of your favorite)

Yes. A clear winner.

Your guest bedroom. For real…come see us.

I know, I know… I watch House Hunters…why didn’t we choose your pick?

French Colonial: great location, nice balcony, great pools and cool floors. Too small, no oven, perpetually dirty.

Exposed Brick: gasp worthy brick, cheap, new, spacious, the sweet shower Brittney wants. No oven, no counter space, and bad location.

Winding stairs: charming, great outdoor space, nice location, next to a mini market, oven, small, tight stairs.

Facebook User: “Brittney, where are the stairs?”

I’m glad you asked. For the more serious blog readers, house hunting enthusiasts, and family members: here is an uncut, 3 minutes (terribly self-filmed) video for your viewing pleasure:

 

Home Away from Home

I’m currently sitting in the Singapore airport waiting for the last leg of our flight. Folks, Singapore airport is as good as you’ve heard! There is loads of shops, a butterfly garden, a movie theatre and free massage chairs. Also, I am watching someone garden the many many orchids as we speak.

But, that’s not what this post is about…I figured I’d give a few shout outs to Mallorca before they drift away in the chaos to come.

I was really, I mean REALLY looking forward to Spain this summer. Particularly the Paella! We did hit up some of our old favorites, but we tried some new things too. I am about to embark on a post about food and drink, but yes, TCNJ didn’t disappoint either. We had great classes, classmates and professors. Now we are just one course away from being Master and Master Hansen.

Our biggest hit of the summer was vermouth. Have you ever had vermouth on its own before? We hadn’t. We often have cocktails with vermouth, but apparently Spain is really into vermouth. You can get it on tap! And it costs less that 3 euro!

This is our favorite vermuteria. They give you chips with hot sauce…odd…and look at the food goods in the back round.

We also tried a new wine bar. Knowing my readers, this is an activity that would really take off. They give you a card and you can choose from any of the 48 wines they had. You can choose from a sample, half glass or full glass. At the end of the night, you settle your card. It is a fun way to learn how different grapes might taste.

Here are a couple of others snaps:

I was thrilled to see this house. In past summers it was run down and boarded up. Looks like the city of Palma decided to fix it up!

I took this rather crooked shot in Cala Figurea. We have been there each year for a walk around the fishing village and a sea side lunch. But come on…look at this boat garage. Literally everything is beautiful!

June Round Up

Hello readers! Obviously our month has been packed full of wrapping up the UAE, and heading to Spain! It was busy with many goodbyes and happy memories. Here’s what we are up to:

Books: I read Uprooted by Naomi Novak. It was a fantasy book. It took me a while to get into, but once I was hooked I was sad it was over! I kept wishing to go back to the characters and the heart trees.

On the airplane I decided it was time to revive my love for Ms. Perigrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and read the second book, Hollow City. An easy read that I just devoured. Amazing. The first book is in my top 5 best books ever I’d say. I couldn’t put it down. I sneaked it to work and read it during silent reading time! It was that good.

TV: We started watching the first season of Red Oaks. It is a great little summer watch. It has an air of nostalgia for days gone by. It feels like an old show, but has modern day production. It’s good.

We also just polished off the most recent season of Top Chef Canada. For me, the Top Chef series’ are the best food shows on TV. Sorry, Master Chef and Chopped, your nothing compared to Top Chef. I love the style and the type of food featured on the show.

What’s Cooking: Seems like a good segway from Top Chef. For most of the month we were playing the age old cooking game: “What can you cook that will clean out more than two cupboard items.” We also played a bit of “If walnut’s taste like dust, are they still good?” But the canned beans and frozen peas aside, we also made this super fab dish…Salmon, pumpkin and kale with a vinaigrette. She’s a beauty hey? Don’t worry, this is not becoming a food blog.

Monthly Musing: Ramadan Kareem/Eid Mubarak. One of the best things about this June was the Ramadan hours! Our school day was cut down to a 5 hour work day from 8:30am-1:30pm. There is nothing like wrapping up the school year, by easing out with shorter hours! Not only is it nice to sleep in, but you get more time for yourself!

Another things: We are in Mallorca. But the crazier thing: we have had two off bottles of wine in two days! That high frequency made us wonder if we were wrong. Is it bad? Two in a row? Maybe we don’t know wine. Haha nope. Just two bad bottles.

Matt’s Musing: “We moved. I bought some new headphones. Brand: Sennheiser. They cancel all of the noises.”

 

 

 

Bowling League

Someone at our school put together a bowling league for the month of Ramadan. Since we all get to leave work at 1:30pm everyday, it is the perfect time for an afternoon bowl!

Well, I know how much Matt loves to bowl (how many readers have been to a Matt Hansen bowling birthday?) so we signed up, but I am a bad bowler! And a grumpy bowler. The first day, I bowled like a 65.

Well all that has changed! Turns out all it took was a little consistent practice to become a pro. To no surprise Matt bowled the highest individual score of 203 (10 pin). But…guess who scored the second highest individual score…ME! a 175!!!! (There were about 20 bowlers by the way.) We also both bowled turkeys once in the four days.

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Photo evidence. Who knows how these skills will transfer to my historically equally poor showing at 5 pin bowling.

 

The Hidden, Hidden Bar

In general, the Abu Dhabi eating scene can be a bit…generic? Due to most restaurants having to be in hotels, one would say that there is a lack of… “je ne sais quoi…” pizzazz, character…something like that.

Some friends of ours told us about the Hidden Bar. Don’t be fooled, the Hidden Bar is in the Rosewood Hotel, but there is another Hidden…hidden bar there too. Here are the instructions:

Go to Dai Pai Dong. Find the wall piece that has a teapot. Go in, turn left, go through another door…and tah dah! You are in a speak easy of sorts. I tiny cocktail bar with suspendered drink makers.

They say, here is the menu, or just tell us what you like, and we can make something to suit you! Isn’t that fun! Some of our drinks included “peaty whisky,” lemon grass infusions, rhubarb bitters and one even involved a smoke gun! It is the coolest place. It is dark and secluded, and is one of the few places that makes you forget where you are.

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