Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
If I didn't live in this dusty city, if I didn't work with these communities, if I didn't (haphazardly) witness firsthand the lax, if at all present, rule of law in this country, then all I would see is this lake, slowly filling with sand. But that isn't the case.
When I see these maps, all I see are faces.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I've mentioned Witness (Brooklyn) before. I had never heard of them, prior to sharing a bus ride and a crazy few days in Siem Reap. Prior to moving here, I had never heard of many, many things. In fact, the term "forced eviction" wasn't even in my lexicon. And now . . .
If you are so inclined, Witness just published a short video of their work in Cambodia and the forced eviction issue. With what little knowledge I have about them, it's my understanding that Witness approaches human right issues around the world from a media/information dissemination perspective. I spoke to Ryan (the guy in the video) a bit about how he ended up in this work, how he ended up marrying his creative proclivities with law and international human rights work. Interesting stuff.
I sound like a broken record: people amaze me.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
5-6 potatoes, diced
2 onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or regular salt
P.S. Somehow, somewhy, during dinner with colleagues at Mark's place a few weeks back, I invited people to my home for Thanksgiving Day dinner. Why??? I don't cook. I'll have to fix that very soon.
What will they think of this crazy, dusty, fascinating country? Is it even that crazy? Mami, not too long ago, asked me if I had lost perspective, grown a bit numb. "I don't know," I wrote back. Maybe I have.
Last month, Rachel's brother visited from London. One night, a group of us sat on the second floor of Corner 33 Bar, looking through the glass windows at the gilded Royal Palace and National Museum across, then adorned with tiny triangular flags flapping in the wind. He had just arrived in the city, and, that evening, for a short while anyway, I followed his eyes. I followed their gaze to the hawking moto drivers below, to the women pushing their carts full of eggs and bread, to the rain drumming the windows, to the flooding streets, to the saffron-robed monks seeking alms, to the children begging, to the disorder and chaos, the continuous movement below. He noted, aptly, that encased in that air-conditioned bar, suspended above it all, removed, you could have mistaken this bar for one in London.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
My random weekend musings, in no particular order:
My favorite pictures of Phnom Penh so far: here. (And further support for the proposition that I should invest in a shiny DSLR.)
The beginnings of Cambodia's first architecture magazine? Love it.
Refinery29 reports on Jane Mayle's latest collaboration with Sigerson Morrison: here. (My heart aches just a little.)
P.S. I meant, somewhere it is fall, but not here: these are quite lovely perpetual summer clothes, the likes of which appeal to my inner granny (hello, tiny pleats and high-waists.). I do miss fallen leaves in Portland. And sometimes, I feel as if the perpetual summer that continues to brown my skin, providing with its warmth a non-stop offering of mosquito bites, is payback for all those years I complained about only having 3 months of Portland summer to don warm weather frocks.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Again, people amaze me.
While reading a newpaper one morning, the composer/creator of this video glimpsed outside his window, at the birds sitting on the electric wire. He realized that their placement on the wire resembled notes on a music staff. He took a picture of the birds, and then composed a melody, using these "notes."
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Yesterday, I ignored requests to brave the rain outside. I sat on my couch, in my oh so quiet house, listening to the constant tapping on the windows and the howl of the wind outside, as it tossed the clothes hanging on my balcony's laundry line. I watched one of my favorite movies.
Each time I watch this, it only gets better, Bill Murray becomes funnier, Scarlett Johansson more charming. This time around, however, I related on an entirely different level--as a person swallowed up by a foreign culture that can be both alienating and alluring.
On another note, we now share our home with the resident gecko, Queenie.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
At one point last week, I was sitting poolside with a colleague, a Canadian lawyer, waiting for the rain to let up, munching on hot frites and listening to the Fleetwood Mac tunes on perpetual loop, when the discussion of torture and detention came up. This time, it wasn't an abstract, academic exercise; it wasn't a debate, but a looming reality for someone we both knew. And I watched her lips move, heard the words come out, and tried to digest them whole.
But I could not. Instead, for days after, I ran the scenario in my head, even tried to justify it with Western logic, all the while struggling with the wall before me.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I love, love receiving care packages! The first one I received was from Mami, and it took some practice to balance the package on my lap, while I sat sidesaddle on the back of a moto bike. But I did it, and, once I was able open it up, I immediately laughed at the array of Jello, Pringles potato chips, Barilla pasta, and random Japanese candies my foodie friend sent me. The second package, from Adrian, contained nothing but Mexican spices to placate my need to consume tacos on a near-weekly basis.
This care package was different. Other than three, bubble-wrapped jars of sun-dried tomatoes and two bags of my dad's dried apples, there was hardly any food sent. Instead, my mum sent me two pairs of sandals, one of my Lover skirts (which I accidentally cut through with scissors, in my package-opening excitement), a few blouses, more 50+SPF sunscreen, and random beauty products, such as a bright lip stain. It was just what I needed, a lovely gesture from overseas to soften the blow of a demanding week. Thank you!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
But really, let's face it: I didn't bring any of those things to Phnom Penh for a reason. With the dust, dirt, and all the other parts of the city that slowly but surely stick to you, one piece at a time, like a second skin, this is not the place for treasured ivory silk dresses, or delicate carribea sandals.
I can dream.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Although I want to post pictures of the day's events, I think, for now, I'd rather stare at images of flowers and random details at the lovely sanctuary where we sat waiting for the events to unfold.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Other excitement-producing news: One of my best friends just told me that she is knocked up! She and her husband will make fantastic parents. I'm so happy for them.