Friday, October 22, 2010

Somedays, I have boring days.

Most of this week was meetings of all sorts, which I suppose is the norm. Yesterday we went to a convention: CAMHOTEL/CAMFOOD and CAMBUILD (and possibly some other CAM-names), Cambodia's first international conventions of the sort. Really it was in one big space. We knew some people who knew some people, and I met a girl that I had just been introduced to the night before, when Hok invited me to his friends' birthday get-together (which was nice, by the way, and a lot of the people there had also lived or studied in the US and were back working for their parents or themselves). Hok's brother was there selling paint, roofing, tin roofing sheets, etc- and spray on granite! I didn't even know that existed, although now I realize I have probably encountered it fairly often.
Today my dad had a small meeting with his building manager (which I couldn't follow much because it was in Khmer) and then he went with some associates and his engineer to the convention again, so he said I didn't really need to go again.
So I've been home all day, working on the tabi sock I'm knitting. I tried to look up more things on the biofuel crop we're considering, but I really found nothing new and my email to the company hasn't been answered yet (though I wonder if it got spam-filtered?). I will write a follow up today or Monday. My dad said it wasn't a priority, but still.
My mother is coming next week! She has an open return and hasn't planned when she will go back to the States yet, but I think she should spend most of her time in Thailand. I'll be in Thailand with her for a couple weeks or so accompanying her to the hospital (she's getting some ongoing condition checked out and I just wanted to see a doctor). I went to the dentist the other day, and it was clean and rather large- and missing the popular signs on many dental clinics scattered around Phnom Penh: Giant teeth or mouths, especially upper jaws hanging over the informative name-and-services sign.
The dentist/dental hygienist was kind of rough, in that she tended to yank my skin around, rest her fingers on my lips- pushing them onto my teeth, or right up next to my nose- so I couldn't breathe. Visiting the dentist is hardly ever comfortable, but she gave me the impression that she wasn't on the other side of the drill that often.
They are very stylish in an old fashioned way. Forget baggy scrubs printed with cartoon characters. She (and another woman I saw) wore a slim white miniskirt, white heels, a mod trim white jacket with a little stand up collar and zipper front, and a little starched cap! The idea of looking "professional" and being "practical" is a bit different here in Asia.
I don't know how easily I can update from Thailand, but we'll see.
Personal note: I use 'we' rather loosely since I haven't really told anyone but Dan about this blog, and I didn't tell him the address. So I don't know who, if anyone, is reading this. :)


Monday, October 18, 2010

Crafty musings and the Frankencoaster

I really want to make pillowcases now. -sigh- I was looking at crafting blogs and one shared a tutorial on making a rolled pillowcase (here: Scrapyard Fabrication blog).  Just the other day, I saw a bunch of cross stitched towels- the kind that are usually small guest or hand towels, with a strip of Aida cloth you can cross stitch on. I've cross stitched a few things, but nothing useful so far. I had a cross stitch kit of a wee hairy coo from Scotland (a hairy cow!) that I must have lost. I have the other cross stitch kit I bought from Scotland, a lavender sachet about 3 inches high and 1.5 inches across, still unfinished, still with the lavender.
Please note here that I bought this kit three and a half years ago.
I'm supposed to be trying my hand at "office worker modern young woman" or something, but it seems like I want to start a hope chest!
I am very old fashioned in some ways, especially when it comes to handicrafts. I knit, I sew, I was working on a quilt before I left, I can crochet and embroider- but like beading and cross stitch those last two have been lying dormant mostly. I just like making things and having something to show for it. I am also pretty fidgety, knitting helps me calm down!

Right now I am working on a pair of tabi socks for my boyfriend. I also made him a coaster the first week I was here. See, the mattress we bought for my bed had these weird noisy labels on them, so I picked them off and found out there was padding underneath. Hm! So I kept them. Then in a stack of clothing my mom had left here- she has clothing everywhere! In every closet! In other countries!!- I found some kind of bottle gift bag or glasses pouch kind of thing. I ripped it apart. I took some scrap yarn- yes, I brought over yarn to Cambodia because I knew it could be hard to find nice yarn here- and quilted up a coaster. The scrap yarn was actually from when I made him a pair of socks for his birthday and ran out of yarn so I made the toes in a contrasting yarn! The leftover contrasting color went into this coaster.

I call it the Frankencoaster and he's required to love it and I will probably make another. ^_^

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shopping List.

Today we went to the Lucky supermarket. I remember the Lucky market from when I was a little kid here, and how it was little too- the company has really grown with Cambodia. And it's huge! We also went to the Lucky department store which was... spacious.. but boring. The workers seemed REALLY excited to sell me stuff. Which was nice, but I did not need FIVE of them crowding me. Well, I'm used to feeling a little crowded at Asian department stores, since in American ones sometimes you can't even find an employee.

Anyways, the supermarket has a lot of variety now. I bought goat cheese and pickles. I've only started liking pickles this year, after an entire lifetime of not liking them.
The meat is in a million small styrofoam trays and you can seriously get so many things.
The labels read like:
Organic chicken
Black chicken
cross breed chicken
cambodia chicken
chicken hearts
chicken gizzards
chicken livers
chicken insides (mixed)
------that last one would be a variety pack of organs
quails (the s is a typo, but it would still have the head, just defeathered. and dead)
mix for sour soup (bones meat and veggies)
pork blood
pork kidneys
beef calf
beef calf leg.
salmon heads.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Old news- First days

I had even typed out posts but hadn't made a blog yet (mostly because I couldn't decide on a name).

So, here are my posts from several days ago!


October 2. 8:23 PM
I got in late on October 1st, so this was the first full day. I woke up around 7 AM- honestly, that's pretty early for me, even though being on any sort of consistent sleep schedule is pretty rare for me. I was very tired, and my dad's snoring didn't wake me up too often. I'm sleeping on the sofa (it's stiff) in his room while my room had to be rebuilt. I am not really sure why, since it doesn't seem like much changed. My dad said what they had been doing took longer than planned because they discovered that one of the support beams was no longer very stable and they had to replace it. They've also had to redo my father's bathroom because the wall they redid was part of the bathroom. Hopefully I should be able to get into that room in a few days- maybe Monday. Monday we will also be getting internet- my dad had disconnected his internet because he didn't use it at home that often but I will (and this new service is supposed to be better than his old one- it is fiber-optics). Then, just a few hours ago, my dad had an idea to put up a wall and a door to close off my room and the adjoining bathroom, and take out the existing door (it would also change the look of the staircase a little). That way I don't have to feel like I'm walking 'outside' to use the bathroom. More importantly, I can turn on the air-con in my room and it will help the bathroom feel cool. There's no window and the fan is only a tiny weak little thing, so they bathroom stays humid (common in Cambodia). This reconfiguration will take a few more days but I should still be able to get into my room. Tomorrow I can possibly move stuff into the wardrobes (which are in the hall right now) so I am not so awkwardly living out of my suitcases.

Today we went to Brown coffee shop twice; my dad really likes the place and thinks it may be the best in Phnom Penh. It's a very modern looking shop and I think it's got a great floor plan; the area is somewhat divided so you don't feel crowded, but you don't feel like everyone is watching you either. The last time I was there was in November and I think I might have ordered the same thing (an iced green tea latte). In the morning my dad didn't have enough one dollar bills (here almost everyone uses a combination of Cambodian riel and American dollars, but no coins) and I had left my wallet at home, so he ended up paying his $5 bill with a hundred dollar bill. Luckily the staff was able to make change!

I seem to be allergic to my new situation; I cannot tell if it is the water or the food or what. I have gotten a terribly itchy rash in various spots all over; luckily not my face yet. The thing is, I thought I started getting so itchy and noticing this rash (with red, raised bumps, often progressing to hives) when I was on my last plane ride, from Seoul to Phnom Penh. I don't know if was terrible stress that then combined with my complete change in water/soap/humidity etc. I really hope it goes away soon, though. It's thoroughly unpleasant. When one patch stops itching, another one seems to start up. I've been trying a variety of creams and powders and taking antihistamine pills. Dad just called a friend of his who he said is often itchy as well and picked up some medicine in Thailand. It's so easy to get medicine of all sorts there (and here, I suppose) over the counter- Thailand would seem to be a nation of hypochondriacs. Or perhaps they just think they can keep taking medications like vitamins to make them the best and healthiest person they can be. This friend of Dad's is on his way over- or perhaps one of his servants is, if they haven't gone home for the night. It's started raining hard, and it's noisy on the sheet-metal roofs across the street.

Oct 4 1:15 PM
Well, it turns out the internet won't be installed until tomorrow morning between 9 and 10 o'clock. Then, my dad wants me to look up something he's considering in biofuels- Giant King Grass, which is supposed to have a much higher yield than corn or switchgrass. Dad gave me a blackberry to use, although when the Samsung Galaxy Tab comes out here in a few weeks he thinks I ought to upgrade to that. It's supposed to be like an iPad, but you can actually make phone calls with it. I tried emailing from the Blackberry, but I think I was doing it wrong (the user manual isn't that helpful though). My dad said I can't get emails sent straight to the Blackberry, and that I have to use the browser, but I can't seem to get online. There is no 'Browser' application icon, but I have managed to set up what looks like the way my dad gets emails (straight to his Blackberry).
I also tried posting to Twitter but I realized it was connected to my old phone. I opened my old phone today and a flood of direct messages came in- all from Dan. We had been 'talking' the day before when I was in Brown coffee and he was playing DnD with his friends. He couldn't get online- because he was with his friends, of course, but also his roommate had let the bill go a little late and their internet had been suspended. It should be back up soon. They have divided the bills between them. When I lived with Matt over the summer, I simply let everything be put in his name since I knew I'd be leaving in a few months. He's done an okay job playing landlord, although things got a little hectic last month.
When I turned on my old phone I also got a message saying the international rate was something like $19.95 per MB (or GB?) so I didn't send anything back, not even to Twitter. My mother paid my phone bill in the States; she'll end the account in November before she comes here with my brother in December.
My dad just said we're going to go see the progress on the Siri Tower; I'll have to pick this up again later.

Well, I didn't pick it back up then but I am now!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

First Post! Short about me

Hi Everyone!
My name is Claudia and I'm starting a blog mostly because I just moved to Cambodia and this way my friends all over can keep track of what I'm doing. Also, it gives me something to do. I am planning to stay in Cambodia for about a year, and then I will move back to the States. I might still be using this blog, though, so it's not titled as to be specific to Cambodia. In fact, the title comes from my twitter username. That name comes from my inability to have the name I would have wanted, so my friend Alex T. suggested I use the captcha!

Thanks for reading,