A day in the Cambodian countryside.

Charles has been living in Phonm Penh off and on for many years and has befriended people over time. Today we went into the countryside to visit the home of Ro’s parents. Ro is in the middle between Charles and Chanras. It took a little over an hour to get to their home.

Apparently at least 10 other members of my extended family and their friends have enjoyed their hospitality over the years.
This platform became the table for a lovely meal, then we were invited to have a nap when the meal was cleared away.The meal consisted of three fish dishes, roast chicken, Khmer beef with green tomatoes and onions, a cabbage dish, mango salad, rice and homemade condiments.We all sat together cross legged on the platform to enjoy our meal.
On the tuktuk ride we stopped and bought some lotus seed pods and learned how to break them open like a pomegranate. You also have to peel the seeds. All in all a great day.


Yesterday we spent wandering round Saigon, starting with the very disturbing War Remnants Museum. It is all about the Vietnam war, starting with the French and continuing with the Americans.Our next stop was the Reunification Palace, a fabulous 1960’s building with amazing furnishings. Huge estate rooms and a grand staircase.From there we went to the central post office.It was designed by Eiffel, of tower fame.Attached to the post office was a McDonalds, so I did my traditional visit to see what the local item was. Pork with rice. Horrible, reconstituted pork.

24 hour bus ride…Still doing fine

Here in Southeast Asia, the sleeper bus is all the rage. We just finished an 844 km journey from Hoi An to Saigon, which took 24 hours. The bus was supposed to leave at 6 pm and it pulled into place and took on the bags then. Then the power trip started. They kept coming and opening the door, telling us to wait and leaving again. After an hour they let us on the bus but tried to bully us to the back “behind!,behind!”. It became obvious in the morning that they wanted their friends near the front. Fair enough, I suppose.The journey was long, but we knew it would be so we weren’t bothered at all. Snoozing off and on, waking up to see little vignettes, hills, towns,rice paddies and beaches. The seating is very civilized, each with their own pod. We have been on 4 different buses so far (we also had an 18 hour journey from Hanoi to Hoi An)and each of us has had two seats that come back up to sitting, many are broken.
We got spit off one bus not long after dawn and had to line up outside the next one for 45 minutes after our bags went on. At least it was beside a pretty river.

I am a sucker for those world heritage sites….

n.B. WordPress is apparently censored here, so it is intermittently available for posting
Today, we went on a day trip from Hoi An to the My Son temple complex. We took the swishy tour, so for $75 cnd, we had our own car and driver.As well as a tour guide, Lam, in the pink shirt. He was quite well informed and very pleasant.
We toured the ruins, a 3rd to 12th century Hindu site.Luckily we had been warned about the heat, and found surprisingly few other tourists, another thing we had been prepared for.
After the site, we went out to lunch at a “local food” restaurant (rice noodles with chicken) and ended with a boat back to the city …with a stop at the obligatory artisan village. Thankfully there was not much of a hard sell. Their hearts weren’t into it, probably the heat.

Home and away

The view from our living room window before we left on Friday
And after a mere 30 hour journey we are in Hanoi
Yesterday we went to the fine art museumToday the Temple of Literature
And the Ngoc Son Temple
On an island in Hoan Kiem Lake

Two shades of grey, Barbara

My sister Philippa has always been one of my biggest supporters. She is 18 months younger than me, but has been more mature since we were very young. When I was in pottery school, she used to buy my bowls so I could have a bit of spending money. She was a faithful reader of my early travel blogs, and may be the only person except Alan who has read every post of this blog. Penny, if you have too, I apologise in advance. Her request was a hat in shades of grey to match her new coat.

I did the light grey band first on straight needles, then picked up off both edges. I am still in the cable chapter, so my new standard is 120 stitches. I had 14 repeats of the Banana Tree, pg 269, so on the bottom edge of the banana tree band, I alternated between picking up 8, then 9 stitches per repeat to get to my 120. I did one repeat of the Wave of Honey Cable or Little Chain, pg 252, then started doing short rows so that I ended up with 3 repeats at the front and only one at the back. I then did 4 rows of garter stitch in black and cast off loosely. I decreased to 100 stitches for the garter stitch by knitting the purls between the cables together. This served two purposes. It decreased down to the 100 stitches needed for the plain knitting to have a similar tension as 120 stitches of cabling, and it bound the transitions of the short rows together to cinch the gaps.

For the top edge of the light grey band, I only picked up 7 stitches per repeat ..98 stitches which I then reduced to 96 in my first pattern row (16 x 6). I did twice through the little chain cable, before getting rid of every fourth, then every third and then every other cable. To get rid of a cable, I purled the first and last of the four knit stitches of the cable, and did a slip 1, k1, psso on the middle two, so I had 3 purls, one knit and 3 purls. Next row, I did p2tog, p1, p1 on top of the cable, p1, p2tog, bringing it down to 5 purls. Next row p2tog, p1, p2tog, down to 3 purls, then on the next row p2tog, p1. This way you get rid of one 6 stitch repeat over 4 rows. Looking at the finished picture, I think it may have been better to use the light grey to pick up the stitches, then switch to the dark grey after the pick up row. It does not really look messy in real life though, the camera accentuates the transition because of the difference in value of the two shades. As far as the travel plans go…we are at the gathering crap in a basket stage.