Monday, July 12, 2010

Sihanoukville - Cambodian style

Breakfast 'Cambodian Style' By the Road side
Our trip to Sihanoukville started very early this morning with our rented bus picking me up at the hotel at 4am and then it was off to Svay Pak where the rest of the gang climbed on board at 4:30am and we were on our merry way. I really felt like I was off to a camp as the students were singing Christian songs in Khmer and of course even started barking and mewing like dogs and cats as they attempted to imitate the animal sounds. Two hours into the trip it was breakfast time Cambodian style. Bunthan had prepared little snack boxes with rice and pork. Our bus stopped at what appeared to be a Cambodian version of a 'rest stop' but it really was just at the side of the road. Everyone piled out and were sitting road side eating along with the soya sauce, pepper sauce and the vegetable. It was such a cute sight to see---I couldn't help but think only in Cambodia could this happen---that we would stop on a major road/highway to have breakfast on the side of the road.
Some of the students in their 'swimwear'

We checked into our hotel had a wonderful lunch of stir fried crab, sweet & sour fish and Tom Yum soup and then it was off to the beach. Cambodian swim wear is very different than what we in the west are used to wearing. Here anything goes--you can wear long pants, short pants, t-shirts, long sleeve shorts---literally anything. In fact, one of Pastor Chantha's students was swimming with his long pants and belt. Cambodians do not like to get dark and they cover up their entire bodies unlike us in the west who expose probably more than we should. The thought of swimming with all that clothes on just makes me hot!
Today I opted to go for a walk instead of swimming but I was being encouraged to just dive right in despite wearing my capris and t-shirt. However, I figure this delay gives me some extra time to figure out how I can be culturally sensitive with my own swimsuit attire :-)
Marinated BBQ Prawns

During our beach time, there are lots more peddlers on the beach in Sihanoukville from when I first visited here 10 years ago. It is quite crazy really as you have people begging, selling all sorts of trinkets and of course 'fast foods' Cambodian style are available. Today I tried out the bbq squid and the marinted bbq prawns. Seafood is quite cheap here and it was all quite tasty and very cheap---we bought 30 prawns all for $3.00.
BBQ Squid

Tonight after another sumptious dinner we left Pastor Chantha and Bunthan and I went off with the students to the 'night market'. Once again, I saw another fashion statement with some of the students wearing their pajamas to go for a walk. They all look so cute and I kept asking them if they were not hot as I was in a sweat but they were all feeling quite comfortable.

Out to the night market in pajamas

It has been quite a cultural experience to say the least and am enjoying it all. Life is so different when you see things through the lens of Cambodians. Tomorrow the students will be up for their daily 6am bible study time with Pastor Chantha and I will have my own private devotions before we head out to the beach for the baptisms.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this account, Lisa. Your description of the merchants on the beach reminded me of the Dominican Republic - the people there are very entrepreneurial and come around with all kinds of foods, paintings, offers of manicures and hair braiding, and even beer!

    I loved the picture of the girls in their pajamas! Teens in this part of the world enjoy going out in their pajamas, too, even to school. Sometimes schools have specific pajama days. The teens say pajamas are SOOOO comfortable!

    I pray that, as they are baptized, the students will meet God in the water in a powerful way that will stay with them always, and that, as they emerge, they will know that they are being lifted up into the life that God intends for them - the best life - the only true life. I celebrate with you all!

    Linda Ruth