Island life for a day

Koh Rong Island

Last week I had a super fun visitor, my friend Carly. She made the trek from New York City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for a 10 day stretch to see SE Asia…really Cambodia (but I think she’s hooked to return to SE Asia again).

Since the last time I blogged there have been a lot of “future” thoughts filling my mind. The dreaded “what next” questions that get you excited to daydream and on the other hand leave you shaking a bit in your pants because you just don’t know yet. So when Carly came I knew there was, a) a wonderful distraction from those thoughts b) a great excuse to take time off work and c) play ‘tourist’ with her around Cambodia.

4th of July in Cambodia–we tried to eat steak but realized it was too fancy for us, so we ate pizza instead


Having a familiar face see what life is like on the regular was pretty funny. Granted, when my brother, Andrew, and sister-in-law, Dana, visited last month they got a glimpse into my life as well. There was something a little more, lets say ‘intimate’, about Carly’s visit because she was bunking with me and our main form of transportation was on my moto. At the end of her visit I felt like a glorified moto-dope (Moto-dope is a driver that you pay to take you on the back of their mot0… cheaper than a taxi or tuk tuk). There were moments throughout the week that I was reminded that I am becoming more accustomed to life in Phnom Penh and what may not be typical elsewhere.

For example:

  • The “style” of driving: going down the wrong side of the road as a short-cut
  • The things they carry: Whether it’s fitting 5 people on one moto, making it the “family car” or transporting a glass windshield with the 2nd passenger holding the fate of the glass in his grip… never short of extraordinary!
  • Cambodian bidet: a hose next to the toilet. Looks out of place but is very useful when toilet paper is not present. *too much information? Whoops.

I let Carly go off to Siem Reap, as I went there with Andrew and Dana a few weeks prior. When she returned to Phnom Penh we set off to Sihanoukville and Koh Rong, an island off of Sihanoukville. As it’s currently rainy season, you take the chance of crazy storms when you visit the beaches. But, then again, you miss the crowds. We managed to have some nice afternoons mixed with some moderate showers to keep the sun from scorching us. The highlight was probably catching up with some friends on the island and exploring Koh Rong with them. We decided on a half-day boat tour that looked awesome.There was just one catch. I tend to get sea sick even on a row boat. But one of our friends was ready for any nausea or illness we may feel so we got ready for a day at sea.

We arrived in Sihanoukville- beach time!
Boat tour in Koh Rong with Carly, Maggy and Ruthie–our two friends who work for Daughters of Cambodia

From snorkeling to exploring a secluded beach, it felt that the only thing missing was finding a treehouse on the hills to live like the Robinson Family. It was a long day on a boat  for me but the pièce de résistance was the last stop on our boat tour. A night swim with bioluminescent plankton! Most commonly found in warm coastal waters, this type of plankton glows blue they are moved so it makes swimming feel quite magical.

Bioluminescent Plankton in Koh Rong (not my photo)

After our magical night on the island, we travelled back to Phnom Penh. After Carly flew out work picked up and the week flew by at lightning speed. It’s already Sunday now and one of my closest friends here is flying back to California on Wednesday. There are a lot of “hellos” and “goodbyes” lately that have me constantly in a state of reflection and sharing. Sharing about my life here with friends back home then reflecting on the time I have had with new friends in Cambodia. Definitely having a lot of “feels” right now that are good and have their time. So this afternoon is being spent at Cafe Dandra–aka: my room with dim lights, coffee and air con (no music necessary as there is ceremonial chanting happening by my house)– soaking it all in.

The guest of honor, Neriah, for dinner and a movie at Aeon Mall. I love this lady dearly.

In honor of the upcoming six month marker in Cambodia at the end of July I will close with a quote:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller



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