Friday, 21 December 2012

keeping on, keeping on

Keeping on, keeping on

We have been busy getting our "back to Australia" life on track, we have a few ideas for presentations etc that we will get around to implementing after Christmas.

A huge thanks to Jen in Sihanoukville at the Goodwill Center for continuing with some of the work by disbursing funds to help. Another recent food drop was undertaken.  This goes to people who are desperately poor and short of everything, food being the most urgent.


Speaking of food, we recently had a surplus of veggies from our small farm. Way in excess of what we could eat and more than we could give away to our helpful neighbors, so an opportunity to sell the excess was available at the Nymboida Night Market. Its a regular affair held through the day usually but a special twilight market was organised.  A huge thank you to John and Jenny Spencer for selling the produce on our behalf, and to everyone that purchased it and a huge thank you to Steve for growing the food, he had planted it all in our gardens when he was minding our property,  so when we got back the garden was lussshhhh with produce...  I had another commitment that evening that I needed to attend to, John and Jenny raised $40 that will go to the Fund.

Our produce for sale


As some of you may remember, we have sponsored Sok Mong to go to University, recent expenses include his new uniform, here he is "modelling"it for us, looking very spiffy.

Sok Mong

Financials and donations

As ever the financials are being kept up to date and as transparent as we can make them, they can be accessed here and if you do feel inclined to donate, the information is here

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Still getting stuff done

Food Aid

A huge thanks to Jen from the Goodwill Center for helping continue some of the projects we had set in place in Sihanoukville.  Long time readers may remember we have opened  bank account in Cambodia and put funds in it and given the ATM card to Jen to help with the work.  Last week she was continuing our food project that helps the poorest families survive and send their kids to school.  How does it work ? The parents are so poor that they keep their children at home to help with chores in the small business to help them survive. They need to choose food over education in really extreme cases. We give them the occasional food aid parcel to take the stress off them but only if they allow the kids to attend the Goodwill Center and continue their extra English and Computer classes.

Happy !

Back in Australia

Well, we have been back in Australia for two weeks now. That is taking some getting used to and we are both finding it difficult to adjust in different ways. We plan to catch up with as many locals as we can to say Thank you for their support and give them some thank you gifts. We also plan to keep raising funds to make sure the projects we are involved in can keep going, particularly the support for Romdual School, The Goodwill Center and various small community projects.  Anyone who wants to keep giving, give until it hurts ha ha ! 'cause over there, many do hurt.

For those interested, you can follow our Australian experiences on our small 45 acre property here

Our cottage in the bush, in Australia
You can add subscribe by adding your email address in the area that looks like this

part way down on the right hand side of the blog.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Leaving Cambodia and Financial update

Leaving Cambodia

Well, we have decided it's time to leave Cambodia temporarily,. We were sorely tempted to stay indefinitely, the place is so wonderful but a few things need sorting out back in Australia.  Its time we gave our friend Steve back his life after he has put it on hold to look after our property. We need to go back to regroup and replace all our stolen equipment (much of it unable to be sourced in Cambodia) so we are heading back.

It's with a very heavy heart that we leave Cambodia. It is a wonderful place and we're not sure how we'll cope with the plethora of laws and restrictions to personal liberties that seem to be enacted on a daily basis back in Australia. The societal diversity, being used to meeting a dozen different ethnicities when walking down the street, was a wonderful experience.  We have also made friends with many Cambodian locals. Mongs Family cooked a wonderful meal and invited us over to say goodbye.

One of the farewell dinners

Romdual School - Friends group saying thanks

Our friend Heack cooking us Khmer pork ribs - TASTY !

Fruit for Desert ! Dragon fruit & Watermelon

Heack, inspired by the Grigg's girls photos using Poi, nearly knocking himself out ! 

Crying, as I explained to the children (khmeng khmeng) at the Goodwill Centre that I was leaving
and where Cambodia is in relation to Australia

Sokhar, an HIV positive orphan wiping tears from my eyes as I explained to him
I was leaving, I will never think I have a hard life again !

Cambodia is currently an ethnic cornucopia of ex-pats. We met people from all over the globe:  Ireland, England, Sweden, Denmark, USA, Canada, Germany, Finland, Ukraine and on and on but we love the Australian bush and our small 50 acre property with it's low environmental impact  and our wonderful small community at Nymboida, so we're looking forward to being back.

We look forward to seeing all our wonderful friends and acquaintances when we get back and thanking them for their support. Currently we plan to be back into Australia on 9th  November.  We hope to raise more money to help the projects we are funding in Cambodia as we now have a reliable network there to ensure the funds are used wisely and a fee free way to disperse the funds.   We are hopeful we can do a couple of local displays on what we have been doing over here, more on that later.

Friday, 19 October 2012

In Phnom Penh

Unfortunately as readers will be aware our camera gear was all stolen so we' ll do our best to paint a picture with our prose.

We are currently in Phnom Penh, out networking with two wonderful groups doing some amazing work.  COLT,  who are working with Orphaned Children in urban Phnom Penh and CHOICE doing an equally great job with the poorest of the poor on the rural fringes of Phnom Penh.  Long term blog followers may remember that both these great organizations had been visited before.

We have also spent time at the Russian Market, so named as the market Russian ex-pats visited back in time when they were the quasi colonial power in the '80s. This market (or Phsar in Khmer) is a little different to the main market (Phsar Thmey) in Phnom Penh, full of food stuffs & tourist t-shirts but has some exquisite crafts & art work from local Cambodian artisans as well as the more ubiquitous food stuffs, t-shirts & bootlegged movies & software.


COLT work with orphans from Phnom Penh, unfortunately many orphanages in Cambodia have an unsavory reputation and are simply there as a money making concern,  complete with "rent-an-orphan", where unsuspecting barang (Khmer word for western foreigners) are milked for donations.  One of the great things about being on the ground is being able to do some due diligence on organisations and we are happy to say from everything we've seen, both these organisations are the real deal.

Photo of poster on the back of the door at the toilet of our guesthouse (taken with phone camera)

COLT have a large solar install underway, so I was keen to see that. The money raised for the project was from generous donors, mostly from Holland. Part of that is having electric scooters (or moto's as they're called locally) that can be charged from the solar system. When the install is complete it will provide them with an energy self sufficiency  that will be empowering and provide free power to the school and orphanage. We gave them a donation of $100 toward the Hand in Hand project.


It's hard to find the superlatives that describe the wonderful work these guys do.  They provide essential needs for five villages one hour from Phnom Penh. If you can picture the poorest & dispossessed who live under pieces of tin and old tarpaulins, no fresh water. These are the people they help with the simplest of necessities.  Choice provide fresh water every day, food drops once a week and clothing once a month. We purchased some rice, tinned fish for 200 people and gave them a small donation of $50.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Food drop and chicken in a pot

Food Parcel Drop

We did another food drop to the very poor on the outskirts of the village the other day. We'll let the photos speaks for themselves.  Some of you who receive this via email may need to come to the blog site to view the photo slideshow. Each month we spend $60 approx to purchase rice, sauces and tinned fish (good source of Niacin, Calcium, Protein and Vitamin D)

Food for us

Speaking of food we had a Khmer friend come over and show us how to cook something local.  The minimalism of the cooking facilities is offset by the ingenuity of using what they do have.  By this I mean they have no ovens etc and as this simplicity appeals we were interested to see how they cooked a chicken.  A pot of course !

Chicken in a pot
He laid some lemon grass at the bottom, put the entire chicken in the pot, some congealed chicken blood, the liquid from a freshly opened coconut (no need to get it out of a can here)

Fresh Coconut - they're full of juice

and in a nod to modernity sprinkled in some chicken stock.  Then put it on a high heat and boiled it for a couple hours. The chicken was superb I must say and interesting to see how it was cooked.

There is such a variety of foods to be tried here in Cambodia. Two that piqued my interest were BBQ frog and BBQ snake, you can get just about anything on a stick here including a snake.

Snake on a stick and BBQ frog


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Romdual School update and Uni

Romdual School Update

The desks have been installed and we have a couple of photos showing them at the school, they look great.

School Desks in place

with kids !

We have also purchased a white board and suitable pens to use in the school room and they will be delivered to the school in the next few days.   You can read more about the happenings at the school here

University for Sok Mong

After Mong did so well at his final Year 12 school exams, we  have decided to commit to sponsoring his first year at a local Sihanoukville University, LIFE University.  It's a $150 commitment for the first year and we've let him know further commitments will require hard work and good grades.  Toni went up to Uni to complete the forms and pay the fees.

Completing University Entrance Forms

Enrolled and ready to go, the rest is up to him

He will be studying for a Languages and Tourism degree.  We have committed to the fees from the donations account, he has to find the money for books etc

Waiting for the rain to stop before going back to soccer
He's also taken on the Coach position for the new Goodwill Center Soccer team, so I purchased him some new soccer boots from our own money. We wish him all the best in both endeavours !

Street Vendors

One of the things we love about Cambodia are the street vendors.  These people travel around on scooters, pushbike and on foot and you can just grab a snack.  One of the tasty treats we have become addicted to are these eggs.

Bporng Moa-un Ang (BBQ Egg)
 The eggs have a small hole in one end, the egg is sucked out with a syringe and mixed with pepper, garlic and various spices, depending on the vendor and then injected back into the egg with the syringe and boiled. They then heat them over coals as they drive around on their motos.

Bporng Moa-un Ang with supplied  lime and S&P mix

Very tasty and we're a sucker for them ! 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

School Supplies and Finances

School Supplies

One of the projects we have been working towards for a few weeks is getting more of the poorest children to go to school.  Toni has been working with Kolab, one of the Staff at the Goodwill Centre to help identify some of the poorest children.  These are often the ones who have everything against them, losing one or both parents is typically the major contributor.

While the Goodwill Centre does a great job of providing care for children in the community and access to materials and facilities they would never see elsewhere and access to free English language and Computer classes for anyone in the village who wants to improve themselves, the children still have to go to Khmer public school.  One of the requirements to go to school is they must wear a school uniform.  Some have no chance of affording that, so we identified six at risk children who have stopped going because of that and went on a small shopping trip to provide them with two uniforms, a backpack and minor supplies like pencils, books etc.

Kolab with the kids at the local Phsar (market)

In the "change room". measuring up
Everyone into the Tuk Tuk to go back to the Goodwill Center
Back at the Goodwill Center for the obligatory group shot
All up we spent $126 and look at their smiles.

This is one of the things about being here on the ground and forming relationships in the community, you are actually able to help and by maintaining those relationships, continue helping and monitoring into the future. We  don't have to go through a variety of middleman, all taking their legal cut, you don't have to deal with bureaucracy, you just get things done, immensely satisfying but impossible if we had not had the help of all you guys back in Australia, giving donations, thank you so very much.

Changing the Finances

Knowing we were eventually coming back to Australia, we have been struggling for some time to come up with a solution on how best to enable the continual use of the funds.  Transferring money from Aus to Cambodia is expensive, often the fees involved are more than the money itself. The donation money going to Bankers seems a poor use of funds, as does us paying for it personally.

Canadia Bank Account: Cambodian Donations Account

The solution we have come up with is to open a bank account here in Cambodia and transfer the majority of the remaining funds. We then attached an ATM card ($6 fee over here as most don't use them) and leave that with a trusted local,  Jen Hoggett.   Jen is a long term English expat. We met Jen when we first came here and taught English with her at the school in Wat Otres. Jen has been volunteering at the Goodwill Center for over a month and is well respected in the community. We have complete faith in Jen.  We have contacted all the local groups we have dealt with and advised them that if they have projects etc they want funded they are to contact us via email. If we think their project is worthy, we will advise Jen of the amount via email and Skype, she will then withdraw the money from the ATM and they will give her receipts/invoices etc that will be copied electronically and sent to us.

We decided to do this, as from the outset, the money is supposed to be there to help the peoples of Cambodian.  The Cambodian banking system is still quite "old school", yes they have Passbooks and electronic banking is a far away dream, it's probably akin to the Australian banking system in the 1980's. The bank we used is Canadia. We hope everyone agrees this is the best solution ?

In that respect we added the details of the new bank account to the Financials Page, go there if you want more info.

Sunday, 9 September 2012


Financial Updates

Well that time of the month sees the financials having been balanced for the end of the month.  Go to the link on the financials page at the top of the blog if you want to review any of it

Update on Mong's Dad (Keo Sok)

Some of you may remember that Mong's Dad fell from the roof and did himself some real damage, his legs did not move etc  Anyway, he is up and about and thanks to the kind donation of Trevor's family, half of the medical bills were paid for and they didn't have to sell their scooter to pay their neighbor back. The scooter is how Mong makes money as a moto driver to help his family and save for university so it would be a real setback if that had happened.

Mong's Dad  (Keo Sok) on his crutch

It was mentioned that this was an indication about how the plethora of OH&S rules help people in the West but this is not quite true.

OHS catastrophe waiting to happen  

I know two people from Townsville, Australia (my old home town) that fell off the roof of their house while doing work up there. It's more a reflection of a terrible health system here.  Here, Mongs father was put onto the back of a scooter and sandwiched between passenger and driver, driven over a bumpy road and taken to the nearby clinic while unconscious, (no hospital here in Sihanoukville) they stabilised him and then a private taxi was hired by the family and he was transported to Phnomn Penh for five hours in the back of that taxi... in Australia an Ambulance would have been called and transported to the nearest hospital... but enough of that, the great thing is he is getting better every day !

Another wedding

Mongs elder Sister invited Toni to her wedding, the new kitchen was put to good use to prepare the celebratory feast .
Wedding feast preparations

Ducks being killed and prepared !

Theft update

As per the last blog post all our camera gear and computers have been stolen, so we will only be able to post very sporadically when we can get access to loaner equipment. None of the equipment has been recovered and it is very doubtful it ever will and yes we were drugged, apparently the modus operandi is they send in a small child to hold a cloth with a knockout chemical under you nose, you breath it in, knock you out and they then go about robbing you, stuff was scattered everywhere, which was why we had no idea how we could not have been woken up.  The tell tale sign being the horrendous headache the next day we both suffered, to all those out there that though my snoring must have been the reason ! 

I had just got the okay from an art Gallery back in NSW to do a portrait exhibition when I returned back to Australia and I had everything organised to start the shoot here, so not being able to do that is very disappointing as well.

Interestingly, I was trying to justify the theft as "they are really poor so I can kind if understand it" to a Khmer friend.  He said "I am very poor and I never steal, they are bastards !"  I guess he was right... and yes he is very poor, we have been to his house, it is not much better than our chicken house at home.  

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Unfortunately there may be a delay to transmissions, we have had all our camera gear (high end Nikon DSLR and lenses and Pentax compact camera) as well as our Dell XPS15z laptop, Nook Color ebook and all our cash money stolen.  Luckily none of the donation money from Australia was taken as it was all in the bank but we did have a fair amount of money stolen that was from the Goodwill Center, which is the worst. All up, close to $A12,000 in cash and equipment to replace we estimate.

We will only have very sporadic access to a computer so it could be weeks between updates and the only photos will be from the phone.

Sorry about that but it was beyond our control.

Beside the complete invasion of privacy that we feel, they did it while we were asleep and we now feel incredibly vulnerable.  The worst thing, we had some $USD8,500 personal cash put aside in the bank to be used to help micro-finance a small business initiative over here, to help local Khmer get out of the poorest conditions and help them help themselves  but we can't afford to do that now as we will have to replace the stolen equipment. The camera and laptop are crucial to Trevor's work.

This incident in no way affects our dedication to helping the Cambodian people. We will return to Australia to save money to purchase replacement equipment and increase our efforts to raise funds to bring back over in the future.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

ahead of the game and updates


Some of you may remember some months ago where we used $50 donated by Jenny from Nymboida to install a toilet at a Cambodian villagers house.

The toilet that Jenny's donation built

Some may laugh but the lack of toilet facilities over here is a real problem.  A news report indicated as many as 10,000,000 Cambodians have no access to a toilet and this probably contributed to the recent EV-71 disease outbreak that resulted in the deaths of some 70 children across Cambodia a few months ago.  So serious is the issue, it seems Bill and Melida Gates (everyone will probably Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, he retired some years ago to use his fortune, joined with Warren Buffett's, to do humanitarian work) feel similarly to us and have just announced they are investing some $11 Million into the initiative of adding toilets to communities in the region. They are also  investing in trying to design a better toilet for use in the developing world.  So well done to them and well done to you guys for similarly helping, albeit in a much smaller way.

Now, where is my pirated copy of Windows 8 <grin>

Romdual School Desks

The desks have been finished and transported out to the school, we hope to get a photo of them in-situ.  No one remembered to take a photo of them being transported.  Thanks to your donations, the kids don't have to sit on the floor and we have given them part of the cost of a teachers wage for a year, when they have recruited a teacher. (Monthly salary $70, of which we have committed to $10 x 12 months = $120)

Steung Hav School Cover

The construction of the school cover is well underway.  We were sent some photos recently.
Steung Hav shelter foundations

Steung Hav shelter

You guys paid for this, somewhere for the kids to play during the monsoon season, out of the mud.

Site update

A minor modification to the links section has been made, with the update leading to other interesting organisations doing good work locally, ones we're involved with closely.  For those not in the know, the links are on the RHS near the top.  
Go to the top right section of the blog to find this information

I have taken a sample screen shot to indicate the changes.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

That was then, this is now

That was then 

Every now and again Cambodia's recent history slaps you in the face as a reminder as to why their country is like it is.  No, not the ongoing unexploded ordnance left over from the US led Australian backed Vietnam War exploding, still killing and disabling farmers and children to this day but the even more odious history of the Khmer Rouge.  While the ongoing, seemingly farcical Khmer Rough trials are happening, events like the continual unearthing of Killing Fields are a not so subtle reminder of recent history.

A newly unearth Killing Field in Siem Reap (picture from Phnom Penh Post)

Visiting such sites is extraordinarily emotive for anyone with any empathy for humanity

1 of 1000's of skull at Choung Ek Killing Field
(we did last year, more photos here) even for those of us not involved, I can only image the emotions of those actually finding the remains of relatives.

This is now

Of course the result of all of the above is the society observed today, on a "GDP per Capita" basis. Cambodia is near the bottom in terms of the wealth of it's citizens when compared to other nations. Not that many nations have not helped. Billions of dollars of Aid had been poured in, often misdirected with misdirected oversight by large bureaucracies and the ineptness this invariably brings (not a slight on anyone in particular, it's simply an unfortunate side effect of the implementation of large projects anywhere, by anyone).  The result ? A grinding poverty for many.

While we are forever mindful of the Chinese proverb about "teach a man to fish..." it's not so easy when directly confronted with incredible grinding poverty to ignore the plight of ones fellow human being.  Where, while trying to teach them to fish, which we do here every day by helping here and here for example, they struggle to eat in the interim.  With that in mind we organised another parcel of food, 

with the proviso the children of the families we help keep attending school etc, this temporarily keeps pressure off the family, hopefully keeping the children at school and not having to be put to work to help feed the family.

It's been a hard week, but not so much different from every other week.  To lighten the load a little, we could of course always refer to the immortal George Carlin-

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Streets, desks and death

Monthly Reconciliation

That time of the month again, the "books" have been balanced.  You can see whats going on by going to the Financials Page if you're interested.

Desk for Romdual School

The first desk for Romdual School has been built, we have committed $320 to funding the purchase of 10 desks and helping fund the salary of $70 a month for the new teacher, our commitment there is $10 x 12 =$120.   All in US Dollars.

School desks

The builder will be on a roll from here and have them knocked out in no time.  For those of you new to the blog, the school is a tiny affair in the rural area on the outskirts of Sihanoukville, on the Ream Rv.

Whale Shark

A Khmer friend of ours called us up, saying there was a "big dolphin... very big dolphin" down at one of the local fishing villages. We had a couple hours free, so we jumped in his tuk tuk and headed off, mildly intrigued but knowing this was not going to be a "Seaworld" or Disney type experience.  After some zigging, a lot of zagging and much cursing as my tailbone was shoved up through my spine on the rough road.  We parked up and trekked through a maze of small alleyways...  I spotted it lolling lifelessly against the peer and new instantly what it was, an immature whale shark, tied up to the side of the pier, being butchered.

All in all I found it pretty confronting but then observing the abject poverty of the locals on the way there, it's very understandable. To them this is enough food to feed many families.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Phnom Penh and Donations

Donations Update

Thank you to Dave and Nadine Bromhill for there recent donation as well as Chantel for mailing items to us here in Cambodia for use by the local Khmer kids.  Also a thank you to Ann Smith, Trevor's Mum for her wonderful donation along with a mystery donor for her insistence in helping out Mong's family after his fathers recent medical issues.  Of course we can't forget our regular donors Richard and Bernadette. It may seem like we carry on about this but honestly, this whole thing only works with you guys helping out, the money goes a long way over here and is really appreciated.

Even if you think you can't help, $5 or $10 can make a huge difference, especially if there are many people making similar donation amounts.  

Moving Along

Sometimes the poverty slaps you in the face, most of the time you harden yourself and ignore it. Those of you having travelled to developing countries will have some understanding but living with it is a whole different paradigm.  This little fellow

approached, as is often the case, with ribs poking out while we were eating dinner at a cheap hole in the wall cafe begging to be fed.  Feeding them is bad as it encourages them to be away from their homes (mind you one has to wonder at the quality of the home life is this is a better option), so here I am a comparatively fat, sweaty pale westerner ('barang' is the local colloquial term for all foreigners), how could a human do anything else except give him my meal... which he proceeded to ravage.  I am not saying this is anything special, it's very common and Cambodia is still a country where people actually die from starvation. I just happened to have my camera with me that night.

Phnom Penh

During the recent closure of all schools in Cambodia due to an EV-71 virus outbreak and the subsequent deaths of some 60 small children, we managed a quick trip to Phnom Penh for a couple of days.  We caught up with a young artist from Sihnaoukville whom we have befriended, Chow Maily.

Mailey and two of his entries, to his right 

He was part of  an exhibit of young Cambodian artists being shown at one of the local small galleries and advised us he had just won a full scholarship to Phnom Penh to study architect.  He will have a bright future if he can stick to it and not be distracted. We can only wish him all the best for the future.

We also took a walk down to the Mekong Rv in the early morning.  Phnom Penh lies on the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers (the river coming down from Angkor Wat)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

more updates

Stueng Hav

Toni went out to Stueng Hav with Thet, from M'lop Tapang (a very large Sihanoukville based charity that do extraordinarily good work with Children) to check how things were going. We have committed to helping fund a covered area for children to use at the main school.  The school and teachers at Stueng Hav are financed by the kind donations of a charitable group from Germany, "Future for Steng Hau" (Zukunft fuer Steng Hau e.V.) as with everyone they struggle with funds and do the best they can.

Construction has started on the extensions funded by "Future for Steng Hau" (Zukunft fuer Steng Hau e.V.) which include a new library/computer room.

"Future for Steng Hau" (Zukunft fuer Steng Hau e.V.)  run a spoke and hub type model, with many smaller classes often under houses and behind small shops in other parts of the village.  The facilites where the classes are run outside the centre are of course very basic.
School-ette under a local house

Painful Truth

Toni was also able to meet with a woman, who has a life threatening stomach problem of some sort (twisted intestine perhaps). She is unable to afford the $4000 surgery needed to save her life, an Operation, that can't be done in Cambodia and needs her to fly to Vietnam. 

Living her last days on a bamboo matt on a concrete floor

She has two children, she is left to live out her life on a bamboo matt, on the concrete floor of the local Wat.  We donated $50 for materials to fix the roof of a building closer to the toilets as she has to be carried there daily by an older woman, who helps the monks care for the lady. Toni gave $20, a small amount of money to buy food, water to live on until she dies in the very near future, what to do, such is life in Cambodia.  We also gave $30 to the Monks to help with expenses in looking after the two children. 

Donation to Monk for child support

Longer term we hope the kids will be moved to Sihanoukville, under the auspices of M'Lop Tapang.  Thank you to the donors back in Aus. for allowing us to help.

English Teacher at Goodwill Center

Our recent 12 month commitment ($32pm x 12mths = $384) to help partially fund a new English teacher in conjunction with HtCC has borne fruit   The classes have started and are well attended.  The Khmer teacher is paid $50 per month for teaching part time, 5 days a week.  He had worked at the Center (yes they use the American spelling of Centre!) before and left to complete his Bachelor of Education.  

The kids love him and the classes are going well. 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Koh Rong

Koh Rong Island, off Sihanoukville

Just in case you guys think it's a  hard life for us over here, we managed to get away and camp at nearby Koh Rong Island for a couple days.
Toni swimming on a beach at Koh Rong.

View Larger Map

Hammocks, tins of baked beans, apples and cup-a-soups... we're packed.  We seemed to strike it very lucky with the weather, it rained the morning we left but then stopped until we were back in Sihanoukville, were it started to rain again !

Hennesy Hammocks set up on the beach

Fighting the smoke to check if the waters boiling

Sunset !

The Island currently has a couple local Khmer villages, 

Village Shacks

Local Island girl.

that until now have been subsistence and a few "eco" bungalows 
Treehouse Bungalows

that are typically from $5 to $20 a night.  I use "eco" in inverted commas because they unfortunately all seem to run off generators.  The locals have been able to earn money building the bungalows for the tourists and set up small shops selling drinks and snacks to the backpapers that invade.

We had been there before and wanted to go back before it's developed into a mega resort, with de riguer Casino and Golf Course, the sort of place that suits someone looking for a different experience to us.  If we ever get back it will be changed, the bulldozers have just started.