Where did a week go?

Its now a week since the wonderful Cambodian wedding.

Such great memories of a great occasion.

The girls spa. Great fun.

Villa Vedici. A great place for a group to stay. A pool, air con, a bar! , restaurant. A bad road in but who cares!

The morning wedding. Special

Two beautiful strong girls in our boys lives. Elena with Steve and Jordan with me. Lucky us.  
Loved having some friends  and relatives from Peters childhood join us. We are all fans of a Cambodian wedding!

The trip down the river was a wonderful way to arrive at Greenhouse.

Rob and Jordan and cousin Clare came from Australia to celebrate. 
In the afternoon the bride arrived by boat. She was radiant. A friend played a ukulele. Peter beamed.  
It was wonderful having my sister and her daughter Clare join Svetlana, Elena’s mum at the wedding.

All the ladies had a ball.

The next day was recovery day at Kep. We indulged in Pepper crab a local speciality.


So we welcome our new daughter in law and her mother Svetlana.

Now we are at the beach. Recovery time for us. Pete and Elena are still in Cambodia for a few weeks and Rob and Jordan are in Vietnam for another two weeks.

What a month.

Wedding Night

It seems like the longest wedding ever. After a beautiful traditional morning ceremony we boarded the boat for the hour long trip up the river.

Women guests were dressed in floaty dress and the men – on the whole in shorts. It was warm. Too warm for the lovely jacket Elena had planned for Peter.


We arrived to cheering and Nick , Peter’s friend and MC ( or the ‘Party Planner ‘ as Rob called him) , pulled the boat to shore.


Elena was still circling in her boat waiting for the groom to arrive before we could start. Finally the groom was ready and she landed along with her mother and brother-  to loud cheers.

She looked beautiful in her third wedding outfit! Brisbane, Cambodian dress and today a lace dress. What a stunning Bride. She glowed.

The ceremony began on the little beach. Rob, Pete’s younger brother was the celebrant. He made it clear he wasn’t qualified for the job but as they had already been officially married in Brisbane three weeks ago he was leading a symbolic ceremony.

He proved to be a  wonderful celebrant. I think he’s missed his calling. He was funny, sincere and had researched aspects of a Russian wedding we didn’t know existed. Elena certainly did though and it was lovely.

Vows were exchanged. Then the Russian tradition of biting into bread. The one who takes the biggest bit will be the one who wears the pants in the marriage.

I leave you to guess.

With the official part of the wedding over it was time for the party to begin.

So up to the deck, the champagne corks popped, the food appeared , the conversation flowed and we all relaxed and enjoyed the Cambodian wedding.

During the night MC Nick introduced the speakers. First up was Svetlana Elena’s beautiful mum. She speaks Russian and Italian but very little English. Yet she had prepared a speech in English! Wonderful. She is such a lovely lady and we are happy to welcome her to our family.

Steve followed later with a speech partly in Russian. What a feat!

Finally Pete who spoke from the heart. He was beaming but got quite emotional as he thanked everyone for their love and support.


Non op day 

That’s a shortcut for no operation today.

So we try and get good food and drinks into Peter. El buys him wheatgrass shots, pomegranate juice, ice cream in fact anything to get him eating.

He had a big long talk to Dr Hamish Black from his insurance company. And Peter quickly said I hope you are not Hamish  Blake…… I need a Doctor!

Anyway it was up and down from there. No flights direct to Brisbane     So they would explore other options. We need a small miracle.

So waiting all day.

Finally a call from Insurance to say they can get him out on Friday night arriving Brisbane Saturday around 11am. Thai air business class which means he has to sit for take off and landing. Hope he can do it . El along with a doctor and nurse will accompany him. I’ll go back of the bus, if they can find a seat ( it’s end of school holidays. )

Steve will go through Singapore on the ticket we originally booked . All arrive same time.

Peter and Elena are very happy. One hurdle down.

Pete insisted we go out for dinner and he would rest and have his bed bath with the nurses.

So off we went in a taxi to a little place called Mellow. Back up plan was Di Vinci.

Di Vinci looked looked great, mellow didn’t, so we thought we’d bring a little Italy to our lives outside the Bangkok hospital – seeing as I was supposed to be there.

The owner,  Roberto came to greet us and we chatted – well Elena did, in Italian and before long we were friends. Seemed he remembered her from his trip to Phnom Penh and a visit to Che Culo,  the bar restaurant El managed.

As Pete calls her ‘ the most beautiful girl in Cambodia ‘  I think it’s true. Everyone loves and remembers her.

We had a wonderful though short dinner and made it back to the hospital to find Pete looking very excited and pleased with himself. He claimed ( don’t read this if you’re squeamish) he had done his biggest poo ever, and had cleaned himself and the bed and moved around rearranging the sheets!

So perhaps he is ready to fly on Friday night.

Tomorrow it is practice sitting in a wheelchair time! Leg down! Hope we all survive the pain.

So looks very much like we will be back Saturday.

Talk about change.

Can’t wait. Neither can Pete . Not sure which hospital he’ll go to. Perhaps RBH or Mater Public . Don’t mind as long as they are miracle workers . Toes need to come off. They are a nasty shade of black.

So last two nights here.

Elena looking happy to be going.

From Farm to Table. Cooking class in the Cambodian country side. 

I’m getting used to little omelet for breakfast ! Not that I need food today. It’s cooking school day!

Our pick up by tuk tuk was arranged by the cooking school and right on 10 our lovely man arrived and we set off for a 45 min ride. The best part was arriving in the countryside. Bumping down the dusty red lanes looking out of the Cambodian countryside was a treat. Come along……

 It was as though the people here have more skills and pride in their surroundings than those poorer people in the bigger towns. The fields were green and productive growing Durians, rice, corn all types of vegetable with cows wandering and a few pigs sitting under a tree.

We eventually turned off at a lake know as the secret lake. It was man made during the Khmer Rouge time , hand dug by the Cambodians they had taken captive. It looks lovely now surrounded by trees and hills in the background. It doesn’t even hint at the blood that was shed in its making. We had to get out of the tuk to get up the hill at the end of the causeway and then continued along the road past fields with workers toiling in the heat.

We arrived at the farm and walked in from the parking area. We crossed a creek on a 2 plank bridge and went past newly planted corn, papaya trees, banana trees, basil, eggplant, pumpkin, lemongrass, galangal, chilli, kaffir lime….. All ingredients we were to use later.

Our host and chef, Sok Lin greeted us wearing a cute little peaked cap. He told us to make ourselves at home before the tour of the farm to collect our vegetable for today’s dishes. There was a blackboard menu leaning against a tree with about 8 dishes. We could each choose one to cook later.

We relaxed in hammocks slung from the open walls of the kitchen.

Then Sok came back and with an  offsider his young neighbour – a boy 14 who looked about 10. He was so cute.  They walked us around the small but very productive farm. He used to have a restaurant in Kampot but decided he wanted to use his own ingredients so moved here with his English wife and they live very simply and run a cooking school with very basic amenities.

 There is an open kitchen, their house next door is just a room and verandah up off the ground. Another thatched area for their things. Then a short distance away 3 thatched huts on stilts,  a toilet and shower area – thatched with tiled floors. No electricity. Powered by cow dung ! Garden fertilizer from the toilet. Self sustaining and clean and neat.

The cooking started and we all were given our ingredients , told what to do then just went ahead with Sok watching and guiding.

the young helper and out tuk driver

El being watched by the young helper


peter grating hte cocnut to make the fresh coconut milk!



Sok lin keeping watch as we chop

Results were delicious. Peter did pepper chicken, Steve masaman  curry, El a yellow curry and I did smoky eggplant with chicken.

It seemed easy! But I think if you have the right ingredients it is easy to make good, tasty nutritious meals. And here they do it so cheaply and not in large amounts.

Now I’m writing this lying in a hammock relaxing until our hour tuk tuk ride home.

Back into the tuk for a bumpy but very pleasant ride home through the country side. Some great sights!


local boys collecting little fish from mud puddles


Tonight a sunset cruise.

Hello Phnom Penh

Our beautiful stay in Siem Reap has ended as this morning we shared our last breakfast omelette and headed to the airport.

The hotel staff are just lovely. They try and look after your every need and there is a lot of hands together in prayer position, greetings. When we left they lined up to stay goodbye and the next minute the girl at the reception desk ran out and jumped into the car for the ride yo the airport. I like to think it was to chat to us because she liked our group and not because she wanted a tip!

Pete has made friends, as usual, with the locals particularly with Chilli a young man who works at the hostel Pete usually stays in when holidaying in Siem Reap. It’s opposite the hotel we have been staying in and we have called in several times for a drink at his friendly little bar.

The plane flight of 40 mins to PP cost us all of $25 each!

Pete had warned that PP was much busier, noisier, dustier then SR and I think he’s right. On the road in from the airport we spotted  many shops of all types especially tile shops. They must be retiling the whole of PP! Quite a few coffee shops, tools and spare parts, taps, wooden items, little local cafes and wires. All over the place wires hanging from pole apparently connecting the entire city! Pete says electricity is very expensive here. A lot of the cost is in the wires!

We went to Pete and El’s apartment first. It’s in a street one back off one if the boulevards and is typical of PP streets. Not paved – yes really- lots of wires , and tall gates providing security. His building is ground and 2 floors and they are on the first. It has a very large balcony which is really their living area.

 You enter up a staircase into a large  kitchen and a little laundry. Then a long hall way runs along and out to the balcony where the love of El’s life  live happily.  ( after Pete). Her two little lovebirds !

 There are two bedrooms , each with a double bed and own bathrooms Camodian style – a shower just in the room with no curtain or seperate wet area. Mind you I have had several bathrooms of this style in Italy!

We left our bags and got their local tuk tuk man to take us to the Russian market. El wanted to get a few things including new shirts for Pete. He hates shopping so she took advantage of showing us the market and doing some shopping.

We had to recover in a nearby cafe with Cambodian beer and then their favourite little noodle bar for a quick lunch before tuk tukking it back to get our bags to get to our hotel. They really aren’t set up for visitors! We’re staying at the lovely little Hilary’s hotel a few doors down from the bar restaurant Petes friend Nick owns and where El works.

It’s a lovely little place so after a swim two of us painted our nails and two had a business style meeting ! Guess who!
More later with pictures after the Engagement Party tonight.