Friday, February 20, 2015

Cambodia: Kampot

Our trip rounded out in the sleepy village of Kampot, famous for peppercorns, durian, Bokor Hill and a slight respite in weather. 
 We took an evening boat ride up the river at sunset.  As we scooted along, we say hundreds of fisherman navigating their long boats and out to sea for a night of work. 
 On our last day, we rented a moto and joined the throng of "crazy drivers"  We wound our way up Bokor Hill  On the way we saw...
 Lok Yeah Mao, a protector spirit of travelers, fisherman and hunters.
 Stunning ocean views and a glimpse into Vietnama's Phu Quoc Island.
And Buddhist shrines. 
 Feeling hungry we scooted our way to Kep.  Our first stop was the crab market where we could see the famous blue crabs that we would soon be enjoying. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cambodia: Koh Rong

On our last day in Siem Reap, we hopped an overnight sleeper bus to Sihanoukville.  The bunk bed sleeping compartments, made me imagine the "Night Bus" from Harry Potter, but in a non magical 3rd world country sort of way.  Josh and I struggled to share close quarters, but it was fun for the first 15 minutes. 
Once in Sihanoukville we jumped the first ferry to Koh Rong Island.  
We found a cozy, rickety and rustic bungalow just feet from the water. 

Koh Rong is roughly the size of Hong Kong and hosts 4 fishing villages  and seven beaches.  There are no roads and even the fanciest bungalow is just as nice or worse as the cheapest. 
Long Beach is 7 KM of shallow warm water and white sand.  

We hired a boat to take us fishing and caught our dinner.  

Meals were eaten on the beach.  I'm pretty sure Josh didn't wear a shirt for our entire 5 day stay. 
The most spectacular view was the sunset. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cambodia:Silk Weaving

The Artisans of Ankor tour of their silk farm was fantastic, even if you aren't a geek about fiber arts.   We got to see the process from start to finish which quickly dissolved my concern about the price of the scarf I was coveting. 

 Our first visit was to the silk worm nurseries.  Like the butterflies I raise, they are ravenous eaters  and a fresh pile of leaves are added daily.
 Once ready they are placed on a large basket with spiraling channels, where they will form their cocoons. 

 The cocoons are then collected.  About 20 percent of cocoons are saved to start the next generation of silk worms. 
 The other 80 percent are thrown into boiling water where first the outer layer of raw silk and then the inner layer of "fine" silk is extracted.  There is approximately 400 yards of silk per cocoon.  100 is raw and 300 fine.   I felt bad for the little buggers, but after seeing the resulting moths any lingering guilt was fleeting. 

 The silk is naturally a lustrous yellow.  The yarn is then spun and a warp prepared. 
 This team of girls are threading the warp onto the reed. 
 And then the loom is set up.

 The most fascinating process is the ikat.  The weft is wound tightly on a board and certain sections are tied off with plastic.  It is then dyed.  Where the plastic was, the original color remains.  This process is repeated many times and takes days to complete.
 Each ikat section is then wound onto a bobbin and woven in pattern.  It emerges beautifully.