Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013 Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

Peru 2014

Peru - Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lima 2014

Peru 2014 Peru 2014

Cambodia and Burma 2014

Cambodia and Burma July 2014

Cambodia and Burma 2014 Cambodia and Burma 2014

Turkey 2012

Visiting Turkey; Istanbul and Ephesus in 2012

Turkey 2012 Turkey 2012

Vietnam & Bangkok 2009

Vietnam & Bangkok- 17 days July 2009

Vietnam & Bangkok 2009 Vietnam & Bangkok 2009

Morocco 2012

Morocco; Marrakech, Fez, Volubilis, Meknes and Casablanca in October of 2012

Morocco 2012 Morocco 2012

Japan 2011

Sushi, Shrines and Shinkansen; 8 Days in Tokyo and Kyoto in April 2011

Japan 2011 Japan 2011

Rome 2009

Mozzarella, Museums & Macchiato; A Week in Rome, October 2009

Rome 2009 Rome 2009

Dining Out in Siem Reap Cambodia

by wired2theworld on June 19, 2015

Cafe Central in Siem Reap Cambodia

There are literally hundreds of restaurants in Siem Reap, and for the most part, we ate well, and for not much money. Below are a few of the highlights.

Across from the Old Market is the iconic colonial Cafe Central (photo above). We sat outside and enjoyed a view of the market and the passers-by, as well as a couple of cocktails and a tasty lunch.

Cafe Central Siem Reap

Lunch at Cafe Central, across from the Old Market. Mojito, BLT with avocado and eggs benedict.

We had a nice lunch upstairs at the Sun Restaurant during a ferocious rainstorm. This is a beautiful restaurant with soaring ceilings upstairs and very good western and Khmer food.

Siem Reap The Sun Cafe

Burger at the Sun Cafe

Siem Reap The Sun Cafe

Breakfast, and a really tasty Khmer curry at the Sun Cafe

Schnitzel in Siem Reap? Why yes! Trust me on this, you want this schnitzel at the Austrian Beer Garden-Old Vienna Kitchen. The restaurant is owned by an former chef and expat who has trained his staff to make some of the best Austrian food, not just “good food for Cambodia”, but anywhere.

Siem Reap Austrian Restaurant

Schnitzel and sausages at the Austrian Restaurant in Siem Reap.

In 2010 we dined at a place called Abacus and it was one of my favorite meals in Siem Reap. We returned this time and were not disappointed. The menu is mostly French; I had the perfectly cooked duck breast below and David had the steak with a starter of pea soup with a slice of foie gras in it. Service is excellent and they have a nice selection of French wine.

Abacus Restaurant Siem Reap

Abacus Restaurant

Below is my favorite breakfast at the Seven Candles Guesthouse, Num Bahn Choc, a vegetarian cold noodle dish with peanuts, herbs and freshly fried spring rolls.

Breakfast at the Seven Candles Guesthouse

Breakfast at the Seven Candles Guesthouse

Finally, this little guy below was inside a lamp at a lovely restaurant in an old teak house called Marum, which is run by an NGO and staffed by disadvantaged Cambodian young people who are in training in the hospitality industry. The food was very good, but the lighting so dim I could not get any good photos. I just love that you can even see his toenails in this photo. Gecko!
I don’t remember what we ate other than some delicious smoked eggplant dip, but the menu is filled with small plates with lots of Khmer and vegetarian options.

Gecko!

Gecko!

Restaurants not covered above, mostly because I don’t have photos, include a lunch at the Glass House Hyatt cafe which was pricy, but worth it because of the A/C inside and 99 degree heat and 99% humidity outside. There was a dinner at the famous Cuisine Wat Damnak, which left me unimpressed, but everyone seems to love, and there was a dinner at an Italian place on our first night in town which I barely remember due to jet lag.

You might also enjoy this post on Khmer BBQ, or this one on Chmakar, a vegetarian restaurant, from a previous trip.

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Post image for Siem Reap’s Tchey School Media Center (Ponheary Ly Foundation)

On one of our days in Siem Reap we took a tuk tuk ride out to Tchey school, one of the schools the PLF supports, to check in on the students working on a project in the school’s Media Center. The regular classes were not in session that day, but the dedicated students who were working on a photography project were there and showed us their photos. Their task had been to take a series of photos about something important in their daily lives and then whittle it down to the “5 best” photos (see below for some samples of their work). They hope to be able to have a gallery show somewhere in town someday.

Tchey School Media Class

Student work Tchey School Media Class

Student at work.

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Various work by the students in the Tchey School Media class.

Tchey School Media Class

David, Lori and students n the Tchey School Media Class

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Various work by the students in the Tchey School Media class.

The woman below is Sokha, who was the long time media teacher. She’s now teaching only one class, videography, to the older girls and has started taking courses in social work and doing quite a bit of community development, as well as counseling for older students. She also just finished the foundation’s first “Girl Rising” curriculum where female students learn about girls in other countries and cultures who have overcome similar issues that they all face (poverty, sexism, lack of access to education, etc.).

There’s now a media teacher named Saveth, and you can read about him here.

Tchey School Media Class

Tchey School Media Class teacher

During our time there we ran into Ponheary who was at the school to measure some of the older students for new uniforms. Reasey Mi, the young woman below being measured, is a Media Class success story in her own right.  She produced the “Sunflowers of Srayang” movie, a documentary about the struggle of girls in rural Cambodia to get an education which was shown at the Angkor Wat International Film Festival. She’s about to graduate this year and has a scholarship to go and study journalism at Royal University in Phnom Penh.

Ponheary Ly at Tchey School

Ponheary Ly at Tchey School

This media program has been very successful but is in need of volunteers to keep progressing it forward. If you have any desire to volunteer in Cambodia, and experience in videography or photography (in particular iMovie or Google Applications), please check out the PLF volunteer page.

Tchey School

Tchey School

The PLF tuk tuk

David in the PLF tuk tuk.

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Siem Reap; The Old Market

June 7, 2015
Thumbnail image for Siem Reap; The Old Market

I’ll be the first to admit we didn’t do much in Siem Reap, at least not much in the way of typical tourist activities. There were no visits to Angkor Wat, no Land Mine Museum, no night market. Instead, we took it easy, visited with friends, waited out the rain showers, ate well and adjusted to jet lag.

That’s not to say we sat around. We walked through the old market, went shopping for Khmer language kid’s books to take up to Koh Ker school, and paid a visit to the PLF supported Tchey school where we checked in on the Media Class and got to see some of the student’s photography projects. During the 6 days we spent in Siem Reap we also ventured up north to Koh Ker in Preah Vihear province where we visited the school, spent the night, and got to see some jungle temples most tourists never visit.

There will be more on some of those other things we did in later posts, but first, the market. Y’all know how much I love my markets, right? The Old Market in the center of downtown Siem Reap is about 2/3rds tourist tat (t shirts, fabric, jewelry, etc) and 1/3 actual food market catering to the local population. There is the much larger Central Market across town, also worth a visit, but we didn’t make it there on this trip. For more on the Old Market from our last trip, go here.

Siem Reap Street

A river runs through it.

Siem Reap Street

Going into town…

Siem Reap Old Market chicken legs

Fresh chickens for sale.

Siem Reap Old Market

All kinds of produce including lots of chilies for sale.

Siem Reap Old Market Halal butcher

Butchering fresh meat.

Siem Reap Old Market crispy bugs

Poultry and fried crispy critters (see below).

Siem Reap Old Market bugs

Cupful of fried crickets anyone?

Siem Reap Old Market sticky rice banana

This was delicious; grilled banana and sticky rice. Vendor is outside the old market.

Siem Reap Old Market

The touristy part

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Planning for Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma)

May 26, 2015
Thumbnail image for Planning for Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma)

In July 2014 we took off for 2 weeks in Cambodia and Myanmar (formerly Burma). This was our first time in Burma, but not Cambodia. You can see the other trips to Cambodia in 2002, 2007 and 2010 which cover the more standard tourist sights than we did on this trip.

Please note; things are changing very fast in Burma, so make sure you look at the latest info online when planning your trip.

Sometimes planning a trip can evolve in days, sometimes weeks or months, and in this case, it literally took years. For this trip we knew we wanted to go in the summer, and while it’s not “high season” in South East Asia, it is high season for flights originating in North America. Because of that, flights which in winter can be under $1000, are typically $1700 in summer. This meant the most economical way to get there was to use frequent flyer miles to get our tickets which can be hard to find. After waiting too long to find availability in 2012 for summer 2013, I decided to be more proactive. Cue, “the plan”…

FLIGHTS:

The trick is to be ready to book tickets 330 days out from when you want to travel; that’s when airlines typically open up seats for miles. By 2013 we finally had enough miles to be able to book two Business Class tickets using United Miles on their partners, EVA and Asiana. I’d set an alert to remind me to start looking for tickets for July in the previous August. After much looking and debating, we settled on LAX-Taipei-Phnom Penh with EVA in their Royal Laurel Business class. The return was from Yangon (formerly Rangoon) to Seoul in Business and from Seoul to LAX in First Class on Asiana. Yes, …

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What’s new on wired2theworld? Cambodia, Burma, London, China and Italy, oh my!

May 17, 2015
Thumbnail image for What’s new on wired2theworld? Cambodia, Burma, London, China and Italy, oh my!

I’m behind on blog posts. Like really, really, behind on writing about the wonderful places we’ve been in the last year. But I’d like to change that so I’m putting it out there, making it public, in the hopes I’ll be publicly shamed encouraged enough to finish in less time than it took me to write about our last trip, to Peru (which took an entire year!).

So what’s up and coming? I’m not sure where to begin, but this is where we’ve been in the last 12 months:

In July 2014 David and I went to Cambodia and Burma for two weeks. We spent time with the Ponheary Ly Foundation, visited Koh Ker school, stayed at the feels-like-home Seven Candles Guesthouse, spent a night at a village guesthouse in Srayang, and trekked though the jungle near Koh Ker visiting temples most tourists never see (like the one below).

KohKerTempleTrek1

From there we flew to Burma, visiting the temples along the plains of Bagan, stayed in an over water bungalow on Inle Lake, and ended the trip prowling the streets of Yangon, searching out street food and exploring the crumbling architecture, all while happily ensconced in colonial splendor of the Strand Hotel.

Bagan Sunset Dust Storm Small

Over Christmas week 2014, we flew to London to spend the week with David’s family in a London suburb called Chiswick. Even though a lot of sightseeing and transportation options were closed for the holidays, we still managed to visit Greenwich and the British Mueseum, go on two London walking tours, visit the castle at Hampton Court, explore the Chiswick neighborhood, eat in several pubs, and celebrate Christmas by cooking a roast of beef and a goose! On our last day we journeyed to Oxford to visit friends before flying home.

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In April 2015, my mother and …

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Lima Mercado de Surquillo and Historical District

April 6, 2015
Thumbnail image for Lima Mercado de Surquillo and Historical District

On our last day in Lima we walked from the hotel to the Mercado de Surquillo at the corner of Avenida Paseo de la Republica and Narciso de la Colina. If you’re staying in Miraflores and enjoy wandering food markets this one is well worth the stop.

Lima Mercado (20)

Lima Mercado (16)

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Lima Mercado (14)

Lima Market

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From the market we took a bus to the historical center and walked around. The main cathedral was closed, but lovely from the outside.

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The buildings surrounding the main square were all colonial and beautifully preserved.

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It wasn’t planned but we happened to pass by the Gastronomy Museum which is right near the main square, so of course, we had to go inside. There are tons of interesting exhibits on the food of Peru, but this version of the Last Supper with Jesus presiding of a meal of cuy (guinea pig) might just win.

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Below, so that’s what quinoa looks like when it grows…

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After the museum we had lunch at T’anta and then walked around a little more, eventually ending up at the Cathedral de San Francisco where there are catacombs.

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Below, the Cathedral de San Franciso, below which there are catacombs. In order to see them, you must go on a tour and we were not allowed to take photos. It’s interesting but I have to say my claustrophobia kicked in when I realized we were under ground, in an earthquake prone region, in an area filled with thousands of human bones. Yeah, that.

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Lima Dining; Alfresco, Maido and T’anta

March 4, 2015

Lima is quickly becoming one of the gastronomic capitals of the world. We only had a day and a half and I wanted to make it count. I’d done a lot of research on where to eat and I had big plans for a ceviche-a-thon. It all seemed to go out the window once we arrived and realized how far apart everything was (the city is HUGE), and it was complicated by the fact that we were there on a holiday weekend (Easter) and many places were closed.

We arrived in the early afternoon and looking for a place nearby for lunch, went to a restaurant called Alfresco based on the recommendation of the concierge. While it’s clearly a popular place, we weren’t especially impressed with the food though perhaps we picked the wrong things; a couple ceviches and cocktails were about $40. Again, we felt our choices were limited.

Lima-Alfresco

For dinner we went to the critically acclaimed restaurant Maido, which if it doesn’t have a Michelin Star, it should. This place is Japanese-Peruvian fusion done with flair and everything we tasted made sense. It wasn’t forced. The chef, Mitsuharu Tsumura, is Peruvian born of Japanese descent,  and trained in the US and Japan before returning to Peru. We did the Nikki Experience; this was a 15 course, splash out meal. I’ve eaten in restaurants of this caliber all over the world, and the tab, while pricey, was well valued and probably 40% less than a similar meal would cost in Los Angeles, Paris, or London. David had a beverage tasting to go with each course and it was very well thought out, ranging from local beers and peruvian fermented corn drink, to sake, to cocktails with Pisco, to South American wines.

The menu was presented on a …

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Lima Peru; Parque Kennedy and Parque de Amor

March 2, 2015
Thumbnail image for Lima Peru; Parque Kennedy and Parque de Amor

We only had a day and a half on arrival to Lima from Cusco and we tried to make the most of it. But Lima is much larger than we expected and getting around isn’t that easy unless you rely on taxis, we we don’t really like. Lima reminds me a lot of Los Angeles, both in climate and proximity to the ocean, and in the fact that it’s very spread out.

For our transfer from the airport to the hotel we used a service called Taxidatum. I think it’s like Uber in that you’re picked up by someone in a private car and driven to your destination for a flat rate. It was $20 from the airport to the hotel and the service worked so well, we booked the return to the airport online the next day.

We stayed in the Miraflores neighborhood at the Sheraton Four Points. The hotel is perfectly fine, in a really good location (for Miraflores) and we were given breakfast with our Cash + Points room rate. The hotel is within walking distance of the ocean and the Parque Kennedy and has access to decent public transportation. There’s also a grocery store nearby which is handy for snack and Pisco purchases.

Four Points Miraflores

We had lunch at a local restaurant (dining will be detailed in a later post) and then walked down the road to the ocean and checked out the view which very much reminded me of Santa Monica and the Parque de Amor with its famous statue.

Lima Ocean

Parque de Amor

On the way back to the hotel we went to the Parque Kennedy, well known for its abandoned cat population. These cats seemed far from feral, and most had learned how to beg for food from the park visitors. As much as I love cats, it …

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