a blog about the cultural experiences my husband and I have because of our work abroad...what's delightful and beautiful about different countries and cultures...what we have learned from living and working in countries other than our home country...and how those experiences have changed us

Friday, August 12, 2011

a drive to the country

This was the first weekend where we had our own car so Stephen wanted to take advantage of that and take a drive into the country. He decided we should take drives on the national highways in order. So on Sunday we drove out on highway No. 1. :), which is driving east out of Phnom Penh toward Vietnam. We went about 30km just to see what we could see.

As we were driving out of the city, I saw a sight that is extremely common but still never fails to amaze me: women sitting side-saddle on the back of a moto with one sandal dangling. I can hardly imagine staying on a motorcycle straddling it, but balancing side saddle? It's a law that the driver has to wear a helmet but the passenger is not required to. And obviously protecting your feet is not a big concern. During Stephen's motorcycle training in Portland, his instructors taped up his ankles because he was wearing shoes and not the required boots.
Just out of the city we started seeing traditional houses. They are built up on stilts to minimize flooding damage during the rainy season and to provide a shaded cooler area during the hot dry season.
And we noticed more ways in which motorcycles are versatile vehicles in Cambodia. People use them to carry so many things we in the states would think you'd need a truck for: chickens, pigs, family of four or even five people.
When we started seeing fields we also started seeing lots of cream colored cows. Brahman cattle. I've never seen these floppy eared cows before so they were really interesting to me. I started taking pictures of every cow we saw and Stephen teased me that our drive to the country had turned into a cow photo shoot. 
And though it was Sunday we saw people working everywhere. Several of the pictures above show people working. Cambodians work hard. Six-day work weeks are the norm but people work seven out of necessity. This field was full of workers on a Sunday afternoon.
It was a short drive but at least we got out of the city for the first time. I want to paint some scenes of the Cambodian countryside so I look forward to our next drive and more photo opportunities. 


  1. Cool pics! Are you going to ride on a motorcycle, Sabrina? :) Yeah, I can't imagine riding one side-saddle with flipflops, scary. I look forward to seeing your future Cambodian landscape paintings. :D
    xox ~*~ Jenni

  2. Moto tuk drivers keep asking me if I need a ride and I just have to laugh in my head because I really don't think I could stay on! Maybe one day I'll buy a scooter and drive myself around. :)