asia places to go

when you give a cat a bath…

this sounds like a potential children’s book title that could be really fun. like if you give a cat a bath, then they will want a fluffy towel and if you give a cat a fluffy towel, they will want a pedicure…something like that. it could end so well with the cat having some warm milk and a nap at the end. maybe someday i’ll write that story but…

this is no such story unfortunately.

one thing (of so so many) that’s interesting living in a country when smart phones are still a thing of the future and internet costs per minute at a cafe, information just travels much more slowly. rumors are truth and spread like a spilled bag of marbles on a tile floor.

so here’s the story:

one day after we got home from work, we found a kitten right in front of our apartment. he was emaciated and just not thriving but he was oh so adorable. we took pity and did the responsible adult thing (or something) of keeping the cat and deciding to nurse it back to health. we started with giving it some food and love and soon the whole neighborhood was around us wanting to know what was going on. because if anything is going on with the white people, everyone else needs to know about it. everyone in the neighborhood came to check it out the time that we were beating a cockroach to death with a mag light (story to come), they came to check it out the day we were trying to wash our laundry by hand because we realized we didn’t have any way to wash clothes, and well they came pretty much every day to check in and find out what crazy shenanigans the white people were up to that day. so yeah pretty much story of our lives…

anyway, all the neighbors were flocking to try to figure out why we cared about some scrawny alley kitten and we told them we were going to clean him up and save his life. once we said the word bath though, you would have thought that we were talking about murder or something. turns out we sort of were. the cambodians said, oh you can’t give a cat a bath, it will die…the other expats on the street, the philipina ladies said, oh you can’t give a cat a bath, it will die…more neighbors showed up and said the same thing. we really made our neighbors even more interested in the antics of white people after this.

so we fed the cat and it seemed to perk up a bit. he was super dirty and gross so we went against all sage advice because i mean, come on, you can give a cat a bath right?? we gave him a bath, wrapped him up in a towel, put him in a basket and left for work!

when we came back, he was dead. i’m not joking. we gave a cat a bath, and it died! what in the world?!?! of course all the neighbors came by looking through the doors when we came back and we basically confirmed it for all cambodians, possibly the whole world:

people…when you give a cat a bath, it dies!

p.s. the photo above is not this cat, we never got a photo of our cat we had for a few brief hours…this is the one our over involved neighbor brought us the next day to, you know, mend our grief over the first one…we didn’t even really want a cat but then we ended up with this psycho of a cat…

africa places to go

It’s Your Turn


i came across this photo recently and kind of chuckled a little bit because this was my first time baby wearing, 11 years before having a baby of my own, or even knowing what baby wearing is.

it makes me laugh because baby wearing is such a thing now but in africa it’s so different! they strapped this baby on me and said, ‘your turn’ and then got back to work. honestly this was the only time i felt useful when i was hanging out with the african ladies. they are so hardcore! when it was my turn to stir the pot for dinner, i could barely move it, but i could hold a baby, and if that helped them get dinner done, then great!

i asked if the babies ever fell out. they said ‘sometimes’. so different. so so different.

oceania places to go

The in-betweens, NZ ’10


one of our favorite things about travel is finding things that are otherwise unnoticed. of course there are travel books and things you MUST VISIT when you go somewhere, but some of our favorite memories have been during the in-betweens, the times we have just pulled over because we had to see what was down this little alleyway or take a photo of a ridiculous sign. that’s why our recommended mode of travel is rental car!

here are our favorites from our NZ trip.

here’s our little vehicle!

this was the coolest calmest body of water ever, so incredible!

honey tastings?? are you kidding me? we saw this sign and had to check it out. then shortly after we found a blueberry wine sign and HAD to stop there. i guess we didn’t take any photos but oh my what an experience! we were the only ones there and this lady let us try all these different wines and liquors she’d made. we’d never tried so many different types of tasty drinks before, and also some not so tasty! some were so sweet! we chatted with the lady for a while and she told us that she just loved experimenting with wines. so she’s made wine out of every fruit imaginable. she said some she couldn’t sell because after tasting them she would wake up on the floor the next day. it was hilarious! and yet another fun random find only because we were wandering off the beaten path.

mt. doom from lord of the rings…wow this scene was breathtaking!

ok this was freaking random. we stopped in this field and all these cows just started mooing and coming toward us. really freaky!

and this may not have been the first time i’ve trespassed…don’t judge me!

worth it, see!

don really aimed high in life…

couldn’t understand this sign!

and i guess the only down side of renting a car is the potential of getting a ticket. whoops! this is the only time we’ve ever gotten a ticket while traveling, not our first run in with a cop though. ah well, adventures adventures…

california places to go

Paso Robles, CA – ’11



we have a little [not so little] camera collection that we’ve been adding to over the years. some were passed down to us by family, some were given as gifts and some we found in random antique shops. we’ve been playing around with some of these old cameras and seeing what they can do!

we love going to paso robles and have been there a few times. this time in particular we ditched the digital cameras and hunted around our brains for how to shoot film again. it was fun to just be in practice of thinking of every photo before taking it, and then the thrill of seeing what turned out later!

the color film is is from a camera from the 40’s or 50’s and the black and white film is from a camera from the 70’s

enjoy, i’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

europe places to go reminisce stories to tell

The time I missed a train

on thursdays i try to do a little travel throwback, emphasis on the story from one photo

2006 – photo taken on my first DSLR – canon rebel

i told my parents that i thought it would be fun to visit my brother in budapest for christmas. yes, i told my poor parents that i’d miss christmas a second time to join my brother who was also missing christmas. instead of them being bummed, they decided to join me. i hadn’t traveled with my parents since i was a kid so it was definitely an interesting experience! we thought we’d make more of a trip out of it than just visiting my brother and we planned on going to several countries.

well into our journey together, i needed some space from my parents so instead of staying in the same hotel as them, i decided to find a hostel while in poland. i found a really fun hostel and met some awesome people from around the globe. after a couple days in poland, we had planned on going to slovakia and then back to hungary to leave for home. my parents and i were going to meet at the train station in the morning and head out.

but i didn’t wake up.

the hostel owner was supposed to wake me. i didn’t have an alarm clock or a phone. they were supposed to wake me up but they forgot. so i slept. i woke up minutes before the train was supposed to leave. at first i freaked out a little. i didn’t know what to do, my parents didn’t have a phone, i didn’t have a phone and they were probably wondering where i was and assuming i was dead like parents do.

so i did my best and emailed them not knowing when they’d be able to check. things like this make me wonder what we ever did before smart phones…

then i looked up train times for overnight trains going to budapest so i wouldn’t miss my flight too and enjoyed one extra day in poland. that’s the night i snapped this photo. i hung out with a new friend (who is still a facebook friend after all these years) all day and then wandered around by myself that night. i don’t know what this statue is all about, i don’t remember even reading the plaque, but the weather was brisk and my cheeks were red, and i was left behind in poland an extra day and making the best of it.

moral of the story: don’t get left behind in a country…but if you do…live it up.

asia places to go

the ‘hello’ toilet

on thursdays i try to do a little travel throwback, emphasis on the story from one photo

2004 – small village, cambodia, 35mm film

the first couple weeks living in cambodia, we met our next door neighbors. this seemed to be meant to be as they had only moved in weeks before we arrived and the mom, sinat, knew english. she had worked for an american family before and knew enough english to help us get around. she was an invaluable asset for us as she quickly showed us the ropes of getting a deal and not getting swindled. we learned fast that we had been overcharged for many things due to our somewhat…pale…nature 🙂 we became fast friends and she endearingly referred to herself as our ‘adopt mom’.

she had family in the outskirts of a town called koh kong and during one of the many weeks off we had that year (cambodians love their holidays), she invited us to visit her family. so haley, myself, our friend tak, sinat and her four children piled onto an overcrowded bus and headed to koh kong. the trip itself was an adventure with a few too many cambodians staring at us and talking about ‘barang’ (literally means french but generally means white person…they didn’t realize we could understand them), a few too many strong smells, and a few too few bridges. our vehicle had to drive onto overcrowded boats to cross small lakes, and got stuck in mud a few times along the way. but this story isn’t about the journey there, it’s about being there.

sinat happened to mention that we were the only white people that this little village would have ever seen in person…um…what?? coming from a san diego melting pot, that just sounded a little unreal. we didn’t actually believe it, especially when we got there and everyone said ‘hello’ to us. this little village is slightly floating and the houses are on stilts. the tide goes in and out underneath the wooden homes. everyone who lives here is a fisherman and living here provides easier access to the boats. we soon realized that the only reason people said ‘hello’ to us was because we were white, and white people on television say ‘hello’. in fact, no one there knew any english, and truly hadn’t seen white people in person before. we realized this when we started saying hi back to the kids and they ran away from us, the little ones even cried. if you know me at all you know this is a shock to the system! i am a kid magnet and to have them run away and cry, we must have looked like ghosts!

staying here for a week was a challenge in many ways. besides frightening children, we slept on wood floors, showered with a bucket and a barrel and peed in the hello toilet. the village toilet was literally a hole at the end of a small pier after a precarious walk on uneven wooden planks. think slum dog millionaire except not as nice because there was no door, only a piece of cloth, and the walls only came up about 3 feet. this presented a problem for a long-legged white girl trying to disrobe while squatting and trying not to flash the entire village watching a long-legged white girl try to pee at the end of a pier. the kids warmed up to us from afar and even ventured to say ‘hello’ but at first only when we were popping a squat. needless to say, number twos happened at night while saying a prayer that we wouldn’t twist an ankle on the rickety boards or worse, fall into the shallow mix of sea and waste below.

eventually we got the kids to realize we weren’t spirits from the tv or whatever it was they thought we were. they were really interested in our cameras and we took some photos with them. i’ll always wonder what they really thought. now that it’s been almost 10 years since this has happened, have they seen other white people? do they remember us at all? have they traveled to a big city in their life and seen how most people pee in much more private situations? i may never know…