Merry Christmas once again from Cambodia. After the dream came the reality of waking up at 5.30am to sub-20-degree temperatures and retreating back to bed for the ritual opening of stocking presents. Lots of treats, mainly edible, readable and wearable which are my new key requirements for receiving wrapped presents.
Once it had warmed up a bit we hit the 'tree' and got down to unwrapping more presents including books, chorizo sausages, films, sweets, tea, a watch, a calendar, book tokens, money and more. We also gave each other a custom made ring. For me this was to replace my wedding ring which got lost on a volleyball court last year. For Gilly it was to set a stone she'd bought at the gem mines in Ratanakiri.
(Thank you to everyone who managed to get things over to us despite the rubbish post service here. We've heard a few more are on their way so hopefully it'll be like the 12 days of Christmas with things turning up well into January.)
Next was the obligatory fried breakfast to remind us of home before packing our swimming things and heading to the local 'port' for the ferry over to Koh Trong, an island in the Mekong directly opposite Kratie Town. Here's what happened next...
So far, so happy, just before setting sail.
Safe landing, Gilly goes all beach for Christmas.
Thumbs up, Christmas colours too!
Windswept Xmas X.
A walk on the island brought us face to face with the local water delivery firm.
Gilly on her throne at Sala Koh Trong, Kratie's answer to the Fat Duck.
King of the castle! (Note my new shirt, tailor made by our local seamstresses.)
What happens when you try to use the timer photo mode but forget to press the timer. Gilly sends her positive energy so that it works next time.
And it does.
What better way to kill time waiting for the ferry than doing a Baywatch impression. Note the t-shirt selection is spot on.
Gilly joined me and was suitably refreshed afterwards.
More experiments with timer mode. (Still waiting for the ferry though!)
Back on the mainland it's time for some imported fizz courtesy of Gilly's parents.
Friends and fellow volunteers from nearby Stung Treng Town opening their carefully selected presents...
...including this, another addition to my favourite Cambodian brands, packaging and slogans.
Then back home for dinner by candle light. (Candles were one of our gifts from Stung Treng.)
French bread chorizo pizza on the menu!
Goes perfectly with an Appleton Extra Old and coke. Heaven!
My new ring, bling bling!
Mini pancakes, nutella, caramelised bananas and ice cream for dessert.
All smiles. Merry Christmas once again, Happy New Year and see you all in 2012!