The day after the school’s closing ceremony, we drove 8 hours out of the city of Phnom Penh to a village up in the mountains called Mondulkiri. (Video here.) The coffee grown in this region is our favorite from this country so far. Also found in this region of Cambodia are a muslim indigenous group called something like Chams, and speaking a language with the same name in addition to religious Arabic and Khmer. We found one of the mosques on the way to Mondulkiri. You can see the speaker sticking up for the call to prayer and the moon, an important symbol in Islam, on the towers:
While we were looking at it, an imam chased the chickens off of the porch. Even the arches had a distinctly different architecture than the Cambodian:
After a loooong day Saturday, Ezra was not excited to be sitting in the car longer. (Here we had stopped to stretch our legs and hadn’t put him back in the car seat yet.)
In Mondulkiri, it was much cooler and the air was incomparably fresher than in the city. Talia, my nature baby, and Elias ran to play in the grass as soon as we arrived!
It is interesting to be in a place where air conditioning isn’t necessary and sleeping under a mosquito net is. As Ben and I were talking one morning, we came to the conclusion that the lodge must have made a list of necessary luxuries for most western guests like: hot showers, western-style food options in the cafeteria, comfortable beds with bug protection and a toilet; and then left everything else rustic. For example, the garden bathroom has hot water and a toilet, but the pebble flooring drains out into the surrounding garden area, resulting in a lush vine covering the entire outside of the bathroom. There is no sink drain or shower drain. The kids are pretty excited to have plants in the bathroom… as you can see in Elias’ commentary in the SagaUnscripted Kid Interviews of Mondulkiri video.
The kids also loved the new-to-them, interesting plants and insects! The fuzzy caterpillars you see on the tree there were cause for quite a bit of speculation regarding their toxicity or lack of it, types of butterflies they turned into and all sorts of things. Talia and Elias were also fascinated by the plants that closed when you touched them (video here.)
When we found elephant statues in front of a big hotel in the village, the kids just had to try them out:
The beautiful Busra Waterfalls were an amazing sight, (video here) though quite dangerous as there were 500 foot drop-offs in several places without any guardrails or warning signs:
The kids were disappointed to not swim. We found another waterfall the next day… but that’s for a different post!