Monday, July 17, 2017

Mondulkiri, Cambodia: Part 2.5 The Coffee Plantation and Pizza

While we were in Mondulkiri, Cambodia at Nature Lodge, we went exploring nearby places. One that wasn't a waterfall was this coffee plantation (video here.) We didn't even find it on purpose, but Ezra had to stop to use the restroom and Elias was carsick so I took them both with me and we went exploring (as the bathroom was hidden down a windy trail around beautiful trees.
Some of the large plants had green berries on them that I thought might be coffee...
Down one trail, hidden in the trees, we came across a two story water slide. We didn't know what it was until we got to the top and saw...
that the slide went all the way down to the lake!
 There were also banana trees:
And what I think is jackfruit now, but I called durian, trees:
Elias thought their horizontal branches that went all the way to the top looked like a great bench!


The lake didn't look very big, but it had been channeled under the road, and into sluices to irrigate the coffee plantation.
This tree with the red leaves was one the boys found interesting, but I don't know what it is called:
And this hosta-looking plant that got super tall was cool:
It was nice to be surrounded by nature and hiking through trees rather than concrete buildings and whirring traffic.
We even found a cabin on our hike back up to the van.
The day after this we met our new friends and had more fun playing around Nature Lodge than going on more explorations. However, we did find an awesome pizza place out on a dirt road called Mondulkiri Pizza. The guy who owned it had previously worked in Phnom Penh making pizza. The restaurant went under new management and they changed all of the recipes to inferior ones in his opinion. He moved up to Mondulkiri and opened his own restaurant, got married and started his family there. He liked the more natural environment and pace of the place. We didn't blame him, and his pizza was incredible. I highly recommend you check out Mondulkiri Pizza if you ever go that way.

The pizza place had a spacious lawn and a lazy river flowing through the back yard. After lunch the kids went exploring the grounds and the owner mixed a little flour and water to make a simple dough bait and made a bamboo fishing rod from scratch. The kids loved it!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mondulkiri, Cambodia; Part 2: Monorom Waterfall

After visiting the beautiful Busra waterfalls, where we didn't see the places safe for kids to swim and the options to zip line over and see the views were too expensive, we found another waterfall closer to home the next day. Many roads are packed red clay once you get off of the highway. The road to Monorom Falls was one of those:
It was a relatively smooth ride. We passed banana trees, which the kids liked to see.
This waterfall was called the Monorom waterfall, (video here) and it had a sign saying it was used to make hydroelectricity. Someone had set up fallen tree branches into a booth/tented area and there were some logs to sit on at the top of the falls. The log in the picture, by the way, was not one of those...
We saw butterflies here.

The path down to the bottom of the waterfall was way too steep for me to go down with a baby, or for Ezra to go down without significant help, so Ben took Talia and Elias to play in the water at the bottom.

Ezra and I went exploring the nearby bridge and banana grove. This beautiful place re-emphasized to me how some of the best experiences are beyond paved roads.
Back at Nature Lodge, we took the next day to rest and play around the camp site. We try not to give our kids electronics whenever possible, so it was nice to see them using their imaginations and playing with sticks. (video here)