Living in Cambodia as a boh-roteh or barang (foreigner) is an adventure, and I loved every minute of it, the little frustrations, the big funny moments, and all the beautiful WOW moments.
Dive straight in and embrace the local lifestyle with Fisso’s World in Cambodia cartoons! Shop at the markets, ride your motorbike everywhere (and in all weather), eat street food, and yes, even watch the local football clubs play at the Olympic Stadium. Learn to live with mosquitoes, noisy bullfrogs and barking dogs that keep you up all night. Party with your entire neighbourhood during 5-day celebrations, and enjoy the dark, quiet (and hot) nights without electricity. Daydream in the heat, and get drenched in the monsoon rain. And fall in love with adventures off the beaten track.
Fisso’s World in Cambodia cartoons were published weekly in the Phnom Penh Post in 2014. Thank you, Phnom Penh Post!
And now, the book:
Welcome to Cambodia
Hop into the airports’ many tuk-tuks and be on your way to Cambodian adventures. First, meet the insects, they love you and your happy hour too!
Weddings are big party affairs! Come celebrate with everybody!
Happy Khmer New Year!
Sok Sabay Chol Chnam Thmei! Khmer New Year takes place around April and follows the lunar calendar. It is a busy time, and people head to the pagodas, make offerings and get together with family and friends. Often, the home altar is also specially decorated with extra offerings to the spirit of the new year. Food and fruit are laid out, and depending on the gender of the spirit to come, offerings may include lipstick or nail varnish!
Survive Cambodia’s Hot Season
Yes because temperatures can rise to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in April / May in Cambodia. When that happens, there isn’t much to be done (except huddle in your office’s only aircon room) but sit and melt! If you sweat copiously, don’t forget the re-hydration salts (try the Strawberry Flavour Royal-D sachets!!) from time to time to help replenish your body’s electrolytes.
Cambodia’s Power Shortages
Ah yes!!! I had a power cut for several hours every night in Phnom Penh, and a week-long power cut in Siem Reap! The joy when the fan clicks back on in the middle of the night is simply immense.
The Long Bus Trips in Cambodia
Getting from a city to another in Cambodia by bus is fairly easy. Hey, if our toddler at the time could do it, so can you! Just be warned, it can get long and bumpy! Especially between those pee-stops and if you’re not into the Cambodian horror (or tragic love-story) flick on the bus TV screen. And on roads full of potholes. Adventure fun!
Food Indigestion in Cambodia
Food safety, we all know the rules. Don’t eat un-cooked food, peel all your fruit and stay away from tap water and dubious ice-cubes! The bugs are waiting for your juicy intestines!
Football Craze in Cambodia
Just in case you followed the Football World Cup (or another live sport event) on TV at unearthly hours in Cambodia. Or if you’ve been to watch a local football game at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh with an avid fan!
Cambodia’s Messy Entangled Power Lines
I love Southeast Asian cities for many reasons, and the messy entangled electric lines are one of them. Oh the graphic poetry!
Cambodia : No Water or Lots of Water!
In the dry hot season, not only do electricity shortages happen, but also WATER shortages!! At best well timed, at worst, well, not so cool. So we wait avidly for the first signs of monsoon rains. People even bet on the time at which the rain’s first drops will fall, that’s how important the rain is.
The Rainy Season in Cambodia
And when the rains come, they come in big, wet, flood style.
Staying Fit in Cambodia
With all the delicious cheap food found at every street corner in Cambodia and the ease of just riding a motorbike everywhere (even to the end of the road to buy a phone top up card, yes I’ve done that), staying fit while living in Cambodia is a big health topic!
Shopping at Markets in Cambodia
I love markets. They are my favourite dive into local everyday life and the joys of haggling. Never mind that I don’t always find what I was looking for, I always end up discovering something new.
Happy Pchum Ben!
Pchum Ben is celebrated by Buddhists in Cambodia. During this festival, people honour their ancestors. At pagodas across the country, monks chant day and night, and people bring food to be shared among friends and family, and to be offered to the monks and people in need. During Pchum Ben, lost spirits are said to be the most active, and the prayers and food are offered to assist them in finding peace.
Driving on Cambodia’s Roads at Night
In rural areas and side streets in the cities, there is usually no street lighting. And because not every driver puts his headlights on, you’ll need to be extra careful!
I absolutely love the noisy bullfrogs, the idyllic sunsets and the mighty Mekong!
Driving in Cambodia
If driving at night is not your cup of tea, try during the day! Driving and motorbiking in Cambodia has it’s own set of rules. Or absence of rules!
Riding a Moto Taxi in Cambodia
The famous Cambodian Moto Taxi, or Motodop / Motodup! Always at every corner when you need him, or when you don’t.
Adventures Off the Beaten Track
Because what is living in Cambodia if you don’t visit the more remote rural areas and out-of-reach temples?
If you haven’t collected all the Phnom Penh Posts containing Fisso’s World in Cambodia cartoons (I collected them all of course) here’s the book!
More about the temples of Angkor in Cambodia? Check out extracts from Wandering Angkor, my colourful, fun and insightful book on Angkor and Siem Reap.