the deal:

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Webisode #3 - Straight Razors Cambodia

Not really sure if this should be considered a webisode or not, but we think you will find it interesting.  I was looking over some unused media from our first week in Siem Reap and realized there was some footage of my first straight razor shave in Cambodia.  If you can't tell from the video we were literally in a little metal structure with a tarp for a roof on some small side street of Siem Reap.  If you remember the post about getting my ears cleaned... well this is where it happened.  Hope you enjoy the video.

Cambodian Shaves from Wassadeal Productions on Vimeo.

Water Filter Delivery

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Soksobay – Saysobok!

So, it’s pretty hard for me to believe that we haven’t even attempted to share some Cambodian lingo with all of you.  To be honest, maybe we have and I just have not noticed.  It has definitely been true that Miles has been the more diligent proprietor of the blog and I think he has done a damn good job keeping you guys all up to date and interested.  Having gotten that out of the way it is time to let ya’ll know wassadeal with some Cambodia speak.  For starters, you should never call the language ‘Cambodia speak’.  Cambodians are correctly known as the Khmer (pronounced ‘khmai’) and there language is similarly named so.  Since the moment we arrived, we have made a number of Khmer friends who have taken the effort to share the culture and language with us.  In addition, Miles and I were wondering around our neighborhood the other day and about 200 yards from the Honeymoon Palace we stumbled upon a Buddhist Pagoda where 10 monks live.  A monk named Sony invited us back to the Pagoda yesterday for a Khmer lesson and good conversation.  It was a very nice experience.  So, without further ado, here is a list of all the words we have learned thus far that we feel are appropriate to publish to our blog (believe me, Khmer men love teaching us words and phrases that are completely inappropriate to say in 99% of situations – they tend to find it hilarious). 

DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea how the Khmer words are actually supposed to be spelled…

Aukun -  Thank You
Aukun charan – Thank You Very Much
Ate Aukun – No Thank You
Tom – Big
Tud – Small
Tuk Tuk – Taxi
Tac – Water
Song Ha – Handsome
Song Sa – Girlfriend/Boyfriend
At Mien Song Sa – I Had Don’t Have a Girlfriend
Srey – Girl
Pros – Man
Bong Srey/Pros – Older sister/brother
Pon Srey/Pros – Younger Sister/Brother
Bong Som Lach – Sweetheart (male)
Oun Som Lach – Sweetheart (female)
Bong Scro Lach Oun – I Love You
Som Ah Pay Toe – Excuse Me Please
Khnhom Chong Bahn Sutch Muon – I Want Chicken Meat
Kom Pa Khnhom – Don’t Touch Me
Kom Paom – Don’t Fart
Khnhom Pom Mon Yol - I Do Not Understand
Joop Nea Tingui Sayay – See You Tomorrow

And most importantly…
Sok Sobay – Wassadeal
Say Sobok – Deals the What (Khmer people find this hilarious!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Cambodia

It has been a week of business as usual and unusual as always here in Cambodia.  Been up to some heavy sweating over at Trailblazers building and delivering water filters and otherwise planning our attack for the upcoming soccer season - which is near ready to kick off.  Gabe traveled to the capital city of Phnom Penh for the weekend with his friend who is visiting who goes by the name of The Gluten-Free Nomad.  More on that to come.

I spent the weekend taking pictures (to be posted this evening) and trying my hand at a few other new potential talents.  Firstly, I learned about a free Khmer class at a Cafe just a few minutes from town.  I went for my first lesson Saturday and learned two pages worth of vocabulary, phrases, numbers, and a joke or two.  The teacher was very easy to understand and helpful in describing the way to sound out the words I learned - although I often had to create my own phonetics to best remember them.  The classes meet on Saturdays and Sundays and I plan to continue going whenever possible.  Choice phrases learned include "My name is Miles", "I am from America", "I am ILL", "Don't fart!!",  and of course "Wassadeal?" - which translates to 'Soksobay' and is by far the most common greeting in Cambodia (soon to be second to wassadeal).

 Next up was Kung Fu.  While working at Trailblazers I have gotten to know a man named Boris who is visiting from Belgium - where he is an energy efficiency consultant and an assistant Kung Fu master.  All last week we talked a little about energy efficiency and a lot about Kung Fu.  Sunday we had our first lesson and I got my ass kicked - happily.  We have continued each night this week and it has been an incredible experience for body and mind.  Unfortunately Boris is leaving Saturday so after this week it will be up to me to continue my practice - but I very well may thanks to the help of Boris' instructional videos he's given me.  Coming for you, RZA.

Also to note is that for the first time Gabe and I walked down the road from our house (rather than straight to town) for the first time.  In seconds we found fields of harvesters and cows and in minutes we found a monastery.  Immediately we were greeted by three or four monks and welcomed to take a seat at a large stone table with them.  One in particular (with the best English) sat with us for nearly an hour talking about the monastery and their daily practices there.  We then got a grand tour from classrooms to crematoriums of which are going to put together a video for them and for you.

Happy Holidays and much love to all from Cambodia.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Angkor Watsadeal?

Wassadeal folks?  Here's a quick blog post to fill you all in on the happening's about Siem Reap (new pictures should be up tomorrow).  The most exciting news around here is that the four of us who all live at the Honeymoon Palace finally went and saw a wonder of the world - Angkor Wat and the other temples of Angkor.  They were incredible, but first a tangent:  we have been debating what to call our Cambodian abode.  It feels weird to call it 'the house' because a) thats not very fun or creative and b) we only occupy the upstairs of the house we live in.  So after much deliberation we settled on Honeymoon Palace.  Once the first ever episode of Cambodian Cribs airs on the net you will understand why we chose the name.  Also Honeymoon (the sweetest 2yr old girl in the world) reigns over the house like a true queen.  But I digress...  Our local friend Fila took us on a personal tour of 6 different temples.  I say personal tour because Fila leads tours of the temples all the time for the tour  company Intrepid.  You should check them out because they lead some pretty cool trips (request Fila).  Fila had his father drive us all around in his Tuk Tuk (Cambodian taxi car attached to a motobike for those who don't know) for the day. Of course, just describing the temples will barely do them justice, but you will have to wait for photos.  (for now see google images: Angkor Watsadeal The temples we visited besides Angkor Wat were Banteay Thom, Angkor Thom, Pre Rup, Ta Prohm (where Tomb Raider was filmed), and Kravan.  We hope to share these with you as best we can with some photos tomorrow and a video sometime down the line.  Love from Siem Reap.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Sorry we haven't had an update in a few days, but every time we come into town we get sucked into a free fish massage since our video hit the net.  The star of our film, T, spots us and sits us down as if we are poster boys for Dr. Fish.  Today we showed him and some of his friends the video on the laptop and a travel writer stopped to photograph us mid-massage for his site.  T has also been passing around our Wassadeal stickers, so soon every fish massage attendant in town will be wearing them like boy scout badges.

So, as many of you know we are soon going to be volunteering for an organization called Globalteer - who among other things has been involved with hosting a youth soccer league here in Siem Reap.  We will be coaching and training with the kids as much as possible while also helping to run the league in any other way we can help.  Although planning/organizing has begun for this years season, we are still a couple weeks away from kickoff - so we have been looking for new ways to spend our time besides filming, playing pickup basketball, and eating everything in sight..

Enter Scott Coats.  We met Scott last week at an expat pool party and exchanged numbers as soon as he explained to us what he does here.  Scott spends his summers in Jackson Hole and the rest of his time in Siem Reap building and distributing water filters to rural villages outside of the city.  Now keep in mind we have only gotten to spend a day seeing and learning about what Scott does, but with no more than ten people on his staff he welcomed our interest in volunteering for him.  On our first day yesterday we got a tour of Scott's workplace as he explained to us the steps involved with creating the filters.  I would do my best to explain the process, but an excerpt from Scott's website will do better..

"The filtration media consists of a layer of gravel, a layer of course sand, and a layer of fine sand. There is a plastic diffuser plate above the water level to avoid disturbing the naturally occurring bio-layer. It is the bio-layer which holds the key bacteria essential to removing biological pathogens and parasites. Water travels through the layer of biologically active sand and gravel which traps and degrades sediment, parasites and 98% bacteria.  Operation and maintenance is simple and within the capabilities of any user. Water poured through the filter processes at a rate of .6 liters per minute, which provides sufficient water fast enough to keep up with a family’s demand for clean water. Each filter can optimally filter 50 to 80 liters of water per day.  The bio-sand water filter is made of cement at a total construction cost of approximately $50 USD per filter, including the bio-sand media and a proper storage container.  Community stewards are selected to maintain bio-sand water filters in each village. These stewards are instructed on proper set-up, maintenance and water sanitation education, and pass this knowledge on to village residents using the water filters. It is exciting to see this technology successfully spreading out to the rural areas with the greatest need."

As I said before, we have only spent one day volunteering for Scott but we plan to on several days this week and consistently for the next few months we spend here.  On our first day we got to see the final part of the process - getting to drop off five of the 150 lb. cement filters at two different schools about 20 miles out of town. Although we were unable to have any part in explaining to the kids and teachers at the schools about the filters (two khmer guys who came with us did) we helped to move, assemble, and fill the filters as kids climbed all over us.  We had lots of fun and were especially delighted to find such a great way to spend our time here.  We will also be trained to construct the filters and to dig ninety foot wells - another aspect of Scott's organization 'Trailblazers'  - which we are incredibly excited about.  Apparently has been trying to get Scott to film something about his work so we will certainly be helping with that and bringing some media to the blog as well.

We have found leads towards other volunteering opportunities which we will be sure to share soon and we are really enjoying ourselves.  It's really hard not to be with the smiling people around this town -  and even the pizza is happy in Cambodia.  Seriously. (google search: 'happy pizza cambodia')

Picture update tomorrow.  Love from Siem Reap.