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Cambo Life: Where to Next?

Where to next?…the age old question. Or, in our case, the months-old question…or so it seems these days. Read all about it plus an update on the lovely demolition next door.

31 July 2020

The rains returned with a vengeance when Cyclone Sinlaku arrived, drenching Indochina from late July well into early August.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like rainy season!

Bad news for washing clothes and moving about town…

…and for the little construction zone we’ve found ourselves living in (good news for what we have left of our sanity, I suppose).

With under two weeks left, there are a lot of “lasts” to contend with, like the last of Noe’s little art classes in Tuol Tompoung.

Meanwhile, Riley and I do what most dudes in Cambodia seem to do with a little extra time on their hands on the weekend…

…hit the bar for a beer (or ice cold water for the little man).

I planned on saving some spicy peanuts for Noe and Lori, but the little dude ate em all. I thought they might be a little bit spicy, but nope. Not for this kid.

Afterwards, we hit up Russian Market for one last walkabout in one of the city’s best local markets. We had five things on our list and walked away with two of them. Not bad in these here parts.



That evening, it was off to one more evening at one of our go-to date spots, Oskar Bistro.

Then, we visited the Night Market.

Nine months living in Phnom Penh and this was our very first visit to quite possibly the most centrally located market in town (even more so than Central Market).

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Why did it take us so long? Well, mostly because it’s only open at night and we’ve got two little toddlers who become pumpkins after 8pm (7pm for Riley). It just hasn’t been a priority. But we’re glad we managed a visit before leaving.

Afterwards, we hit our favorite little tap house, Embargo, hidden deep in an old school tangle of alleyways that has featured prominently on this blog since moving to Phnom Penh last October (Sakana Lab, Battbong, Bistrot Langka, Patio…).

This area is only a five minute walk from our house but we’ve never taken the kids back here. It’s our special little kid-free place in the city just for us.

If we don’t find ourselves back in Southeast Asia any time soon, the local markets and winding alleyway neighborhoods are one of the things we’ll miss most.

Which begs the question — Where exactly are we headed after we leave Cambodia?

Noe, you want to take a stab at this one?

Sorry, folks. Noe’s too busy inhaling one of the earthiest green smoothies we’ve had here in town. And quite possibly his favorite of all time. It was quite delicious.

The days are ticking down, but we couldn’t help trying some place new. Backyard Cafe‘s second location just opened in BKK1 and is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. No highchairs yet (the original location has ’em), but we’re hoping they’ll appear soon. The food and drinks were awesome (and healthy!).

Behind our alley is a little Japanese bakery called Sancha, which has been a lifesaver during the time of COVID. We especially love their deli sandwiches.


I promised Noe a daddy excursion back to Hops if he started making “better choices” regarding his baby brother (in other words, if he stopped hitting/scratching/pushing his little brother which has become a daily occurrence…not to say that the little one doesn’t totally provoke Noe and 100% deserve it).

Fortunately, the carrot worked, and Noe changed his tune. So, we [finally] got to have an outing that Noe has been really stoked for.

Noe, however, was not so stoked about the choice of decor in the mens room…


If we were staying in Cambo, I’d totally consider getting one of these. I think Noe approves.

So, where are we headed if it’s not Cambo?

Well…the plan at this point is to have some long-overdue quality time with the grandparents and aunts and uncles (our parents and siblings). By the time we leave here in a couple short weeks, it will have been 20 months since we last saw any of them in person. That’s a hell of a long time to go without seeing family, particularly when you have two little ones (one of which has not seen his grandparents since he was two-months old).

So…obviously that is a priority at this point. Horrible timing? Absolutely! We thought [hoped!] that the U.S. might have gotten their shtuff under control by now. In May and June, that seemed possible. Then July hit and, well, you know the rest of the story. Everyone does. The whole damn world does. It’s devastating. It’s embarrassing. It’s just plain unacceptable for one of the richest, most industrialized nations on Earth.

So, yeah, the plan is to head back to the homeland for around six weeks, then hopefully have something lined up by early October.

It’s looking like we’ve got some surprisingly decent options at this point, considering COVID and the recession and such.

That’s if we can get into these places.

As U.S. passport holders, that might not be possible any time soon.

Again, we have a number of our fellow countrymen and women to thank for that, who think it’s cool to exercise their rights and privilege at the expense of millions.

No other highly industrialized nation seems to have these issues. Why, why, why? But anyway…

So, after a trans-Pacific flight and 14 days of quarantine in an undisclosed location, we will be ready to go out into the world and…spend time with the grandparents. And our siblings. And maybe one or two very close friends. And that’s about it at this point.

We hope the situation improves, but right now, it’s looking like that’s not likely for a while, unfortunately.

Be that as it may, we’ve got 20 months of catching up to do, so however long our time in the U.S. ends up being, it will be time well spent.

Until then, we’ll just keep soaking up the relative peace and quiet that the heavy rains have brought and keep our fingers crossed that the COVID situation across the globe improves, and that the construction workers at the demolition site next door don’t suddenly get rain gear.

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So glad you’ve got a place to stay for quarantine purposes. Like you, my family is also embarrassed by the lack of empathy so many have in our country/ state/ county. Stay safe and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I get to meet you and your wonderful family before you take off again. Keep the posts coming please, even while you’re in the states—

Shirley L. Northcraft
Shirley L. Northcraft

Grammy and Grampy are counting the days! We miss you so much!