Local Craftsmanship in Siem Reap

It’s amazing how you can find opportunities to learn about the local culture for free; you can simply visit the restaurants shops and talk to the locals, take advantage of the free guided walking tours, or if you have the time, live in that city for a month or longer 🙂

Because I spend most of my days in the CCDO office or in the field, I haven’t taken advantage of all that Siem Reap has to offer, and I only have a few weeks left! My time here in this wonderful city is coming to an end soon, and I want to start doing more than dining at as many places as possible 😛 I came across Artisans Angkor, a company that provides vocational training to rural people in the form of craftsmanship and promotes fair trade and development in Cambodia. When I visited this place, I was able to see some of the craftspeople hard at work etching beautiful sculptures using wood and different stones!

Steps to carving a wooden sculpture
Craftspeople hard at work carving stone!
Paying close attention so they don’t miss any special details
Polishing the stone in water to make it smooth and develop a shine
Some examples of completed work

Adventures in Asia: Battambang

This past weekend, we ventured out of Siem Reap for the first time to visit Battambang! It wasn’t what I expected at all, although I think my expectations were a bit high… I was expecting this super large city with tons of people, but it was wayyyy less busy than Siem Reap, and a lot quieter as well! Unlike SR, where we stayed was barren with the exception of a few hotels and some bar restaurants that only opened in the evening (that made looking for food so difficult without transportation!)

Here are some photos to highlight the weekend 😀 Hope you enjoy! Thailand is next….stay tuned 😉

The endless stairs up to Wat Banan
We were halfway there and dying because of how steep these stairs were!
Finally made it!! This is a rear view of the ruins
We followed these three kids as our tour guides and trekked down a steep mountain to enter this cave with really cool calcium formations
This is in inside one of the killing caves in Cambodia
We caught the bats leaving their cave in the evening–I wish I could share a video!

Living Like a Local: Crocodilos Up Close and Personal

This past weekend I went to La Manzanilla with my host family to see los crocodrilos up close and personal! Have a good guess what those are? For a modest 30 pesos for an adult ticket, you can walk around the manglares (mangroves) to see a TON of crocodiles just chilling and sunbathing at the banks. If you’re lucky, you can catch some exotic birds like egrets and ibises!

This is where we went: Crocodrilario La Manzanilla

This is one of my host sisters 😀
We were so close to the crocodiles that if I reached my hand down I probably could have touched one of their tails 😮
The bridge is for passing not for playing (it shook when we walked over it!)
Can you see the fear in my eyes?
My host dad is such a clown; here he is wrestling with a “live” crocodile loool
Me and my handy dandy repellent. This SAVED me today; we were surrounded by mosquitoes left/right/up/down, and I used up half the bottle shamelessly, and I left the swamps unscathed 8)




Visit Madrid

Hi everyone, I’m back! The next few posts will feature photos from my recent trip to Europe 🙂

My first stop was in Madrid, Spain. The weather was a solid 100~ degrees Fahrenheit the two days I was there, something I’ve never experienced before in the US. The people there are so nice, and I was amazed and impressed that I was able to get by with my middle school and high school level Spanish and speak with the locals! I loved how nearly every city I visited had community trash bins for regular, recycle, and compost trash to encourage proper sanitation. Flowers were in bloom and families were all out enjoying the fantastic weather at El Retiro Park and Mercado de San Miguel! So excited to be sharing some photos from this fabulous city here:

There were beautiful arches everywhere we went, this was just one of them
I absolutely love taking photos of the streets in each city I visited!
People could go boating in El Retiro Park and watch the ducks and the fish in the water
Paella is a must-have when you visit Spain. This was super yummy, I can’t wait to make my own version one day~
Super fresh and delicious looking seafood in Mercado de San Miguel
Charcuterie stores and cured meat were everywhere we went
Olives seem to be a big thing in Madrid; they’re super popular, but so salty!

ALL PHOTOS ARE ©magnetically aesthetic. Please do not steal, edit, or use these pictures in any way without my permission. Thank you!

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Hello From Europe!

Hey everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts recently, for I am currently in Naples, Italy 😮 Originally I was going to get back to NYC Wednesday evening but unfortunately there is a strike with the airline that I booked with -sigh- my luck!

I’m excited to share some photos of my trip with you all when I return, so stay tuned! (I attempted to attach some photos of Pompeii and Herculaneum ruins but my WiFi is too slow to load the photos :()