Pathway

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Listening to the audio guide about the sad stories of some Khmer Rouge survivors in this pathway among the trees surrounding the lake was the most heart-breaking part of my visit in the Killing Fields.

It surely takes time to understand it all.

Book #42 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

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Gwenda Reed was looking for a new house and chose to buy the one that seems familiar to her. From there, she starts to see/imagine things that should be in the house — stairs, wallpapers, doors, etc. Moreover, she prefers to sleep in the nursery.

The mystery slowly unfolds once she found out that she actually lived in the same house as a child eighteen years ago.

This could have been a great book if it weren’t so predictable to me. I think reading too much of Miss Marple these past few months made it easier for me to figure out the murderer. However, I’d still recommend it!

Favorite quote : “Jealousy, you know, is usually not an affair of causes. It is much more – how shall I say? – fundamental than that. Based on the knowledge that one’s love is not returned. And so one goes on waiting, watching, expecting …  that the loved one will turn to someone else. Which, again, invariably happens.

Rating: 3/5 stars

More banana, please!

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Eid Mubarak!

Long weekend ahead! Yes, more time to rest, read and relax (I hope) because it’s holiday!

Every year, Muslims around the world celebrate Eid Al-Adha, The Festival of the Sacrifice. It’s a big holiday that takes place at the end of Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is also to honor and commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.

It is also during Eid Al-Adha that many Muslim families buy an animal, like sheep or cow, to be used as sacrifice and then share the meat among themselves, their relatives, friends, neighbors and the less fortunate. It reminds me of Christmas where Christians also share what they’ve got to everyone and that there shouldn’t be anyone left with nothing to eat. Oh, the idea of sharing! I hope it happens every day, not only on holidays!

Anyway, the holiday kicks off on Wednesday, the 23rd and runs through Sunday, the 27th.

Eid Mubarak! 🙂

Stone Face

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A couple of giant stone faces in Bayon Temple.

Stone Pathway

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The entrance pathway in the main temple of Angkor Wat.

Book #41 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I read Gone Girl earlier this year and enjoyed it so I was really looking forward to reading Gillian Flynn’s other books. I finally bought a copy of her first novel and that makes it Book #41 for my 2015 Reading Challenge.

Fucked-up girls! Disturbing.

So this is the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist sent back to her hometown by her editor to cover a story about the unsolved murder of two pre-teen girls.  As she tries to get more information about the murders, she identifies herself more and more with the victims.

Gillian Flynn is very good in creating likeable but damaged characters, which I liked most in this book as well as in Gone Girl. The main characters are incredibly flawed but smart.

I also personally think that Flynn was able to touch very well on themes about alcoholism and inflicted abuse in this book, some things that happen almost everywhere in the world today.

Overall, this novel is not as great as Gone Girl but it is worth reading.

Favorite quotes: “Sometimes when you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them.”

“How confusing to live in the shadow of a shadow.”

“I ached once, hard, like a period typed at the end of a sentence.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Killing Tree

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A Chankiri Tree or Killing Tree was a tree in the Cambodian Killing Fields against which children and infants were smashed because their parents were accused of crimes against the Khmer Rouge.

Book #40 – 2015 Reading Challenge – The Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Book #40 for my 2015 Reading Challenge is another Agatha Christie. a carribean mystery

So this book is set, as the title suggests, in the Caribbean. Yes, Miss Marple is on a Caribbean vacation.

The story is about a murderer who always gets away with his crime because people don’t want to listen. The pace was a bit slow compared to her other books but that didn’t stop me from reading. The relationship between Miss Marple and Mr. Rafiel, an unwell millionaire, is what I like most in this book. I think that the story belongs much to both of them. 🙂

Somehow, I guess I’m starting to understand the A. Christie formula already. 🙂 Or this just probably happened to be the easiest of her mysteries? Either way, I guessed it right on this one!

Favorite quote : “Life is more worth living, more full of interest when you are likely to lose it. It shouldn’t be, perhaps, but it is. When you’re young and strong and healthy, and life stretches ahead of you, living isn’t really important at all. It’s young people who commit suicide easily, out of despair from love, sometimes from sheer anxiety and worry. But old people know how valuable life is and how interesting.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Book #39 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

After reading Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, I made sure to get my hands on Seabiscuit: An American Legend. Luckily, the guesthouse where I stayed at in Phnom Penh has a second-hand bookshop just in front of it. I wasn’t really expecting to find it there but TA-DA!!!

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A fantastic piece of non-fiction.

This is the story of the almost unrecognized talented race horse, Seabiscuit (who happens to be a descendant of one of the greatest race horse, Man o’ War) and the people who came to work together to make history. It’s such a fantastic mix of an underdog story and wonderful writing. Hillenbrand writes what she needs to say in the simplest, smartest and most precise way and that is that.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to recommend it to everyone who hasn’t read it yet.

Favorite quotes : “His books were the closest thing he had to furniture and he lived in them the way other men live in easy chairs.”

“…maybe it was better to break a man’s leg than to break his heart.”

“It’s easy to talk to a horse if you understand his language. Horses stay the same from the day they are born until the day they die. They are only changed by the way people treat them.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Hanoi Opera House

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One of the beautiful buildings you’ll see in Hanoi.

Book #38 – 2015 Reading Challenge – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This is my first Neil Gaiman book so I didn’t know what to expect. I loved it nonetheless! neil gaiman

The story began when the unnamed narrator revisited his childhood home for a funeral and was drawn back to a farm where he met his one true friend and experienced a magical and haunting event when he was seven years old.

Not every child probably did this but when I was young, I like to imagine things differently from what they really are. I like thinking about them in a weird way that sometimes my memory get mixed up from what’s real and what’s not. The book somewhat depicts that. That sometimes, things are different from what we remember them to be.

Although this isn’t typically the kind of book I usually seek out to read, this made me smile. But it made me sad, too. It gave me something to think about. It even made my heart ache. So I think that’s enough reason to recommend this book and read more of Neil Gaiman’s works.

Favorite quotes : “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”

“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

“I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Bench

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This bench is just outside Sabaidee Thai Restaurant in Salmiya. I’ve always liked it and it seems so nice to just sit there with someone and talk a while.

Thai Food Thursdate

I love Thursdates! Yes, Thursday dates with anyone (it really doesn’t matter with whom) as long as we have interesting conversations and good food, it is just good enough! Better if we can share a drink or two, but since I’m in Kuwait, that’s hopeless. So whatever we lack for drinks/alcohol, we just try to make it up on food and stories to share with each other.

So today’s Thursdate is with my friend (you know who you are) who just came back from vacation and yeah, Happy 1st Year Wedding Anniversary to you and your husband! We went to Sabaidee Thai Restaurant in Salmiya. Sabaidee in Thai means be well or be fine.

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It’s just a small restaurant with only two or three staffs I think but that didn’t matter because we definitely enjoyed the food. There were a lot of food to choose from in their menu and we opted for these few:

Gai (chicken) satay
Gai (chicken) satay

Peek Gai Tod (deep-fried chicken wings, Thai style)
Peek Gai Tod (deep-fried chicken wings, Thai style)

Khai Luk Khaei (fried hard-boiled eggs with tamarind sauce)
Khai Luk Khaei (fried hard-boiled eggs with tamarind sauce)

Flat rice noodles with seafood
Flat rice noodles with seafood

Pad thai (Stir-fried noodles - with seafood)
Pad thai (Stir-fried noodles – with seafood)
All the dishes tasted very good and the servings were more than enough at very reasonable prices.

So if you happen to be in the mood for some delicious Thai food, you can check it out. I personally recommend their branch in Salmiya because I haven’t visited the other branches yet. You can also check out their website here.

Things that Make Me Happy

Everyone in this whole wide world has something, big or small, that makes them happy. Money, shoes, bags, food, people, etc. My idea of happiness is simple and usually, it’s the small things that actually gives me joy. And as I grow older, these small things are actually the big things and maybe that’s why these things made me happy then and still makes me happy now.

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  1. A good book
  2. Tennis
  3. Adventures/Traveling and learning other cultures
  4. Happy tears
  5. Inside jokes with family/friends
  6. Old couples still madly in love with each other
  7. A kiss on the forehead (It’s the most respectful kiss, I think)
  8. Being married
  9. Morning fog (I miss this)
  10. When someone remembers the things you say (and when someone remembers my birthday not because they saw it on Facebook)
  11. When love works in other people
  12. When I/someone is excited and can’t stop smiling
  13. When people leave (You know, like clouds, when they’re gone, it’s a brighter day!)
  14. Long walks
  15. Songs that make you reminisce
  16. Starry nights
  17. Knowing/discovering things for the first time
  18. Finding things you thought you’ve lost
  19. Memories
  20. Daydreaming
  21. Sleeping in your bed after being away
  22. Shy smiles 🙂
  23. Hugs
  24. Karaoke/Videoke
  25. Hanging out with friends
  26. The sound of rain and thunder
  27. Sleepovers
  28. Thrift shops
  29. Receiving hand-written letters (Which almost doesn’t happen anymore)
  30. Not coming home until early hours

There are a lot more things that make me happy and my list could go on forever but I’ll leave it with these few. How ’bout you? What brings you joy?

Thanks for reading, you just made me happy! 🙂