After a couple of days of early starts, it was a nice change to sleep in until we woke of our own accord…no alarm required today! Breakfast was served in the garden with a choice of Continental, American or Cambodian. I opted for the Continental while David and Amanda went for the American.
Our activity for the morning was mixed…David stayed at the hotel to catch up on some work while Amanda and I went out to a Cambodian Cooking Class.
It was one of the few activities we had booked before leaving home. The tuk tuk driver arrived to pick us up right on 9am and we were off across a part of town that was new to us. The road was a main road that was sealed and quite busy with traffic, though there was no curbing. A large gutter (about 2m wide and a bit over 1m deep) ran alongside the road. I could not get over the amount of rubbish lining the roadside and gutter. It wasn’t just the odd can or bottle…it was bags and bags of trash. Amanda and I observed this for a way and then both said at the same time “they should organise a Clean Up Cambodia Day”. We were moving too fast to get a photo of it…you’ll just have to use your imagination.
We arrived at the venue first and were provided with a bottle of cold water.As the other participants arrived we had the opportunity to start getting to know each other. There were 2 girls from France, one of which has been travelling in Australia and is going back there next. Another from the USA that is currently living and working in Hong Kong. The last to arrive was a girl from Singapore. It must be wonderful to live in a place where you can go to another country for a long weekend!!
To start our class we went for a short walk down the road to the home of a local family. Here we got to see the type of home they live in and what their kitchen is like. We also looked around their garden to see the types of plants they grow for food and ask questions about the lives of local families that are not considered wealthy. It was interesting though a little depressing and certainly makes me grateful to have been born in Australia. At least we have everything we need to be safe, healthy and comfortable…not even considering all the things we have that we don’t need and just have because we want them. Here they only eat 2 very basic meals a day as that is all they can afford. The children don’t all go to school and those that do only go for half a day…not because of the cost of school but because they have to stay home and care for the younger children and clean and cook while the parents go to work in the rice fields. The tour company pays the family in rice for our visit. The 2kg we gave them will feed them for one meal.
House of a married daughter
We then walked over to a pergola in the middle of a yard which was set up as an outdoor kitchen. Even though we are cooking traditional khmer food, we are fortunate to not be cooking in a traditional kitchen. The six stations were set up ready for us to begin.
Amanda was attending as a participant so she had a workstation to herself and prepared the ingredients and cooked the three course meal herself, with only a tiny bit of assistance from the chef twice. I was very proud of her determination and skills…she did a really great job!
First we cooked the main course, fish amok…
Then we made dessert, sticky rice balls with coconut
Finally, we prepared our starter, green mango and chicken salad
Once all the preparation and cooking was done, we sat out under a little hut over a small lake and were served our meals.
Meling, Melia, Celine, Amanda, Me and Sarah
After enjoying our lovely lunch we headed into town to find David.
We found him at Charlie’s Bar…the owners of the hotel are friends with Charlie and he agreed to show the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix on his big screen tv in the bar…and here they sell schooners of local beer for 75 cents!
The race hadn’t started yet so Amanda and I went for a little walk around the area and came across a little art gallery. As I usually like to purchase a piece of art as a momento of our trips, we went in and looked around. The pieces were by local artists, some of them with disabilities caused by the war. I knew that I wanted something that included an image of Angkor Wat as it was the reason for me choosing to come to Cambodia in the first place. I cannot show you the painting yet as there was a strict ‘no photo’ policy in the gallery and they packed it up for me to bring it home safely…but I’ll try to remember to post a photo of it once it’s up on the wall at home…
Back to the bar…the race had begun and already some of the big names were out of the race…though thankfully not our Aussie, Daniel Ricciardo! For his first race with Red Bull he had managed to qualify second and was holding that spot still….and went on to finish 2nd…a fantastic result for the first race of the season, scoring him more points in one race than he had earned over the whole of the previous season.
Unfortunately, by the time I have come to writing this post this evening, tragedy has struck…the stewards have decided that something within his vehicle was not compliant with one of the multitude of new rules…Daniel has been disqualified…
Following the race we headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon in and around the pool…yep, it is still heavenly!
We eventually dragged ourselves out to get ready for dinner. Tonight we had booked to go out to have a buffet dinner and see a performance of Apsara dancing…the traditional Cambodian style of theatrical dance.
It was enjoyable, though my ongoing challenge to tolerate inconsiderate people was thoroughly put to the test. The venue was very large, there was plenty of food and the seating was set out in a way that people could get up and get food without having to interrupt the view of other patrons. Plus, the dinner started a full hour before the dancing…plenty of time to eat and then sit back and watch. Unless of course you are one of 3 bus loads of Chinese guests who come in 15 minutes before the dancing is due to start, spend 5 minutes getting into your seats and being given the rundown on what is happening from the tour guide and then proceed to talk and eat during the whole performance and barely even watch it, then get up and leave before it finishes…and worst of all, booked the tables at the very front with the best view of the dancing so no one else can sit close and has to put up with you in their view… (rant over)…
Anyway I enjoyed the dancing and costumes very much and at the end the dancers stayed on stage so you could take photos with them which was a nice touch!
Now, at the risk of jinxing it I am loathe to mention that David’s back is starting to give him some grief…hopefully though it is just a twinge and some nurofen will calm it down quickly…fingers crossed…