Category Archives for Cambodia

27Feb2010

Cambodian Food

cambodian food grown fresh khmer

There is an old Khmer saying which runs roughly as follows: “Eat anything that has four legs except a table, eat anything that flies except an aeroplane, and eat anything that travels by twos apart from a bicycle.” It is sentiments such as this which give Cambodian food a bad name. And, especially since we […]

24Feb2010

A Tryst Arranged

a tryst arranged

One quiet evening, Francois’ brother played Mendelssohn on the balcony of our Phnom Penh guesthouse, and he played it well. Francois is a writer, two young children, separated. The brother is an artist and musician, living in Cambodia, getting by. The kids are skiing with their mother. He is in PP with a friend. It […]

23Feb2010

I Heart Cambodia – Part 3

A fraction of the moat at Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat. The icon of a nation. One of the wonders of the world. Tens of kilometres of bas-relief. Acres of lawns. Sacred pools which drained a thousand reservoirs. I am grubby, gobsmacked and tired just from looking at it. Z is incensed. “Just think how many houses they could have built on this land,” […]

23Feb2010

Best Train Journey Ever? #1: The Bamboo Train

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Z will contentedly nap on motorbikes, ride the tailgate on pickups, sit on the edge of a boat and stand up in the back of anything that will have him. But Battambang’s Bamboo Train, which leaps and rattles a few inches above rails so warped that they wobble into the distance like a child’s first […]

22Feb2010

Dolphins on the Mekong

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I was eighteen when I read about the pink freshwater dolphins on the Amazon. I’ve dreamed of seeing them ever since, and Z and I will do this later on this journey. In the meantime, though, we stopped in Kratie on our way back from Ban Lung, Ratanakiri, to see the Irrawaddy dolphins on the […]

22Feb2010

I Heart Cambodia – Part 2

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It’s still uncomfortably early when we debike and hit some blessed calm at Kbal Spean, the River of a Thousand Lingas. The mile-long path to the top of the hill has been swept clean as a village yard, and cheeutal roots form an elegant latticework, almost like natural stairs. Ascents of grey, slabby rocks feel […]

19Feb2010

I Heart Cambodia – Part 1

tree roots at angkor wat

Z and I are sitting in pitch blackness on the laterite stairs overlooking the lake of Banteay Kdei, Cambodia, between a sculpted Khmer lion and the light of a Chinese guy’s tripod, some unsightly period before 6am. Tourist lore dictates that, when experiencing the grandeur of the Khmer god-kings, and the Angkor sights, one sees […]

17Feb2010

Doctor Fish

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Downtown Siem Reap, your starter for ten for the glories of the Angkor era, is tacky as hell. Yet, while a banner boasting “the most frozen margaritas sold in Siem Reap” does not exactly entice one to imbibe, the constant offers of tuktuks pall rapidly, there really is a street called Bar Street and the […]

17Feb2010

Rules and Regulations

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David is building an airfield. He has five planes waiting to go, two in Thailand, two en route, one awaiting release in Sihanoukville. So he spends most days in the guesthouse restaurant, one hand on his mobile, the other on his laptop, waiting for the results of his bakhsheesh to kick in. “I’ve put plenty […]

17Feb2010

Our Maths Hell

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So, four Mondays into our trip, and the home-schooling thing has hit a major speedbump. It’s the long division that’s killing both of us. It’s a lovely sunny day in Phnom Penh, and we are encamped in the bar-restaurant opposite our guesthouse, using their internet, swigging lemon juice and sweating. “So what is the next […]