November 12

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Cambodia on my mind #5

Here we are with more funny stories from the Pearl of Asia.

Market23 – Do you remember my surprise in front of the shampooing in Cambodia? Well, you should have seen my face when I went shopping at the market. First of all, I am really pleased to have made the day of the women working at the market, where I was asking for trousers of my size. They looked at me, laugh and then kindly told me that I am too big for Cambodian size.

What? Do you know what it means for a westerns woman at 40 years old, who kills herself at the gym trying to keep a nice figure, to hear that sentence?!?! “ No size for you. Too big!”

I cried many silent tears and I gave up my shopping that day.  It was too much! For one second I felt like Bridget Jones wearing her Xmas jumper, except it was too hot to be Xmas and there was no Mr Darcy around.  I will remember that, the day a shop assistant in London will tell me, how skinny I am!

24 – Music is a key part of life in Asia and there are specific tune which they always remind me of a country. But Khmer music came into my life with no intentional requests.

Where I live, there are two bars and one karaoke, which please my nights every single day of the week. I have to say that some of the professional singers are quite good and there are some tunes which are stucked into my head.

But when you move to Karaoke, no that’s another story. My first experience with asian Karaoke was in Tokyo, on our way back from a Congress and waiting for our night flight, all girls decided to go a real Japanese Karaoke. I still have videos of us singing “Wonderwall” from Oasis– which I promised not to share with anybody.

But that was a private experience in a isolated room where we sang all the British traditional songs and I have to say, I have learnt something more on my colleagues musical talent. But Karaoke in Khmer is something different. And I don’t want to forget the lovely tunes that selling kiosk do play all the time at any moment of the day and night!!!

25- Crickets and Insects. They are part of the Cambodia Cuisine. You can eat them and honestly they are even good. But my experience with Cambodian insects is quite different. I still remember the first night I walked in my apartment and I found a big “thing” looking at me. I didn’t know what it was or even how it got in. But it was there, staring at me from my kitchen floor. You might feel disgusted by now, but I swear I didn’t have any intention to kill it. So I covered it up with a bowl and went to sleep. Hoping it was not going to be a modified insect strong enough to remove the cage and come to wake me up in my bed the next morning. In the morning, I decided I was going to free him outside of my flat. I was sure it didn’t have enough money to pay half of the rent. You know, it was me or it!!

I slided the bowl to the front door and while I was ready to say goodbye, a nice Cambodian lady appeared from the flat next to me. Her first reaction? Try to kill it, spraying with DDT but suddenly she picked up and start screaming :”Cricket! Cricket”. I have never seen my friend Cricky anymore…. It disappeared in her pocket. I publicaly apologize for its end!

Menu26 – Lok Lak – If you have ever been in Asia, you should know how food is not only amazing but a really important part of culture and life.

In Cambodia they have a long break for lunch and in all my field visit I had the chance to try any kind of snacking. There is one dish which for me it’s on my personal top ten: LOK LAK. It’s marinated meat served with rice on a bed of lettuce, but the best part it’s the sauce you have to put on top of it or digging the lettuce wrap with the meat. It’s simply Kampot pepper mixed with lime and salt. It’s heaven!!!  I am planning to have a cooking class to learn how to cook it properly, cause I am going to miss this dish so much!! If you have any suggestion on a good Cambodian restaurant in London, please shout!!!

See you  soon

Simona