Friday, June 15, 2012

First day in Cambodia

How cool are butterflies? When I was in Singapore during our stop over to Cambodia, we checked out the butterfly house at the airport to pass some time, which was great. It's pretty sad how we don't get such fabulous butterflies in Australia. Going to the zoo to visit the butterfly enclosure doesn't count, although you could say the same about visiting the butterfly house at the airport.

We went to Cambodia because Liam’s sister-in-law Al had to attend her step sister’s wedding. It was such a grand affair and everyone in the family was invited, including me. Liam wasn’t able to make it due to work, but her urged me to go anyway. I thought it would be a bit weird, but it ended up being a wonderful trip!

The wedding was a three day affair! Al initially wanted to go for one day but her husband Brett said it was more respectful to do all three days. The first day and half of the second day was pretty much a traditional ritual where monks came and blessed the bride and groom. The evening of the second day was the big, grand affair where people wear gowns and dine in a very fancy hall. The third day was a wind down dinner at the groom’s house, which is meant to be a more chilled out affair (it was epic). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll get to the wedding eventually. We did a few awesome things before the wedding so I will lead up to it.

The first time we stepped outside the airport was just like being punched in the face by humidity: you instantly feel that uncomfortable sensation of sweat creeping out of your pores. We spent ages waiting for the arranged transport to pick us up. Rogan and Diana (Liam’s parents) brought cryo-vacked (I don’t know how to spell this), frozen beef steaks to Cambodia and wanted to make sure they made it to a fridge. Apparently beef in Cambodia isn’t very good so the beef was a wedding gift, along with some good quality single-malt scotch. Cambodia is surprisingly into scotch, they only seem to drink the blended kind like Chivas Regal. It’s strange because scotch is such a winter drink and it’s crazy hot in Cambodia. I don’t particularly like scotch because it’s such a sweet liquor. You really aren’t meant to gulp it down.

Driving along the road was very interesting. I couldn’t believe how westernised the streets were: every sign and building had an English translation, which I really appreciated. The petrol stations looked like the ones we have in Melbourne: they have Caltex too. The roads, however, are crazy. Cars and motorbikes were coming and going from every direction imaginable. A two-laned road becomes a three-laned road, with the middle lane going in the opposite direction. That’s how frantic it can get. Strangely, we didn’t witness any casualties, although many times we thoughts we were going to be in a crash.

The hotel we stayed at was the Cambodiana. Al chose this hotel because it’s very central and all the taxis and tuk tuks know where it is. It’s this old-school hotel that was built in 1969. It’s exterior is very beautiful and grand but the inside seemed quite faded.

When we checked in, my room was still being made so I left my luggage in Brett and Al’s room. We were so exhausted when we got there because we did an 8 hour stop over in Singapore airport, which drove us crazy. I just wanted to stay in my room and sleep, but Al’s other stepsister Maria and her husband Tara came to visit and took us all out to dinner at this restaurant by the river called The Titanic.

Yes the name is lame, but it was a lovely place. We sat outside, literally by the river so the breeze was great. The food they did was so tasty and super cheap, but Brett said the food isn’t considered cheap for Khmer standards. But hey, US$2.85 for some pho!!

I wasn’t feeling very well so I had some Khmer hot and sour soup (about US$6). It was perfect, with lots of lemongrass. They even had fresh straw mushrooms, which are so different to the canned ones we get here. These actually tasted good!

Al and Brett both ordered a set three-course meal (costing roughly US$11) consisting of a yummy, tangy beef salad and some fish amok, which is like a fish mousse cooked in a coconut sauce. For some unknown reason, I did not take any photos of the fish amok! But was delicious, although when I some, it was a little cold.

They also got these dessert spring rolls. I can't remember what was in them but my mind is saying pineapple.

I can't remember what Diana and Rogan ordered. I'm pretty sure Diana ordered a salad and Rogan had some lobster in a curry sauce. We were all very tired so we went home early. I was actually falling asleep in my seat!

The next day we went shopping at the Central Market, indulged in US$2.50 cocktails and I rocked the mic at karaoke. I will post about that soon.

In the meantime, if you have Pinterest, let's follow each other! I'm so addicted to it at the moment. I've realised it's a really good way to plan Christmas gifts, dinner parties and whatnot! My Pinterest is 2choux. Let me know what yours is and I'll definitely follow you! Although, just to warn you, mine is very food heavy.


  1. Wow I love your butterfly photos! You got pretty close to them, I can never get photos of animals that close...

    Every time I see spring rolls in that shape, it makes me think of pigs tails. For some strange reason. But pineapple? That sounds delicious!

    I added you on Pinterest. :D