Today was our first full day in Cambodia and if we can judge by the events of the day we're going to have an incredible time. This morning we were roused by rain lashing down on our windows with peals of thunder and flashes of lightning at about five o'clock. With just four hours of sleep we still managed to be too excited to go back to sleep so we got up and chatted for a while.
Soon the smells of food began to drift into the room so we had a nice breakfast of eggs and toast before tackling the subject of transportation to our cooking class at Linna Culinary School. It took a little while for the tuk tuk driver to find the location so it is a good thing that Araceli showed the initiative and planned ahead.
The owner and instructor of the cooking school met us right by Kilo Lek Buon Market, the place to shop for fresh produce in one of Phnom Penh's newer suburbs. As with every market I've been to in Asia is was bustling and we had to wend our way through hoards of locals. Linna explained that more Cambodians eat out for breakfast so the early mornings attract the largest crowds of people looking for a meal and shopping for the day. Nevertheless, I loved it, people haggling, picking through piles of food looking, and tasting new things. At one point I was wiping the sweat off my brow and two women started to tease me; they mimed wiping sweat and then picked up a fan and started fanning themselves. It was just good natured teasing, I know I laughed.
When we finished exploring the market we went to Linna's excellent school. Although the kitchen was small there was plenty of room to move and it was extremely well-appointed. On the menu today was a pineapple curry and green mango salad. First Linna showed us how to make the dishes from start to finish and then it was our turn. We carved out the pineapple to use it as a bowl, chopped spices, ground a curry paste, shredded mangos and carrots, fried some fish and in no time everything came together. It was all excellent and each of us had our own miniature feasts! We all enjoyed varying degrees of success and even Brian had a great meal even if he had a little extra help from Linna and her staff. Afterwards we were served plates of jackfruit, banana, and some other local tropical fruits. It was such an amazing treat and I will happily admit that the fresh fruit was something I was early anticipating.
After we cleaned up our little group returned to our hotel and spent the afternoon resting. I napped, Araceli explored Cambodian televisions, and I think Brian and Nicole napped too. This evening we were all still comfortably full so we just chatted, planned for the day tomorrow, and decided to try to get to bed at a reasonable hour...
Canon 1D X, Canon 24-70/f2.8L Mark II
65mm, f2.8, 1/1250 sec @ 640 ISO