Today was a slightly unusual day. We started the day with a walk to the Boeng Keng Kang Market to look for an extra bag for all of our Cambodian treasures. Although it was still early the day was quickly getting warm so we rushed straight without any hesitation. We hadn't had a lot of time to explore the market and didn't really know what is sold there other than food. I found clothes, shoes, bedding, and fashion accessories in addition to all the normal food items. Araceli and Francene were feeling adventurous and wanted to try a Khmer breakfast. I know that it isn't vegetarian safe so I kept wandering through the stalls and bought some mangosteens and jack fruit. When I checked back in they were picking at their breakfast but I don't think it was what they envisioned. Instead of a well seasoned bowl of rice porridge they got plain rice porridge with an assortment of unidentifiable things to be added. Unfortunately, because they didn't know what was what in the unlabeled containers, they picked politely and we left.
Once we got out of the market we found people selling bags so I went from stall to stall looking for something relatively well made but kept coming up empty handed. When I found something decent the price was absurd and often the bag was ugly. Well, I did gravitate toward ugly bags because they would be easily identifiable. At this point we were hungry and the prospect for success on the bag hunt were bleak so we decided it was time to wander aimlessly until we found somewhere to eat.
In the end we stumbled into a local breakfast place. There were no foreigners there but lots of Cambodians, mostly men, enjoying their breakfast. I knew I would be eating some kind of meat, it was inevitable, and because the menus weren't in English and the staff spoke little English as well we ordered by pointing. They served us a chicken soup with vermicelli noodles; the obvious chunks of chicken I split between Araceli and Francene but I ate the broth anyway. It was pretty good, especially with some hot chili paste added, then it had a nice bite.
With the heat beating us down we walked back towards the apartment. On the way we stopped at the same curio shop that we went to yesterday. Something caught my eye and I don't like to travel with regrets. In the end all of us did some shopping and we left with our bank balances significantly lightened. Success!
Finally we went back to the apartment to relax and clean up a little bit for lunch. We had a date with Tim and the Director of Budget for the Kingdom of Cambodia. He wanted to talk about real estate and since Francene is a lender and and I am a real estate broker. So we met at an unusual but tasty German restaurant in the government district and had a really nice conversation about how real estate transaction work in the United State, or rather, in the State of Oregon. I think he found it informative and I found his interests intriguing insofar as what it would take to professionalize the real estate system in the country. It sounds like there are going to be some interesting business opportunities in Cambodia as it works to join its neighbor on the international markets.
With lunch over we resumed the search for a decent checked bag. Our new playground was the Central Market. There we found a few people selling decent looking bags, not the sort of thing that I would be tempted to use much in the future but sturdy enough to get home without falling apart at the seams. Plus we got a good price on it so that made me happy. Araceli then decided to resume her weeks long search for baby clothes. There was some and I think she finally found what she was looking for, baby Taco is going to have some styling new threads!
Flush with success we returned to the apartment to prepare a surprise. On the flight out I told my travel companions how I had a long, non-work related, conversation with a support agent who works for my mobile carrier. We got to talking about the holidays and I told her about my favorite cookies. She was intrigued and asked for the recipe so I pointed her to the website where my sister originally found it. As I told the story on the plane another passenger asked for the recipe so I gave her the web address as well. With so much interest we decided to make Tim (and ourselves) salted oatmeal cookies. We gathered all the ingredients and made only a small mess in the kitchen but by the time Tim got home from work the apartment smelled like cookies!
That meant we needed to leave almost immediately if we weren't going to ruin our appetites by gorging on cookies. A quick meeting and we opted to go to a Thai place nearby. The food was delivered quickly and it was tasty. Unfortunately we got chewed on by mosquitoes so when the meal was done we beat a hasty retreat. When we arrived back at the apartment we ate cookies and are now ready for bed under the heavenly effect of a cookie-induced sugar coma.
Canon 1D X, Canon 50/f1.2L
50mm, f2, 1/125 sec @ 250 ISO