Well, right after we got weather beaten visiting the Temples, we marched right off for lunch in the city. And I was so looking forward to this (partly hungry, partly I wanted to try authentic Khmer food!).
We stopped by a local restaurant where we were ushered by Mony, pass the al-fresco seating area, into the air-con area (the dude read my mind!). We ordered the Fish Amok,a type of thick coconut & sauces dish served in a coconut shell, for myself, and the Chicken Satay (yeah, yeah, we know we can always get it in Malaysia, but hunger knows no boundaries!) for Irene.
I must tell you that I simply LOVE the Amok! And if you visit Cambodia, this must be one of your first and constant companion! The satay was huge, all meat without fat (than what we get in Malaysia!). We were too involved in our gastronomical affair that I forgot to pictures of these sumptuous meals!
And to make our lunch experience all the wholesome, we had the fine hospitality of Oliver (I guess he realized most tourists couldn’t pronounce his Khmer name, so he came up with an English one!).
After lunch, Mony took us to the Artisans D’Angkor workshop area where they train underprivileged youngsters with artisan skills who would produce art works & souvenirs for sale at their outlets & grow to be professional artisans themselves. We were greeted by a guide who would take us through all the workshop areas for free. We first stopped at the Silkworm gallery where he explained how they harvest silk from silkworms & the many workshops over the district.
Then we checked out the silk-painting workshop where we saw how silk paintings were done and the works in progress.
Next stop was at the wood engraving workshop. The guide showed us what they used to give the engravings an authentic look.
We then went to the bronze moulding and engraving workshops. It’s incredible how they take a piece of bronze mould and shape it into elephants, pumpkins etc and then dipped into silver a few times.
Next, we stopped over at the wood carving section. Here the guide explained the type of woods they used determines the price for the artwork.
Right after that and another wood carving section (for larger pieces), we were taken to visit the store where they sold their finished work. Artisans D’Angkor also have retail outlets.
Right after getting a small silver-plated oval box for Irene’s niece, we headed to the Old Market, or in Khmer, Phsar Chas. Mony took us to his uncle’s & sister’s shop. I think he might be have been happy for the turnabout events the lead us to the city instead of spending the whole day at the temples! We bought some souvenirs & even checked out the different parts of Phsar Chas, besides the souvenir shops, the wet market and the hawker stalls (tourists, don’t even venture there!).
Inside, thankfully, it wasn’t too hot, but still somewhat warm. So after checking out the Old Market, we insisted on buying Mony and Sokran, our driver, a drink at a cafe. So Mony took to The Blue Pumpkin Cafe, a rather nice, free wifi cafe.
After an exhausting day, we were just too tired to eat out, so we just had to do with hotel food (which was good too)!
Coming up: Our long drive & day at Sisophon. (Trips to Cambodia always seem to be in long days!)