26 January 2011

Sensuous Cambodia

   *      my first impression on arrival: the aromatic smell of wood smoke
   *      the products of Senteurs d’Angkor, where they make candles and soaps smelling of mango, orange, ginger, lemon grass, etc
   *      sweet frangipani flowers given to us by our masseuses at Phnom Balan
   *      food cooking – so many flavours, so much delicious food

*      wedding music blaring out over loudspeakers
*      the squeaky trumpet used by rubbish collectors to advertise their presence
*      the thumping drums from a place near the Globalteer Guesthouse, where local Chinese people practise their dragon dance
*      the sound of the family next door pumping water from their well
*      dogs fighting at all hours of the day and night
*      the fan in my room constantly rotating
*      monk chanting amplified from the local pagoda
*      the haunting tunes of the Khmer music played by the victims of landmines

*      the garish pinks, yellows and reds of the fabric used to decorate wedding marquees
*      monks’ laundry: bright orange oblongs of fabric strung over any handy object to dry
*      the magnificent sculptural work on the temples
*      a child’s smile
*      vehicles of all types piled high with goods and even higher with people
*      the painted blue trim on almost every house in the countryside
*      the delicate pink of waterlily blooms

*      the spices of the local curry: lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, ginger
*      amok served in a coconut -- delicious
*      Blue Vesuvio cocktails: vodka, blue curacao and lime, heaped with so much crushed ice it hurts your teeth
*      The Soup Dragon’s stir-fried noodles: no. 1 on our noodle-ometer
*      the refreshing tang of freshly squeezed lime juice
*      trying new foods: the spicy, saltiness of sun-dried shellfish laced with chilli; juicy mangosteen and dragonfruit

*      soft skin from washing with softer water
*      rough feet from constantly going barefoot
*      dusty, sweaty, grimy skin after a long day at school or at the temples
*      the wind in your face during a tuk tuk ride – and subsequent tuk tuk windblown hair
*      the clinging hug of a small child