Expat in Asia – Cambodian Tales – Part 5


Written by my partner Richard


It’s that time again sweetie darlings!  I can tell because my thingy has been getting bigger over the past few days (reader count that is pets)!
Bless you all for staying faithful, which I know can be hard at times, and making me feel so wanted and popular.

Anyhoo, it’s been a really fun and action packed time since my last blog. I’ve been all over the shop and back again.  Lot’s to talk about and share so hang on tight coz away we go.

Travels with my Aunt was a truly wonderful experience.  A roller coaster of emotions and some re-assuring insights into my inner soul.  I’ve met my Aunt only 4 times in my life, but have always stayed in close contact with her since I was a child.  The first time when I was 13 on my first visit to England.  The second time in 1988 when I only managed to spend a few hours with her, and the third time in 2009 when my partner and I spent a few days with her on our road trip around England.

This was not a the best timing as her life long love had died only 2 months before – a tragic story of unrequited love that lasted over 30 years before they finally were able to be together and then lasted a little over 20 years until his death.

We didn’t do much ‘traveling’ but rather spent quality time really getting to know each other.  I was amazed at not only how wonderful she was but also how alike we are.  Yes our life stories are very different, but our personalities and thinking were uncannily similar.  What I got most from our time together was the realization that being the ‘black sheep’ of the family was something that was out of my control from my moment of conception.  I have spent years feeling guilty for my past and actions and she made me see that I was not the one to blame for the choices I made.

So apart from a trip to the Silk Farm, which she thoroughly enjoyed, and a tour of the Temples with her traveling companions, we spent most of the time chatting, drinking and eating.  As she is 80 it was too difficult for her to manage the 6 flights of stairs to our apartment so each night we went out for dinner.  Which gives me a lot of food for my blog darlings.


My partner and I tend to be a bit routine in our dining venues, but this time we sampled a variety of restaurants so I thought I would give a little insight into some of our dining experiences.  We started off in the Alley, always crowded, but very atmospheric and with a plethora of eating choices.

Our first meal was at ‘The Paper Tiger’, this is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in town.  Always crowded and for good reason.  The food is excellent with a great choice of both western and Khmer Cuisine.  Not only is the food good but even when full the service is fast and efficient.  Afterwards we strolled around the Old Market and Pub street area which, even during the low season, is always a hive of activity.

Our second night we ventured away from the madding crowd and headed away from town to ‘Schnitzel Wirten’ aka ‘The Crocodile Farm Bistro’.  This is one of the best value restaurants in town and set away from the tourist centre.  The food is delicious and the servings enormous – so big in fact that we had to take half our food away in ‘doggy bags’, even then our dogs were fed for two nights on the leftovers.  The crowd is mostly expat and the owner is really friendly.  As a bonus you get a farewell shot of the spirit of the day.  We had to hold poor Aunty up as we staggered back home.


The third night we ended up at ‘Old Town’ on Street 7.  This was a regular haunt of ours for quite some time, until we noticed the portions were getting smaller and smaller.  Thankfully and sensibly pets the owners seemed to have realized this and we all enjoyed a fabulous and adequate sized meal for a really good price.  By the way if you are a local ex-pat they give a 10% discount!

Our last night unfortunately was a bit of a disaster.  We went to ‘The Party House’ on Sok San Rd, which is about 15 minutes walk from River Queen.  My Aunty and I walked and along the way had a fish massage pedicure.  What a hoot pets!  My Aunty was in fits of giggles every time a fish nibbled her feet and splashed her feet so much that they had to start re-filling the tank while we were still sitting there.

Anyhoo, she survived, and we got to the Party House and ordered drinks while waiting for my partner to arrive on the moto.  The service was slow, the new staff seemed to have no English at all so everything had to be ordered by pointing, which was not much help either as out of a 4 page menu everything we tried to order was ‘not available’!  It took 20 minutes to finally manage to order 3 meals and this was only 8pm in the evening pets.  I would have understood had we arrived at 10pm but 8pm is just a little too early to have nothing in the kitchen!   Then the 3 bottles of beer we ordered arrived as 3 bottles of water.  Eeuuw – I never touch the stuff pets – and had to be sent back.  To top it all off, even though the food was nice we all ended up spending the night making constant trips to the loo.

Now I could have been a bitch and splashed our woeful gastronomic experience all over FB, but knowing the owner, and remembering that we had previously always enjoyed ourselves there, I sent him a private message the following day.  He was very thankful and apologetic and stressed that his staff were all new to the job but understood our complaint.  I’ve got an offer of free drinks all night next time I return.  Which is not what I was after but I’m never one to knock back a freebie so will definitely take him up at some stage – besides possums it will be interesting to see if he has lifted his game.

Other than gorging myself silly darlings I’ve been very busy pushing my next ‘Clean up Temple Town’ day.  Which will be on February 8.  We’ve already got 6 big groups participating and are again able to extend our clean up area to so far untouched corners of town.

Earlier this week I went out and took some photos as our end of town has been sadly neglected by the Garbage company and the council.  I posted the pictures on a number of FB forums and received mostly positive responses.  Of course there were one or two nasty, cynical comments, as you would expect which I think I managed to answer diplomatically as the postees made no further comments.  Anyhoo, rather than me rattling on, check it out…..https://www.facebook.com/groups/Cleanup.TempleTown/.

The best outcome was that a day later the Garbage company suddenly arrived and have cleaned up most of the rubbish, photos of which I had splashed all over FB.  I love the power of social media pets.  Also I have now got a few riverside hotels joining in my ‘save the shrubbery’ campaign which  I mentioned in my last blog. We want to be clean and green poppets!

A fun month guest wise….I’ve just spent the past four days entertaining two elderly German gents.  not a word of English so I have had to recall and practice my school boy Deutsch……stop fantasizing pets, I know you all wouldn’t mind practicing with a Deutsch schoolboy but Das ist verboten!

Anyhoo they were charming and quite comical in their long sleeve shirts, shorts, hats and complete with walking shoes and socks.  They looked like the Von Trapp boys all grown up.  I was very tempted to organize our staff to sing ‘So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye’ this morning as they left.  I restrained naturlich darlings, but it was tempting.

Our Russian artist finally left after spending a whole month with us.  She fell in love with the temples and produced at least 20 oil on canvas paintings.  We snuck in her room one day when she was out as the cleaning girls called us in to see her paintings which she was hanging on the balcony to dry.  Not something we normally do of course, but she was so secretive with her work that we couldn’t resist a gander.

Before I leave I must tell you about my fabulous make-over.  I’ve been wanting to pamper myself for a while and yesterday decided to get my hair cut and coloured, plus have a facial and steam in the process.  I’ve gone a gorgeous russet orange, which takes years off me and feel really glad I did it.  It’s a brand new me pets!  Even my partner, in his best Boris Badenoff accent. finally said ;it looks not too bad’!  Which believe me pets is praise indeed from him.

So that’s it pets.  I have to leave some for next time.  There’s stories of gorgeous boys who are now once a week visitors at River Queen, stories of sadness and realities about our staff, stories of innovation regarding rubbish, and another plug for the best eating and drinking venue in town.

As always darlings, stay fabulous and be glamorous.



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