To my American friends – Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoyed the company of fiends and family and ate well.
On American Thanksgiving, I had the best pumpkin pancakes I’ve ever had. It may sound strange to eat pumpkin pancakes in Cambodia, but funnily enough it’s not that big of a stretch. For one, pumpkin is on a lot of the menus here in soup and curries – we even saw some growing on our hike in Thailand. Second, the “sisters” who run the cafe learned to bake American recipes at the same America run orphanage together. One of the sisters shared with us her amazing story. She was from Vietnam living with her grandparents. When she was 12 she was told her mother was in Cambodia, and en route there to find her discovered she was actually to be sold in Sihanoukville. However, a bad motorbike crash left her with an amputated leg and this twist of fate saved her life. She then found herself in an orphanage with a new “family”. Today her and her husband work at the local orphanage and have both a biological and adopted child. Sadly this story isn’t as unusual as one would hope – we picked up a book I’m just starting by NY times columnist Kristof called Half the Sky documenting the human trafficking trend in SE Asia and other regions of the world.
Dinner that day was equally as indulgent as our pancake feast. We took the beautiful ride out to Kep, what Claudia and I figured was the White Rock equivalent of Cambodia. After a hike through the national park, we found a shack overlooking the ocean and had a feast fit for kings. Crab with local green peppercorns, prawns in local spices, fish in fresh coconut milk, shark in lemongrass and a nice cold bottle of white wine. A bit nicer than our usual backpacker fare, it was a dinner to be remembered.
We returned back to our favourite pancake spot the next day for more and stocked up on treats for the next leg of our journey (which was a good thing considering it was much longer than anticipated). Needless to say, we have eaten very well in Kampot and Kep. It was farewell to our friend Chris for a few weeks as Claudia and I continue on to Vietnam joined by our friend Daniel. In Vietnam, we’ll be spending a few days in Saigon / HCMC, on the coast in Mui Ne, then moving into the Central Highlands.
We’ll miss the beef luk lak, seeing volleyball courts everywhere, and much more about Cambodia; I’m already planning the trip back in my head, which will, of course, include more pumpkin pancakes.