Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Whilst in Chiang Mai, Thailand Elysse, Irena, and I decided to do a Thai cooking class. We were picked up from our hotel and were taken to a local market along with three others participating in the class. We didn’t buy anything at the market, but we did get a tour and a course in the ingredients we would be using. I was amazed at how clean and ordered the market was! Meat was covered, the few flies were shoed, there was plenty of light, air, and space. I enjoy Cambodian markets, but I will never by meat from one. I would happily have bought meat from this Chiang Mai market. But maybe not this meat:

Oh, and when I say we didn’t buy anything at the market, that’s not essentially true, I did buy some crickets. They are really yummy!

The cooking class took place at a farm about 20 to 30 minutes out of town. We each had our own cooking station. Here’s Irena and Elysse at their stations with our teacher:

My cooking station:

There were three options for each course, which worked well as there were three of us. The first item on the menu was the curry paste. Irena chose green, Elysse chose red, and I went with yellow.

Yellow Curry Paste (serves 1 – 2)


-3 red dried chillies (soak in cold water about 15 minutes before pounding)
-1 tbsp. chopped shallots
-1 tsp. chopped galangal
-1 tbsp. chopped lemongrass
-2 cloves chopped garlic
-1/4 tsp. roasted cumin seeds
-1/4 tsp. roasted coriander seeds
-1 tsp. chopped turmeric
-1 tsp. yellow curry powder
-1 tsp. chopped ginger


Throw everything in a mortar and get out all that excess tension with the pestle until everything is mixed.

And then you have a wonderful fragrant and colourful curry paste.


For red curry paste add 1/2 tsp. chopped kaffir lime rind, 1 tbsp. chopped krachai (Thai ginseng), and 1/4 tsp. salt. Omit the turmeric, yellow curry powder, and ginger.

For green curry paste add 2 – 3 long green chillies, 1/2 tsp. chopped kaffir lime rind, 1 tbsp. chopped krachai (Thai ginseng), and 1/4 tsp salt. Omit the dried red chillies, turmeric, yellow curry powder, and ginger.

More recipes to come!

Ta Prohm, better known to many as the Tomb Raider Temple, is one of my favourite of the temples of Angkor Wat. I’ve been there twice now, the first time just over nine years ago. This time it was obvious that the temple is falling apart. The larger trees are being held up with steel poles, as it they fall, they take the temple with them. One of the charms of Ta Prohm is that the roots of the trees have taken over, weaving their way over, under, and through the temple. But these roots will also be the temple’s downfall.

Here are some of my photos.

Have I ever mentioned how clumsy and absent minded I can be? How prone to hurting myself I am? Well I can, and I am, and I’ll give you some examples.

A few weeks ago I went to a birthday weekend in Kep. Initially I wasn’t going to go, but as I was in the village during that time anyway I decided to go. And I’m so glad I did. We went swimming in a secret lake, ate ice cream sandwiches, and stuffed ourselves full of crab.

I also spent an entire night dancing. Literally, it was 5am when I went to bed. A night of pool wrestling and dancing. It was wonderful, I never dance. It terrifies me and I always wish I could. That night I said ‘screw it’, and I danced.

Of course, the next day I had to face the consequences. I limped for a week and a half and couldn’t turn my head for a few days. Walking down stairs was nearly impossible.

When I finally recovered on a tuesday morning whilst walking to breakfast I scuffed my toe on a very sharp bit of concrete ripping a good amount of skin off the toe. That took about a week to heal.

Last week I went to the village again. I was staying in a different location than usual which is too far for my colleagues to pick me up on their way to work. So I hired a bicycle. It took me 30 minutes to ride to the office and it was a very enjoyable trip. The majority of the trip was dirt road with some sealed road towards the end. The ride home was quite different. My sit bone (nice way of saying my arse) ached as it had been unaccustomed to sitting on a bicycle seat. I also realised that one of the reasons the trip into work had been so enjoyable was that it was very slightly downhill. Meaning the return trip was very slightly uphill. I am not very fit, and it took me an hour and a half to ride back. At points I had to get off and walk as it hurt too much to sit on the bike (may I add that the trip is about 10km long).

Just as I neared my destination I noticed that it was slightly downhill. Excited I jumped on my bike again. I built up speed very quickly, it was so exhilarating! I turned the corner, slowing down slightly, and then noticed the speed bump. It was too late by the time I saw it and as I hit it I veered off the road and was stopped by a banana tree. A baby one, I broke it.

I wasn’t sure how long I lay there for, I was told later by one person it was about five minutes, another person said two. I felt winded in my head (if that makes any sense). I kept trying to stand but wasn’t sure which way was up. I was soon found and helped up.

The next day I was driven into the office and faced much teasing that I was guilty of killing a baby banana tree.

I suffered some whiplash and bruising to my legs. Now completely recovered. So you see, I am clumsy. And stupid for not wearing a helmet.

This week I fell out of a tuk tuk in Siem Reap and bruised both knees.

(By the way, the photo connected to this post is of secret lake)

I saw this movie last night. It was so powerful. It will be available to buy on DVD from 10 October and I think everyone should see it. At the moment I think it’s only shown at one location in Phnom Penh and at some universities in the US.

The director was available for questions and answers following the film. He lost three family members to the Khmer Rouge, but all he talked about was finding the truth and forgiveness. Only then could such a thing be prevented in the future. He didn’t want revenge, he just wanted to understand.

The website is if anyone wants to learn more.

I was back in the village last week. Apart from discovering that my thatched roof doesn’t keep heavy rain out, and a nearby wedding that lasted until 5am, I had a pretty good time. Here are some of my favourite photos.

The obligatory children shot. I couldn’t not take photos when I visited the school. They loved posing and every time I took a shot they crammed around me to see the photos on my camera.

One of the houses in the Community Vocational Training Centre (CVTC) where we work. The seedlings are fruit trees and are available to farmers for 1500 riel each (4000 riel is 1USD).

There are a lot of seedlings.

I think the cows in Cambodia are so pretty! My colleagues looked at me very oddly when I told them that.


My house in the village. Known as the Red House.

This is Tabby. It can get very lonely at the Red House all alone. The generator is only on for three hours in the evening, the storms are very loud and cold, and the house is quite isolated. But Tabby was excellent company!

The living room.

The program is leaving the village in 18 months, so the main focus is the exit strategy. Looks like I will be spending one to two weeks a month here. No complaints from me!