We arrived In Siem Reap, Cambodia which is the base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. We then travelled a five-hour journey by road to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Along the way, we saw countless paddy fields, water buffalo, cows and houses built on stilts to protect the homes in the rainy season.
Phnom Penh is said to be undergoing a modern renaissance and it was a stark contrast to the quiet country life we encountered along the road. Steeped in charm, beauty and a rich culture of ancient Khmer history, its people smile with a gentleness that appears unbowed by the wars, genocide and poverty that has besieged their country.
This is my first painting reflecting my travels
Cambodian Fruit Seller
It is so commonplace to see the street traders selling their wares, hoping to catch your eye, hoping to engage – a sale, a dollar!
In Phnom Penh, we came upon many food markets. These were a feast for my eyes with a humming energy ever-present. The colours, the textures, the smells of fish, fruit and fowl all mingled together to create a pungent aroma. Chickens squawked, frogs leapt and fish squirmed while underfed cats came to see what offerings could be had.
All kinds of food was on offer with fruits I’d never seen nor heard of before. My imagination was rather more stretched when I saw such things as spiders being served as a delicacy. Tourists gathered round and dared each other to taste the culinary delights. I played my role through “observation” only!
The palm tree is very interesting because of how useful it is. Every part of the tree has a purpose, even the roots of the tree play their part. In this photograph, the girl is cooking the sap from the palm tree and stirring it until it crystallizes. It is then wrapped in palm leaves and sold for cooking purposes. This is a high quality 100% natural food product.
We also tasted some palm sugar wine and needless to say, it was delicious.
Check back soon to see my next posting on Asian charm and my next painting.