Hey everyone, before I get into the main blog post I just wanted to explain why I haven’t posted for a while. Even before everything happened with COVID-19 I was getting really busy at work. Usually when work takes over my blog & YouTube channel suffer because I just become mentally and physically exhausted. During the month of February and the beginning of March, I did two trade shows which each lasted a few days. I’m not sure if any of you have experienced planning and working at a trade show but they are really hard work both mentally and physically. After both of the trade shows, things started to calm down at work and I was just getting into a good routine for both work and home life when COVID-19 started getting more serious here in the UK.
We have officially been in lockdown for around 2 weeks now however, I’ve been working from home for around 3 weeks now. If some of you have been reading my blog for a while then you will know that a couple of years ago I did a lot of freelance work due to being made redundant earlier on in the year. Therefore, I had an experience of what I thought “working from home” was like and oh boy was I wrong especially in the current situation. When I was working from home before it was just myself and the owner of the company who I was communicating with which was really simple and easy to get tasks done.
This time around I’m apart of a team of 20 people which makes getting tasks completed slightly more complicated as none of us are in the same room as each other. I’m sure a lot of you who are WFH are also using Microsoft Teams like we are however, it’s not the same as being able to go up to someone’s desk to discuss something or all get our heads together in a meeting room. I think I’m going to do a blog post about my experience of WFH once I’ve finished my Cambodia blog posts. But for now, I will continue the Cambodia blog post…..
Day two of my Cambodia trip which was technically our first full day in Cambodia started around 4:00 am as I was very jetlagged from the time difference. Like I mentioned in previous blog posts/videos I’m the worst when it comes to jetlag my body just doesn’t cope with it very well. I’m a lot better on the way back as I have things like work to get me back into my routine quickly. We didn’t have to meet our tour guide until around 10:00 am so there was enough time for me to try and go back to sleep before getting up to have some breakfast.
For breakfast, I decided to stick to something plain as I know that it can take a while for your body to adjust to different types of food especially if you are used to eating western food. I also knew that I should be careful with things such as fruit and vegetables (unless they’re cooked) as a few of my friends had been to Bali and had told me this advice beforehand. So I just went for some toast with butter and jam and a bottle of water. One of the other things we had learnt from our tour guide but also it’s quite well known that in Asian countries you shouldn’t drink the water from the taps and should only use bottled water.
Our main activity for the day was a Cambodian cooking class in the centre of Siem Reap. The cooking class started off by visiting the local food market where we looked around at the different parts of the market which was an eye-opener. Let’s just say that their markets didn’t have very many food regulations which I completely understand as people aren’t as educated about these things in Cambodia at the moment. However, it was just a very surreal thing to see as you would see things like chickens with their heads still on the floor but they were in metal trays. I have to admit I found the market quite challenging as I have a really sensitive sense of smell and because it was really hot as well it wasn’t pleasant and really tested my anxiety at some points.
For our cooking class, we made three meals which were a starter, a main, and a dessert. The starter was a fresh mango salad which was actually really yummy and I found myself eating it all. I liked the contrast between the sweetness of the mango and the bitterness of the lemon juice that we put into the salad. For the main, we made a traditional Cambodian dish which was sort of like a combination of a curry and a thick soup put together but wasn’t spicy which I liked. We prepared the ingredients in a big pot before we put them in bamboo leaves to be steamed and then at the end we just blended the vegetables to make the soup-like consistency. For dessert, we made again a Cambodian dish which I can only describe as warm rice pudding with oranges inside. Although, it was slightly weird having this sort of dessert warm it was actually that bad and I managed to eat most of it. We finished our cooking class mid-afternoon so we just headed back to the hostel where we all relaxed for a few hours. The hostel we stayed in was the Pool Party Hostel in Siem Reap which wasn’t bad at all for my first ever hostel experience. The beds were really comfy and I liked how they were double beds and the bathroom was clean which is always good. For most of the trip we were in rooms of two people, however, when we got to the island later on in the trip we stayed in a dorm for four people.
The activity that evening was a BBQ in the countryside where the rice fields are. To get there we took a Tuktuk which was around a 30-minute drive and I actually really enjoyed it as you got to see the transition between the main town and then the countryside. As you can probably imagine people who lived in the countryside had less money as they were doing lower-skilled jobs which paid less. The countryside was really pretty especially as the majority of it was rice fields. As it was monsoon season in Cambodia everywhere was bright green from all of the rain which made the landscape a lot prettier than if I had visited outside of Monsoon season. We headed to an outdoor location where they host local Cambodian BBQ’s. The location we went to is often used for engagement & wedding photoshoots. They had little wooden bungalows on the water which you could rent and have dinner there. For dinner, we had a mixture of fruit, dried fruit, frogs, and chicken skewers. It was definitely an unusual BBQ however, it wasn’t bad at all and I’ve had frogs before they taste just like chicken. It was really nice to have dinner alfresco however, I would say definitely bring mosquito spray with you because there are so many more mosquitos in the countryside because of the rice fields which were full of water from the rain.
After our BBQ we then headed to the night markets which was a great opportunity to get some souvenirs for family and friends. The night markets have all sorts of souvenirs and are a good place to practice your bartering skills. I always love a good market and I’m well known for buying souvenirs for my family and friends as I always think it’s nice to bring something back for them each time I travel somewhere new. I even got some gifts for my colleagues as they are a big part of my life as well considering I spend 40 hours a week with them it’s always nice to bring them something back too. We spent about an hour in the night market as by the time we had finished it was almost 9:00 pm so it was quite late and we were all tired. We then headed back to the hostel and I had a shower, chatted to some friends as Cambodia is six hours ahead of the UK so night time is a good time to catch up with everyone and then I headed to bed.