I wake early for some reason; the sun is up and very bright. Off to breakfast, sitting outside in a lovely covered terrace, coffee good as is the omelette with chili and tomatoes.
I walk outside the heat hits me, wow its hot today and squint trying to see if I can see JB. He’s not about, so I get another slightly older gentleman. He is very polite and I show him my brother’s address, he nods and off we go, the same route past the American embassy and downtown. I really enjoy watching people as we whizz through the packed streets. People wave are very friendly and always seem to be smiling.
As we make our way I notice what I think is a Costa coffee shop in the distance. I look again and yes it really is a Costa coffee, I ask my driver to stop, not really believing what I’m seeing. Bloody hell, its really is a bonafide Costa. I ask my man to wait he nods and smiles. As I get close 2 workers are parking cars in full Costa uniforms for punters. The door is opened for me and the place is spotless, the staff are immaculate and smiling. I order and am told to take a seat, the coffee will be brought over. Within in a few minutes my perfect, yes perfect Cappuccino arrives, with a selection of sugars. I re cap in my mind, parking attendants, door opening, table service and probably one of the best coffee’s I had ever had. This is impressive stuff. I survey the shop its full of young, obviously well heeled people really enjoying a coffee. I take a few pics and get back into the Tuk Tuk.
By the time I arrive at my brother's apartment, he says $4 I say $3. In the end I give him $5, so he’s very happy.
They are still in bed and the cleaner lets me in, slightly bemused. She can’t speak English; my Cambodian is limited, in fact non-existent. He emerges, and gets dressed, time for lunch he says, its only 11.00, but first I want you to meet a friend of mine, he’s a chef, he booms.
We leave the apartment and drive a couple of streets and walk into what looks like a dingy corridor. At one end is a glass wall like a shop front and in we go. His friend appears and we all hug each other. I think my brother spoke to him in Nepali, than in English. It transpires this is a great Indian restaurant. My bro explains I’m the chef brother he has been telling the chap about. He’s over the moon and brings beers. Next plates of samosa’s and more food, I struggle as I only had breakfast 1 hour ago. I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings so forced them down.
We say goodbye and merrily head off into town to see the Russian market this time. Just as we get close, the Jeep starts making a loud grinding sound, and as I look out behind, there is a long stream of oil. Oh dear….. I tell him to stop, he does, and we push the vehicle to the side of a shop. He’s not happy now and starts to get angry. He calms down and calls Noel again. He will send one of his workers to collect.
We head into the market again past many food stalls. A waft of putrefied fish hits me, its grim. The fish part of the market is fascinating but does stink. I see many fish and have no idea what they are. Dozens of dried fish including shrimps and what look like eels hang everywhere. Baskets of crabs, their claws bound with brightly coloured ribbons are everywhere. Lots of cuts of pork or a sort of wild boar are next, crawling with flies whilst ladies sit cross-legged, on the stalls trying in vain to swat them away. They look bemused when I photograph fresh pig’s brains and cuts of meat, then break into a toothless smile when I smile at them. We head deeper into the market and walk past tiny stalls crammed full of motor scooter parts, tyres and cooking utensils. You can literally buy anything here its amazing. We move onto t-shirts 4 for $8 and you haggle that price?? Next stop fake watches, every conceivable make or brand all looking pretty impressive. The young girl calls me over and asks me which watch I would like to see. I say to her Rolex, and she produces some 8 watches, all looking very convincing and only $15 dollars each. I laugh and mischievously ask her if they are real. She laughs and says ‘Noooooooooooo, but I have customer who buy one and it still work after 2 year’ and laughs out loud. ‘I give you bruddy good deal’ she enthuses. 3 for the price of 2 she explains, I say I need to think and will pop back, she wishes me a good day. My bro is nowhere to been seen and me and his wife Antoinette head off to find some jewellery for my girls and wife.
I buy a few shirts and then look for my bro, who’s like a small child with an attention span of about 2 minutes. Eventually we meet up, have a beer, he’s happier now the Jeep has been towed away to be fixed, or nicked as I remind him.
Lunch now and we tuck into braised aubergines with sweet tomatoes and spices delicious. Quickly followed by fried rice with fried eggs and Morning Glory, perfect!!!!
By the time we finish the wind is getting up and my bro predicts a storm brewing. Its very overcast, almost dark.
We hail 2 Tuk Tuks and I go back to hotel they go home and we arrange to meet later. I get back to hotel, and flop into bed, pointless going to the pool as its now raining hard.
At 6.30 showered and changed I head out again, no JB so head into town in another Tuk Tuk. The restaurant is called the Lost Plane and really is out of the way. Like normal he can’t find it and Antoinette comes to the rescue again. Its in a dingy part of town with no street lights.
The restaurant is owned by an Aussie chap my brother knows and we meet some friends of my brothers. The chef by his own admission is an amateur cook but the food is far more than amateur. I really enjoyed garlic confit to start with, and my main of sweet pot roasted belly pork, soft, perfectly cooked and seasoned. Puds were okay also and I had perfectly acceptable cashew nut and caramel ice cream.
One of my brothers friends feels ill so we all leave early, me in a Tuk Tuk back to the hotel. At the hotel I run the nightly proposition and politely decline, much to the amusement of my driver who tells me ‘All girls are good here’