I consider myself a lucky wombat, as every birthday of mine for the past 10 years, has been celebrated in SE Asia. This one is no exception and a whole lot more fun than being at home or at work.
The day started as usual with breakfast and a swim, then out for our morning walk. We stopped by the hair dresser for Mrs Wombat and then walked towards the Rohatt Cafe for a nice coffee and bakery, (it is my birthday and all!!!). Sitting and watching the world go by was a nice way to plan our day. We were planning a quick visit to the Rehash Trash shop, which is a short tuk tuk ride from the cafe. Rehash Trash is a project turning plastic bags into fashionable products. There are 2700 plastic bags per person, per year, used in Cambodia, so this is a very good cause for a few good reasons, you should check out their Facebook page - 'Rehash Trash', for more info and to learn more about the Green Gecko Organisation and the great work they are doing.
We arrange a tuk tuk and off we go -10 minutes later we find the shop and the factory. The only description I could give to describe the next hour, would be incredible!
On our arrival we were greeted by so many people, including a bunch of Aussie ladies and a handful of local employees. I, (being the tall, handsome one and the only male), was quickly surrounded by women of all ages and then was whisked away by a lovely elderly lady, (I think she wanted to keep me)! She brought me back to Mrs Wombat a moment later amid much laughing and catcalling. We simply came to look at the shop, but within minutes we were on the floor, plastic bags in hand, learning the art of making a long crotchet chain using plastic strips and the art of crocheting plastic bag strips into amazing products like key chains, coasters and place mats. Our teacher was a lovely, elderly and very patient lady with the mist contagious giggle. Meanwhile, we forgot about our tuk tuk driver who was waiting for us! After an hour had passed, he came looking for us, we apologised profusely promising to be only another 15 minutes. As we were still trying to perfect our crochet, our tutor moved on to making us a necklace and key ring, ( think she thought we were so slow!) She showed us the finer details of turning plastic bags into something of beauty.
We finished our projects and headed to the shop to purchase a couple of items, a can cooler and a set of coasters, paid our $5 tuition fee and we were right to go. Our tuk tuk driver didn't miss the opportunity to ask if we wanted to visit the museum, temple.....etc, we politely declined and he drove us back to where we started.
We wandered back slowly towards our hotel and after all that plastic bag recycling, we had worked up an appetite. It was time for a green papaya salad and fresh lime juice. Watered and fed, we then continued back to the hotel for a read and swim.
The hours slipped by and as evening approached, it was time for my birthday dinner. I had decided on pizza and beer and I had chosen Pot and Pan as the venue , as I knew they did great wood fired pizza. Off we went, arriving just before the restaurant got busy. Ordered my first beer which went down well and swiftly, ordered our pizzas and watched the comings and goings of the restaurant. Our pizzas came out and were superb, served on a heavy round block of wood, they went down well. On to my third beer now and I was feeling like it was party time. I was contemplating another Pizza because I could, but Mrs Wombat talked me out of it, saying it was not good for my health, so I had another beer and ordered dessert. Unfortunately by this stage, the restaurant is absolutely flat out, people queued up outside and tables set up almost on the road. I had another beer whilst waiting for my dessert (banana split). When it became obvious that dessert was not forthcoming, I asked why and was told-" it would have taken too long to make and they didn't have time"!! Yep, we were a bit taken back, but you have to understand, (this is Cambodia and not a 4 or 5 star place). There is no point "sweating the small stuff"!! There is no dessert and that is that. I finished my last beer and headed off for the next event on my birthday.
5 minutes around the corner and waving off 5 more tuk tuk drivers wanting to offer us a ride, we arrive at the massage place, agree on a $5 foot massage comprising feet, legs and concluding with neck, back and shoulders massage. We head inside and make ourselves comfortable in the big, reclining, comfortable chairs and with 4 beers under my belt, I was ready for a snooze. One leg done and by the 2nd leg, I was out for the count, only waking when the massage lady tried to lift my leg to massage the calf. Now awake after a power nap, it was time for the dessert that Mrs Wombat promised I could have.
So this time we stop at the pancake cart, which was positioned conveniently at the front of the massage place and I order a banana pancake. These are actually a Roti, more than a pancake, small piece of dough, flattered out thinly and cooked on a very hot plate with banana chopped up inside, then folded and flipped.
All done and rolled up in a piece of paper, I hand over my $1 and we set off on our 10 minute walk back, ready to settle in for the night with a movie. Just to clarify, we did walk around trying to find other restaurants that offered banana splits, but alas, couldn't find any.
All in all a great birthday! ,