Yesterday was Waitangi Day and that means only one thing here in Phnom Penh. Anyone who is a Kiwi or an Aussie or basically just a free loader heads down to Takmeo for Bryan Hasetline’s yearly Waitangi Hangi. Bryan is a Kiwi steel fixer and he has a whopping great big shed with a whopping great big yard and plenty of boys toys in it. Every year he digs a hole in the ground and loads it with 500kg of lamb, pig and sweet potatoes and the resulting feast is something else.
Leakhana, Phalla, Veasna, Vichea, Grace and I all trundled down to Takmeo at 3pm in the Jeep and the shed was soon absolutely heaving with many familiar people from the expat crowd. Kids of all ages were in abundance, the beer flowed (but not for me – driving and all that!) and by 7pm, everyone was starving and it was time to dig up the tucker. Thankfully that job fell to Randall, Will and a few other Kiwi suckers. It was hot, dirty work and it took a goof half hour of shovelling to uncover the steaming baskets below.
Dishing it out to the masses
The food was lifted out and manhandled to big trestle tables where it was then dispensed to the slathering crowd. Leakhana and Phalla ate their own body weight in meat and Veasna gorged on chocolate cake. The lamb was just amazing and was so tender it just fell off the bone. It was then a slow and dark ride back top Phnom Penh and sleep was swift.