The days in between

8 Apr

I’m not sure why tuk tuk drivers annoy me so much… I think it’s the fact that they seem so nice – I just want to say ‘yes’…. in a moment of impish naughtiness I nearly got one to take me across the street today. And it was only a small street. I now have the slight shake of the head down to a fine art.

So, some time to take in the rest of the sights of Phnom Penh. Just watching what’s going on is great fun – the little street stalls with people selling garlands for the car, grapefruit, popcorn, water, cane juice, lottery tickets… and street sales of petrol, tyre repairs and more. No-one has a freezer – everyone has ice delivered every day for their eskie. You can buy pretty much anything from a street cart – brushes, shave ice, keys, knife sharpening…

The markets are fascinating, if a bit smelly with all the meat and fish – although I haven’t managed to find A4 paper with punch holes in it – or a hole punch for that matter.

Thinking about the tuk tuk drivers – they seem to spend a lot of time just hanging around… there’s obviously far more tuk tuks than tuk tuk customers.

No need for a tuk tuk to visit the royal palace though – it’s just round the corner from my hotel. Not all of the palace can be visited, but it’s still very pretty. There are monks taking souvenir photos. There are hundreds of buddha images. The silver pagoda itself has hundreds of silver miniatures (no photographs, sadly). There are huge number of trees in pots. There’s music.  There’s a certain amount of consternation when the guide announces that the king used to be a belly dancer – we eventually realise that he meant ballet dancer.

And it’s hot. Really hot. April is in fact the hottest time of the year in Cambodia, and this snowboarder is melting. And check out the little kid in the middle of the musicians with his mobile phone….

Royal Palace (36)Royal Palace (34)Royal Palace (32)Royal Palace (29)Royal Palace (24)Royal Palace (15)Royal Palace (12)Royal Palace (5)

Nice, then, that the fountains had started working – I’d watched a little guy paddling up to his waist in the pool earlier in the week, and checked out the technology – so it was great to see it actually working with flip flops and catherine wheels, with rotating sprays and all sorts of hydraulic madness.

By the Vietnamese co-operation monument (12)By the Vietnamese co-operation monument (4)

In the evening, I took a walk down to the dodgier end of town to visit the Boat Noodle House, where I managed to order enough food for four (I only ordered two dishes, honest, but the appetizer seemed to be an appetizer for a family of eight).

So today, I thought I would go find a hotel with a pool and go for a swim.  Perhaps some exercise will help… if I don’t sink. Managed to bodyswerve eight tuk tuk drivers and a moto on the way, but it really is just across the road.

So, a lovely pool, a nice swim, a beer, and a chance to watch the boats on the Tonle Sap river, some of which I am pretty certain are about to sink.

Walk by the Tonle Sap (4)

And just to add to the decadence, I went down town for pizza and then a mojito at the old Foreign Correspondents’ Club which is a lovely old building overlooking the river, with lots of air and fans, and expats watching the world go by.

Last day in Phnom Penh though… next stop, Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat. Better charge that camera battery.

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