Back to Phnom Penh
Jan 16, 2012
|(Currently writing this from Siem Reap where I arrived last night.)
I came back to Phnom Penh on Thursday for three nights. Originally I was planning on only one night here, as a break between two long bus rides. You have to go back through Phnom Penh in order to go up to Siem Reap (where the famous Angkor Wat ruins are located). Actually this is not quite true. While in Sianoukville, I discovered that a local airline just started offering flights directly from Sianoukville to Siemp Reap.
Actually, I had a second reason to be back here: get back together with my new friend Ra (Dara) the bartender I met while at Sary's guesthouse last week. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go read (re-read) the last paragraph of my entry from January 7.
I didn't do any sightseeing during those 2 days, having seen everything I wanted to see in PP last week. Instead I went shopping for clothes and bought myself pants and a pair of sandals. Then I prepared for my onward move to Siem Reap. I also saw Ra every night. I was exhausted. (Fortunately I caught up on my sleep last night in my wonderful new room in Siem Reap.)
I took very few pictures during those two days as I wasn't doing any sightseeing. I'm posting pictures of a few street scenes and things I found interesting. The last four were taken from the window of the bus on the way to Siem Reap yesterday, showing the very basic life in the villages of Cambodia.
A few pieces of trivia:
* Despite the low standard of living, everyone seems to have a cell phone (at least in the cities).
* A tuk-tuk driver told me that his vehicle cost him $1700 new. (That was probably at least 5 years ago).
* A ride on a tuk-tuk generally costs between $1 and $4. They act as the public transport in a country that has no public buses or trains.
* Most Cambodians are young (less than 30) due to the civil war and ensuing genocide in the 70s. When I saw somebody that looked to be in their 50's in Phnomh Penh, I always asked myself if they used to be Khmer Rouge... a very real possibility since the Khmer Rouge were recruited very young, from 14 to 25 or so. Today, the ones that survived would be in their 50s or early 60s.
* Phnom Penh's streets grid pattern (designed by the French) makes the city a lot easier to navigate then the "scattered noodles" street pattern I encountered in KL and Melaka.
* The Khmner (ethnic Cambodians) put ice in their beer! Shocking at first but not a bad idea in this hot weather.
Price of things
* 1.5 L water bottle: $0.50
* Mug of local beer: $1.00
* Main dish (Khmer food) in a restaurant: $4-6
* 230 kms by bus: $5
* 1 hour massage: $10 or less
* Guesthouse/small hotel: $10-25