We have returned to Phnom Penh, our first visit since 2011. We have come to see our Khmer "son", John Black who we first met in Sihanoukville in 2008. He is now married to Sokney and has a three year old son called Jesdar and another baby due in two months.
His family is not the only thing to have grown since we were last here. Phnom Penh in in hyper-overdrive, like the rest of Cambodia, driven by Chinese investment such as over 40 casinos that now dominate the once-lovely Sihanoukville.
Much of PP is a dusty building site with massive condominiums going up everywhere and massive developments and ringroads encircling the city. The air is choking although, unlike Bangkok with its own terrible pollution and smog, no-one here seems to bother wearing a mask. More than 60% of the population is under the age of 25 so the next generation will surely suffer the consequences.
We managed to find a little oasis in the form of The 252 Hotel on 252 Street, mainly patronised by the French and with a most lovely little pool and garden overflowing with mango trees.
On our arrival in PP, we were met by John Black who took us to see his wife and child some 25 minutes drive from our hotel. This involved him driving his 125 scooter with BOTH alan and I perched inelegantly on the back and clinging for dear life whilst he negotiated traffic that was a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Night of the Living Dead ... the main "rule of the road" seems to be he or she that sticks their neck/car/scooter/articulated overloaded lorry out first has priority - eeeeeks!