Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Surviving Phnom Penh

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In Phnom Penh, anything goes. That is when you’re on the road.

Because we only have two days here, we decided to rent bikes again and ride through the city to see more of the daily life. The traffic is like nothing I have seen. Almost got my left foot run over by ruthless motorbikes twice yesterday. There is traffic coming and going from every direction. People do not obey traffic lights as a rule. It’s chaos.

Walking along the busy street beside the river is mesmerizing. Makes you think of France, although you wouldn’t see as many monks walking by, sun-darkened street children selling questionably-safe-to-drink bottled water, desperate tuk tuk drivers hollering at you from every corner. We’ve definitely seen a lot more fried bugs being sold as snacks than during the beginning of this trip.

Wendy has earned a new nickname. It’s the Toilet Paper Burglar (sort of like the Hamburglar from McDonalds). Because we’re staying in somewhat of a roach motel (it’s really not that bad) and the bathroom never has toilet paper, she has resorted to stealing toilet paper everywhere we go. She’ll get this look in her eyes as we eat dinner, finish up, go into the bathroom and come out with a whole roll in her bag. It’s hilarious. Do they have support groups for that?

Anyway, we went to a place called Friends The Restaurant for dinner last night. Not your typical Kmer restaurant and they really just serve tapas as opposed to super traditional Cambodia cuisine, but honestly, what a great concept for a food establishment. The staff consists of former street children taken in to be cared for, mentored, and educated and trained to become part of the Friends staff. Re-integration with their families and communities is this NGO’s key objective. Good food, good cause, excellent service from the attentive staff. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Check it out if you’re planning to go to Phnom Penh. (We went on a Saturday night and had to wait only 5-10 min. with no reservations.)

We’re meeting back up with Nate in Siem Reap tomorrow. Looking for a photography workshop and possible homestay in that region since my visa for Vietnam isn’t valid until Dec. 11th. Wendy leaves for Phuo Quoc on the 2nd, so it’s goodbye soon.

*Here are some of the photographs I took at the Killing Fields outside of Phnom Penh and at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Somber settings and reminders of the dark past Cambodians have had to endure…

Written by winniewongsf

November 29, 2009 at 1:04 pm

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