Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Taste, Look + Feel of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Okay Boutique Hotel, made and decorated with old growth rainforest hardwood, one of Cambodia's prime resources. Classy, for sure, and the reason the area around Phnom Penh looks barren and brown.
beautiful interior of the "Okay Boutique Hotel"
Superstitious? No floor 13. 
The ubiquitous motorbikes of SE Asia whiz by you, missing you by whiskers as you traverse the streets. Most spew toxic and visible fumes, but hey, it's economical transportation.
Walking down the street you'll have to avoid the occasional pile of garbage, a combination of plastics, leaves, cardboard cartons, dirt, and bottles. In fairness, late at night, at least in the commercial districts, a man comes and manually scoops it between two large flat metal plates and transfers the trash heaps into a garbage truck.
outdoor corner barbershop
crazy wires all crossing
independence monument

old woman at night market
here you'll get a more complete sense of what Phnom Penh is like/ feels like

night market entertainment
the palace of the the Cambodian King
I venture out at night. A few years ago the streets were nearly dark. It still feels a little eerie, but today there far many more lights. Progress.
I pass various lady-bars/brothels, a gaggle of scantily clad women wearing too much make-up trying to beckon me inside.
At nearby markets vendors hawk wares ranging from local fruit, breads, and fowl, to candies and cheap souvenirs. The Cambodian financial system operates on the US dollar. If you need small change from handing over an Abe Lincoln it comes in the form of Cambodian currency, which, when touched, has the feel of monopoly money but is an actuality, worth less.
Restaurants in prime locations of the capital cater primarily to tourists and government officials. You can eat a wonderful meal preset meal here at an Italian restaurant called Caravan consisting of appetizers, a glass of wine, a main course, and a scrumptious dessert for $12. Good luck getting that price back in the states.

While people seem generally friendly, there is undoubtedly a collectively felt trauma still present in the population from the genocide committed by the Pol Pot regime. Many of today's parents and elders grew up without families, forced into slave labor, witnessing atrocities, with nowhere to turn for help, a combination which rarely makes for a healthy mind. Sadly a gift bestowed upon the next generation.
Phnom Penh is not a must see, but if you do go, accept it for what it is. I'm doing my best.       

3 comments:

  1. Amazing.... really enjoyed ...thanks for posting and yeah ! keep it up ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. That isn't Independence Monument, it's the statue of King Norodom Sihanouk.

    ReplyDelete
  3. For all its faults I still love Phnom Penh!

    ReplyDelete

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