Phnomh Penh by day and dusk

I woke with a jump as my alarm went off, and trotted to the bathroom to freshen up. Then I collapsed back in bed for “five more minutes”. The next thing I know I heard Amy yelling at me and realised it was 6:20 and I’d not quite made it over to her hostel to help her with her bags. Sorry!

Despite the lack of sleep and the lack of lack of alcohol in my bloodstream, I managed to get everything tidied up and checked by the time the minibus to the coach station arrived. We’d opted for the expensive ($10) VIP coach rather than the $4 public bus. I’m glad as it meant I had a nice reclining seat and legroom to catch up on the missing Zs.

For some reason, the driver opted to put a Thai karaoke disc on the DVD player to entertain us on the 6-hour ride. The “free breakfast” consisted of a slice of cake which was very nice but hardly the full English my beer-sodden stomach was crying out for. We did stop after two hours at a cafe where we ordered noodle soup… and left almost all of it when the bus started to depart without us. It seems it was only a leg-stretch stop. Argh.

A couple of hours later, we stopped again and didn’t make the food-ordering mistake this time. Only we should have as we were there for twenty minutes.

Finally, at around 1pm, we pulled up in Phnomh Penh and fought (literally) our way through a heaving throng of tuk-tuk drivers to meet our pre-paid collection dude. Ten minutes later we were at the Sunday Guest House, booking another tuk-tuk for the next day and going through Lonely Planet for things to do in the afternoon.

A simple route was chosen and off we walked to see a few of the sites. In five hours we saw the Independence Monument (modeled on one of the Angkor Wat towers), Cambodia/Vietnam Peace memorial, Royal Palace (outside only), National Museum (same) and a fairly nice cafe where we spent a good long while out of the rain eating far too much nice food. Chicken and green pepper followed by chocolate cake and washed down with a banana shake. Mmmm. And all for $8 – quite pricey by Cambodian standards but still cheap compared to home.

After checking our emails and booking more hostels and so on, we walked back along the riverside and through a small park where a huge number of people were gathering, milling, chilling and relaxing. It was a truly wonderful site to see all these people just socialising at the end of the day. Kids played football, teenagers cuddled, adults browsed the handful of stalls which had appeared and we got pictures of several of the monuments from earlier in the day with nice lights all over them.

Phnomh Penh is a pretty nice city. A couple of days here should do it for us, and they’re going to be quite full as well. No time to waste!

We made it back to the guest house for the nightly movie – The Killing Fields – which I’d somehow managed to avoid seeing up until now. Even more amazing was that we were both still awake by the end of it. No reflection on the film which was a powerful piece of drama, but we were both wasted after the short night, long day and walking. Our beds called and we were more than happy to answer.

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