Bleeding (in) Phnom Penh

One of the three children's hospitals in Phonm Penh

One of the three children's hospitals in Phonm Penh

Not a real lot to write about today, the first of three days’ forced residence here. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad place. There’s just little for me to see and do having been here twice before. The city is changing, though. At the end of Ph 258, where my guest house is, a cinema is being built. I’ve not seen or heard of one in Phnom Penh before.

Supermarkets also seem to be more common, and there’s the KFC I mentioned yesterday – where I confess I headed for dinner again tonight. It’s one of the cheapest options around here that doesn’t include rice!

I am currently passportless as I handed said document in to the Myanmar embassy. The form-filling was easy enough (first time I’ve been asked for my hair colour, eye colour, height and “complexion” though), and not an eyebrow was raised when I left the “Address in Myanmar” field empty. They even told me to pay the $20 on Friday at 4pm when I go to collect it than immediately.

As ever, I carry photos around and it’s a good job as I needed three for this application. I’m running low so that may be one of my jobs tomorrow. Another contact sheet would be useful.

To give a better idea of how to find the embassy – locate the Independence Monument on its roundabout along Norodom Boulevard. Head south from there until you reach the Pre-School Teacher Training Center on the right. You can’t miss this – it’s very big and had playground equipment visible through the bars. The Myanmar Embassy is the very unassuming and almost anonymous building just past it, set about 15m back from the street.

It was really quiet. A couple of guards, one clerk and a cleaner. A far cry from the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok with its constant flow of tourists.

I’m working on the assumption that I will get the visa, but I’m not booking anything for definite until I have it in my hands. Checking AirAsia‘s flights from Bangkok, prices don’t seem to fluctuate as you get closer to the chosen date so there’s no harm in leaving it. At the current rates, I can get there and back for around £130 depending on when I fly in and out. This is by far the cheapest route in other than perhaps the southern land border. However, that entry requires a boat and/or air trip to get north to the main part of the country as the road is closed to foreigners.

Once back in Bangkok, I’ll get the train to Kuala Lumpur. I was part-planning on stopping to go to Koh Tao as I hear the diving there is both top class and very cheap… but it looks like I won’t have time. Depending on when I return to Asia (and what route I use) from Australia, I may look at it then.

I have booked my bus to Battambang ($4) on Saturday morning. From there I can get a bus direct to Bangkok for around $10 which I will do on the Monday. This gives me a day to get a tour around the area which I hear is worth a look.

My only other major task was donate a pint of the red fluid at the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital nearby. This is my third donation (the last two in Siem Reap) and as ever the staff were very grateful. The nurse spotted my ratehr sore feet from re-breaking in my sandals and insisted on putting iodine on the wounds. I’d already put eucalyptus oil on them but you can’t be too careful.

I’m donor number 132 this year according to the counter on the wall. So I’m urging anyone visiting Cambodia… please, if you’re able to give blood then do so! You get a can of Coke and a t-shirt afterwards! Also a goodie-bag of other stuff. I was gifted with a can of condensed milk, some crackers, a bag of sugar and a bottle of water. I need to find someone for whom the milk and sugar will be of use…

Apart from that, the KFC for dinner and some more munchies purchased from Pencil (what a strange name for a department store). I’ve sat and chilled, chatted to a couple of the residents of the dorm and read my Conan Doyle book. The Lost World is certainly a cracking read!

It’s 21:10 as I type this up and no sign of the flying ants as yet. The lizards (eight of them that I can see) are gathering by the ceiling light so I think it’s only a matter of time…

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