Phnom Penh

I had heard both good and bad things about Phnom Penh before arriving, and after having stayed a couple of days; I can say that I didn’t really like it. It’s not a relatively big city, but it seems dirtier, grittier, and a lot more “raw” that some of the other capital cities I’ve been to. We arrived late afternoon on Sunday and wandered around the city getting used to our bearings. We toured the National Palace, which was really quite interesting. The king used to live here, but today it’s a big attraction, and mainly holds a wide variety of Buddha statues in both silver and gold. The different buildings are all very ornately decorated and one of the pagodas even boats roof tiles made of silver. We grabbed some amazing fruit smoothies just outside the palace for a buck. A little cart was parked on the corner and had a variety of fresh fruit smoothies. These ended up being a serious addiction during the rest of our Cambodia excursion. I have to say the dragon fruit, followed by avocado, and then pineapples are my favorites. For just a $1 it was hard to get only one. They were that good. We wandered through the central market in search of an elusive Cambodian desert called Num sang khya l’peou. It is pumpkin that has had the seeds removed and then been filled with coconut milk, egg yolks and sugar which is then steamed. It more or less turns into a creamy custard. It was really quite good. We went and visited the killing fields and a genocide museum the next day. It was incredibly horrifying, and somber experience. The Cambodian people have been through so much, and reading about the genocide and fighting against the Khmer Rouge reinforced their desire that many spoke about, which is moving on, and preventing it from happening again. Its reassuring to know that they have such a strong desire to forget it. We finished up out last day by heading taking a ferry to the “silk island”. Many of the families here still produce silk scarves, skirts, and other items, and it was very cool to drive through the villages, wandering around their houses, seeing these old looms work, and the silk being spun by hand. Of course it started raining worse that cats and dogs. It was more like whales and elephants. We continued wandering through each hut hiding from the rain picking up trinkets and some silk scarves, before heading back to Phnom Penh, and a taking bus to Siem Reap.





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