Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our Arrival in Phnom Penh

We were pretty excited when we hit the tarmac in search of our plane. We had heard a lot stories and received advice from numerous friends who've been to Thailand before but we really didn't know what to expect in Cambodia. We didn't have much time to think about it though - the flight only took an hour.
We thought Thailand was a hot place until we arrived in Phnom Penh. The sun was just beating down on us the whole week. There was dust everywhere being kicked up by the millions of motor bikes ripping around the unpaved roads. We felt like we were in the Wild West. It was really beautiful though. Our hotel, The Blue Lime, was fantastic and was located right beside the Grand Palace and the National Museum. We decided our first stop that evening would be at the museum to take in some of the relics and artifacts rescued from Angkor - to learn some of the history and let it all soak in.

It was really awesome to see all of the famous stone sculptures in person and the atmosphere was highlighted by the numerous monks wandering the grounds. There are many monks in Cambodia now but most of them are quite young. Many of the elder Cambodian monks were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime in the '70's.

All of our photos here were taken from the centre of the museum. We weren't allowed photos inside the museum itself but they were allowed out in the courtyard.

Here's a view of the museum from the park across the street. We were headed towards the Tonle Sap river just past where it meets the Mekong.
The crowds were out in full force - everybody was enjoying a beautiful evening by the riverside.
We even saw 'Sam Bo' the elephant being walked home after a hard days work at Wat Phnom . . .

The streets of Cambodia are truly an amazing sight. Lawless. People riding anything that moves in any direction and at any speed . . . ladies riding the back of the motos 'side-saddle' . . . mothers holding babies in their left arms and steering bikes with their right. It was especially fun trying to cross the street here.

These old French Colonial buildings were all over the city - it was really strange to see the French influenced architecture in such a 'foreign' city - and even stranger were the fresh baguettes that were being sold by the street vendors between fried insect carts and banana stands.

Our long walk by the Tonle Sap River led us to a small carnival so we popped in to check it out. Funny, we were in a 3rd World country and the rides looked to be a comparable standard to those Conkiln Midway ones that travel around Canada. I gave the balloon-dart game a whirl. I hit 2 out of 3 and the Cambodian bystanders laughed at me - no prize. Check out the prizes though. Cleaning supplies and household items . . .

We stopped by the Phnom Penh night market before retiring for the night and Shawna had some sugar cane juice in the food court.

This photo is a bit dark but it shows you what the food court looked like. "Save me a seat over there!"

Well, it was a long day in the heat and the dust of Phnom Penh so we went back to the Blue Lime for a dip in their gorgeous pool.
The night photo doesn't do it justice. It was pretty sweet . . . Here's a couple from their website:

Yeah, we were livin' in style in Phnom Penh - this is what 40 bucks a night'll get you!

See you all soon for some more action in Cambodia's Capital City.

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