After four and a half months of travel Cities in south-east Asia are starting to look the same. A Royal Palace, an impressive temple or two and a mausoleum. I’m not complaining at all, I am fully aware of our fortuitous situation and the last thing I want to sound like is another disgruntled ‘traveler’.
I digress. Arriving into Per-nom Pen (Phnom Pen) the Capital city of Cambodia it would be at this point obvious to point out that I was keeping my expectations low. If I were ever to suffer from “Home sickness” then the city is perhaps the perfect medicine for the said “illness”. From all the travelling I’ve learnt that you are never far away from an Indian restaurant or an Irish pub. With my expectations low the realization that a beer and a British interpretation of the word curry was on the horizon my expectations rose. It would perhaps be a good time to point out that a British curry is very different to an Indian one. It took an evening in Bangalore to find out the difference between curry that I had grown up with and the curry from India. Ordering a Rogan Josh and being told that Josh wasn’t working at the restaurant anymore, I soon realized I was in new territory but Indian restaurants everywhere else bar India are of a familiar kind for good or worst.
I have digressed again haven’t I?
The Royal palace was nice… it was half closed or off-limits and when it wasn’t ‘nice’ it was a little frustrating, it did house the largest fish I’ve ever seen in a pond but the rest is a blur. The temples were on the way to a medicinal curry and so there was no time for another helping of the City’s culture.
We squeezed a trip to the killing fields and the S-21 prison into one day. It was a tough day, physically and emotionally, it was heartbreaking actually but I wouldn’t advise doing both in one day if you have the days to spare.
Per-nom Penh also offers a ‘Russian Market’ and a Central one as well… Average would be an overstatement but Michelle did manage to get some nail polish remover in one of them, I forget which one… it was that exciting.
Phnom Penh didn’t exactly win me over but Cambodia stole our hearts, we LOVE Cambodia and the people are incredible. If you were to wander into this Country without being aware of their history you would find it hard to believe these people survived a genocide where a third of the population was murdered. I don’t want to get heavy here so I’ll just point out that the people are always smiling and if you were to just turn up to Cambodia you could almost have no idea of how much these amazing people suffered. We would recommend a little research before you arrive in the Country ‘First they killed my father’ is a book that would give you a better understanding of their suffering and there are many more books that would make you appreciate a certain place and give it a lot more meaning.
I have been getting a lot of messages from friends asking me where they should plan their next holiday and the answer instantly without thinking is Hawaii… I’m joking obviously, Cambodia offers something for everyone and we’re already planning a route back. If Hawaii is out of season of course.