I’m in Phnom Penh B*?!+

You wouldn’t believe where you were as you walk down by the riverside in Phnom Penh, especially in the evening… Loads of people just relaxing on the riverside, with tons of bars and restaurants lining the strip. The crowd is mixed with many locals admiring the views as well as tourists and what appears to be a high volume of ex-pats who definitely seem to be enjoying the Cambodian lifestyle.

The real fun kicks off around 6-7 o clock and the place really reminds you off South Beach in Miami! An exercise class kicks off on the riverside walkway!! Yeup, that’s right, a random dude sets up his speakers and off they go. Passers by join in but there were quite a few people who looked like they had come specifically for the exercise routine!! And then come out the breakdancers… Like a G6, like a G6.. Admittedly not the best dancing, but still amusing to watch.. The little kids near there were even better!!

At the same time, we thought we’d check out the fishing boats which were chilling out on the river… And what better opportunity to perv on some little kids who were very photogenic… So we (ok I – Rishi pretending he didn’t want the photos) took a few photos of kids playing using the powerful zoom on our camera. Knew it would come in handy one day! Lol

My real aim was to catch the ladies who wear pyjamas as normal daily clothing. Now, you may think that this is a rare occurrence which is why I didn’t get a photo, but in fact its a very popular choice of clothing for the ladies in Phnom Penh!! The only reason I couldn’t get one is when you stare at them in their rather unusual choice of clothing, they stare back at you!! Odd ei?

We did however get pictures in yet another market… But it wasn’t very nice because they had poor live lil chickens just lying on the floor pretty much on top of each other, waiting to be sold and then…hmm… I was wondering why they weren’t moving around much but Rish has explained they were probably sedated! One little chicken tried to move and then the little girl watching it just smacked it on the head!! Hmm

Ok there is more to Phnom Penh than the above ‘interesting’ aspects… The main ‘attractions’ are; S-21, the school where people were prisoned and tortured under the Khmer regime from 1975 to 1979; the killing fields, where over 20,000 people were killed; the National Museum and the Golden Palace!

(I have a separate post for the Khmer regime related visits).

Now be warned if you go to the Royal Palace, make sure you wear long trousers and a t-shirt that has little sleeves at least. A scarf to cover your shoulders is not allowed but is ok to cover your legs!! Grr.. So if you don’t have the right clothing you have to buy an attractive t-shirt with a big picture of the palace on it. So, you may be able to tell that I was distressed at having to buy this silly t-shirt, but grr, it was sooo blatantly just to make money.. Anywho, the palace is very grand and beautiful. Huge elaborate crystal chandeliers in the main central building with opulent materials used for decoration. Around one of the courtyards, there are paintings all the way around the walls which tell the story of the Ramayan. There is also a pretty large Bhudda statue made of Emerald in the Silver pagoda and my favourite Bhudda statue made of Gold and encrusted with over 2000 diamonds!! That’s my kind of praying. 🙂

The food is surprisingly varied here too! After trying the local cuisine, yummy veggie amok (mitan’s suggestion), noodles and veggies, we went to check out Dosa corner on recommendation from Hinal! It’s a cute little restaurant near the Independence monument and the road we renamed Linkin Road, because it looked just like the Mumbai street! The food compared well to home… Rishi wanted to order everything on the menu, but we had to restrain ourselves.. I’m certain we are coming back broke and fat!

The adventure begins… ooh forget that, I spy a market…

Woohooo we just finished the first 2 days of our 120 day (and more) adventure ALREADY…and still it hasn’t sunk in that we’re going to be away for so long!

We started out in Bangkok, which is somewhere me and Anj have been to before, so we decided to make this our chillaxing part of the trip to get over the jet lag…we stayed in siam square in a super modern and clean hostel (thanks to super anj’s incredibly detailed research)

The last time I’d been in Thailand I was like 13 or something small, so seeing it with new eyes, I couldn’t help compare it to India with the little tuk tuk rickshaws driving around, lots of market stalls everywhere you go and plenty of noise around the city (even though India probably wins on that front hands down!)

Now as sad as it seems, No we didn’t see the lying Buddha statue and nor the golden palace, as we both remember them pretty well…

Instead we pretty much spent the WHOLE time in the markets and the malls!

The malls, Siam paragon especially, are major high end malls (it even had a Lamborgini show room on the top floor)…this was slightly out of our price budget for this trip!…so we window shopped and then left.

That left the markets…we were told by our favourite guide, the old discussion forums on trip advisor, that china town is a must visit!

So we scootered down in our very metro sexual pink tuk tuk! To be honest, when we reached we were a little disapointed, but then again don’t know what we expected!

Loads of shops on the main road consisting of gold shops and small Chinese restaurants selling shark fin soup where to be honest none of us veggies would risk even entering.

However the tiny side streets with their market stalls was amazing just to see…loads of little stalls selling handbags, jewellery, food, t-shirts and other small trinkets etc…

This is where the WARNING sign comes in for the guys traveling with their other half…we then ended up at two further night markets in Siam and Patpong (very famous) selling similar stuff…

For the ladies though, Anj will testify that she preferred the markets in Siam for their fashion!.. Luckily for me, many of the clothes were too big for her! Phew!.. Me, I preferred the variety of home stuff, t-shirts etc at patpong, even though it is part of the red light district, where we had people trying to sell us on sex shows! Not good unless your into that sort of thing!

Well overall Bangkok, even if it has been mainly shopping, has been loads of fun with some great Thai food too! A good way to start the trip… Yum.

Now as we sit on the bus on our way to our next stop…Cambodia I wonder what’s in store for us there…can’t wait for us to reach! Another 5 hours to go…and that’s just to the border!

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