the grand bazaar of cambodia is how henri mouhot, french naturalist and ‘discoverer’ of angkor, described phnom penh, the capital of cambodia in 1863. he wasn’t very complimentary about it really but this little phrase just so perfectly encapsulates for me the buzz and activity that still characterises the city today. the image above is one of the first sights i saw from our hotel balcony.
we came here after being in battambang for five days. chris had been sick and we just needed somewhere to chill for a week before our flight home. on our first night we stayed in an average hotel by the river. but after settling in and walking out on to the balcony in the late afternoon, we admired the beauty of the riverside and the people taking their evening stroll, we definitely chilled.
phnom penh is probably not the first place you’d think of going if you want to chill but, from the second night, we holed ourselves up in a nice little boutique hotel with a pool and alternated lazing by it with walking up a storm in the city – despite the stomach bug i picked up on the third day.
we saw the royal palace; took twilight promenades along the mekong with hundreds of locals (a tradition left over from the french?); ate western food shamelessly in addition to local dishes; caught dozens of tuk tuks when we were too tired to walk; shopped at the markets; saw the crazy new developments by foreign speculators going up in some parts of the city; went to the museum; tried to drive a cyclo; checked out the backpacker area in boeung kak; had massages; hung out and drank cocktails in the colonial luxury of the foreign correspondants club; and just generally enjoyed the sights and being lazy.
i don’t know why so many of my film images are of bikes. i must have been fixated. i promise that i did take digital shots of other things!