12.11.2011 - 16.11.2011 28 °C
The first time I came to Cambodia, I was traveling with two cousins. We saw Angkor Wat, I came to Phnom Penh for the day and we flew out. I always meant to come back. I am a fan of Slow Travel, it takes time to fully explore a country and years sometimes to earn the respect and friendship of the locals. Then there is the language! If ever I find a genie in a bottle, my first wish is that I understand every language in the world which should speed up my travel quite considerably as well as deepen any interaction along the way.
Anyway Phnom Penh seemed quite chaotic when I first came here but in those days my point of reference was a nice tidy kiwi village or town. Now I am fresh from a six month jaunt in India and Phnom Penh seems so laid back and quiet that I am surprised to hear other travelers talk about the chaos. Sure there is the usual Asian style traffic as water; cars and tuktuks and motorbikes fluidly seeping and sweeping through small gaps. There are the families extending their living space onto the pavement and the random motorbike on the footpath but all in all, Phnom Penh is charming me with its laid back city style that is something almost like island life.
Even better, the food is tinged with a relic of their previous French Occupation, there are baguettes and almond croissants, lemon tarts and coffee that leaks over the border from Vietnam and the sea food is so fresh that the fish are still leaping and splashing in the market.
I did a bit of a reccie on the weekend to see what was nearby to the city, while I am enjoying city life for now I know I will soon be yearning for some real sanctuary, a place where I have nothing else to do but write and work at my craft.