Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Yesterday, we arrived here in Phnom Penh after a long bus ride from Siem Reap (essentially most of the way from the Thai border to the Vietnamese Border). We saw rice fields, many different villages, and then arrived here in the capital of Cambodia. Interestingly, there are many beautiful pagodas visible from the main road as you drive along, which stand out due to their vibrant colors.


Sadly, the wifi at our hotel does not work on Apple products (Perry was stumped) so I wasn’t able to blog, but we headed to dinner at a top Phnom Penh restaurant and had some ‘fine dining’ Cambodian food for dinner: rolled pork, chicken, and beef, sauteed marigolds, beef curry, and fish prahock which is essentially fermented fish cooked on a fresh fish filet, served over fresh mango and uncooked eggplant. Again, the  waiter warned me and I chose not to listen; it would definitely be an acquired taste. We had Kampot pepper creme brulee for dessert though, which was accompanied by a sweet rice porridge and amazing jasmine ice cream.


This morning, we headed to the genocide museum which provided very graphic insights into the Khmer Rouge and horrific torture and genocide that occurred across Cambodia. They had two survivors at the museum selling books as well. I felt physically ill several times and had to leave the cells-converted-to-museum several times to get air; I can’t imagine surviving the horror that occurred there and returning daily.


Now, we’re enjoying lunch (vegetable pho with an avocado shake for me, and grilled pork with rice for Perry, at $2.50 each) before seeing more of the sights of Phnom Penh.


Update: After lunch, we ended up wandering Phnom Penh, seeing the Royal Palace, the National Museum, many markets, and eventually ending up at the lovely Raffles Le Royal Hotel’s “Elephant Bar” (famous for its colonial appeal), where we had high tea (except with iced coffee). That was a nice break while we tried to cool off from the heat and pollution.


Our high tea included a variety of sweets, including a delicious raspberry shortcake, chocolate mousse and eclair, two scones with jam and delicious clotted cream, and some ‘savory’ snacks such as a cucumber and rye sandwich and delicious smoked salmon and caviar bite.


For dinner, we went to a great Italian joint run by an Italian man living in Phnom Penh (fortunately, he understood our cash-related struggles and was able to accept a $20 that had an almost imperceptible rip in it that Cambodian taxi drivers had kept rejecting as they only accept “perfect” US dollars). It was a strong end to an otherwise very tiring two days of culture shock, pollution, and noise.


Update from Day 15: We’re in Bangkok and about six hours from arrival in Macau, so hopefully we’ll have some photos to share of the Portuguese architecture and food from later today on Day 15’s official blog later today.

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