Day 15 – Free Day in Phnom Penh

9 Mar

Without a tour guide and a planned timetable things have gone to pot – in a nice way. Took an extended rest period this morning, and sauntered casually down for breakfast at 9:30am.

Decided not to join in with the others at that point and headed back to my room.  The morning passed quickly.

Did manage to book a ticket to scale the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, during the return journey.

Headed off to the Russian Market on a carefully negotiated tuk tuk. Walked away from the first driver as he wanted $3. Bargained the second one down to $2 and then ended up giving him $3 when I realised how far it was.  Traffic not nearly as bad as Vietnam, although there are more cars which makes you feel rather vulnerable in the 3 wheeled open sided tuk tuk. Lots of Prius.

The smells of Phomn Penh – rubbish on every street and 34°C = Phomn Pong. Being in a tuk tuk only meant that you couldn’t escape them.

The Russian Market was a covered area where they sold everything.  Originally the foreigners market (all Russian). If I thought the smells on the way were bad, try imagining an even hotter atmosphere with the addition of decaying animals (for sale) and narrow aisles.

It sold everything from bike parts to household items, cloth and souvenirs.

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Found a small child to fleece me for a flag.  Always feel better when it’s not an adult, as my lack of haggling skills suddenly become more socially acceptable, rather than embarrassing.

Also found some tacky fridge magnets. Boy oh boy, did I have some to choose from. Spent a total of 1 hour there, including the 15 minute tuk tuk ride each way. I don’t do shopping.

On the way back to the area around my hotel the $3 tuk tuk driver suddenly stopped and ran away.  I thought I had offended him with my sweating or farting but apparently it wasn’t my fault as he picked up his baseball cap from the road and returned most apologetic.

Went for a walk along the riverside.  Saw a fisherman in the river who seemed to spend more time bailing out his boat than actually fishing. Wouldn’t want to eat much from the river.

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Returned to the hotel to prepare for a massage.  Arranged with Amanda to meet at 4pm where we decided to go for the hotel offering. Up an outside staircase to two overly keen masseurs, one missing quite a lot of teeth. Guess which one I got.

Asked for a Khymer massage, got an oil massage. Now impervious to everything, which makes showering difficult. Got a bit more than I was expecting. Not overly relaxing, especially when she asked for the air conditioner man to come fixy fixy in the middle. Need to work on finding a place that does the Vietnamese version. Being called a monkey probably didn’t help.
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In the bar for happy hour, the group reformed and swapped stories of massage and their daytime tales.

Off for a meal, I ended up with a very decent pizza and a Phnom Penh Party cocktail (green). Some frank group exchanges led to group bonding on a whole new level.

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Stopped off for another drink after we hit the supermarket to stock up on the essentials for the 7 hour bus journey to Siem Reap tomorrow.
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Turned out to be an alright day after all.

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