August 3rd, 2006

Day 10: The markets and Museums of Phnom Penh

Today was a relax day for Mateo and I. We headed into the city of Phnom Penh with very few goals in mind. I wanted to get some silk, and he wanted to get some socks and a hat. So we walked down to the Central Market first. Central Market is a beautiful large building that looks like a large open-air dome with for wide spokes projecting out of it. It is in a sad state of repair now, but we could still see the splendor of the place.

It is full of small stalls selling a variety of things, from raw meat to computers, kitchenware, and watches. Mateo found his hat and socks there, but I could not find the silk I wanted, having become obsessed with the stuff I found at the Russian Market a day earlier. So I convinced Mateo to take a Tuk Tuk with me to the other side of town and the Russian Market. I knew exactly what I wanted and where it was, so it took me no time at all to get it. Then we were off again.

This time we headed down to the National Museum and had lunch at a local place before going in. We had the most delicious thing: stir-fried bread. It was a piece of French bread cut in half with sausage (which we vegetarians removed :P) covered in a sweet batter and deep fried. It was SINFULLY good.

After that we went to the National Museum, which honestly isn't too impressive. There are a lot of pieces of Angkorian and Pre-Angkorian stone and iron work, but after going to Angkor Wat, it rather paled in comparison. Some of the iron work was really nice, though. The best part of the museum, perhaps, was the lack of tuk tuk and motobike drivers, beggars, and salespeople begging us for money and the such. On the streets here it is almost a constant stream of people calling after you for something or other. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, but it does get a bit tiring.

After the break we headed to a slightly upscale part of town and ran into a very nice used book store, which we stayed in for a good two hours. Finally, Mateo bought two books and we went off to dinner at a nice restaurant in the area that our guidebook recommended. It was the most expensive meal we have had yet at $4.50, but the vegetarian pizza we had tasted really good.

Then we got groceries for tomorrow morning and headed here, to our faithful internet joint with its 1500 riel/hour (about $0.28/hour) internet access.

Tomorrow morning we are off to the Cambodian beach resort town of Sihanoukville for the weekend, and then back to Thailand for the rest of the trip.

Until then, take care.

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