Dan and Lu's Travels
Decided to walk down to the russian market, so called because the Russians shopped there in the 80s. It was only a few blocks down from our hotel on the map. We didn't realise how big the blocks were though.... and in the midday sun too. The market sold lots of western clothes, many are made in factories in Cambodia for western companies including Next and Gap. Dan bought a t-shirt, and I recovered from the heat. Got a tuk tuk to the Royal Palace as that looked about twice the distance as the market had. Don't think these are the real 'tuk tuks' like the ones in Bangkok. They are homemade looking things consisting of a motorbike pulling a two wheeled carriage behind it. They are all painted bright colours, usually red, yellow and green, and sometimes have the driver's name or nickname painted on the side. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are on the riverfront in a walled complex with lush gardens and shrubs. The Silver pagoda was inspired by Wat Phra Keo in Bangkok and built in 1962. The name is due to the fact that the flor is covered with over 5000 silver tiles. Although the Khmer Rouge destroyed or defaced many religious and cultural buildings they preserved the Silver Pagoda to demonstrate to the outside world its 'concern' for Cambodia's cultural heritage. The pagoda is lovely and the grounds are even lovlier, we were there in the afternoon when there was a fresh breeze blowing and it was a welcome respite from the dirty city outside. We went for Lok Lak at a restaurant nearby. Lok Lak is a traditional Khmer dish. Cubes of beef marianted in lemon and lightly fried, served on a bed of lettuce with onions, lemon juice, chilli and rice, with a soy sauce containing peanut. It was delicious, very refreshing and light. We travelled in a tuk tuk back to the hotel as the sun was setting. Went back to the heavenly bar, Elsewhere, and met a German girl who had crossed the border with us and her Australian friend. Flos, the aussie girl, has been working for the UN in Pnom Penh for the last 6 months but says she's looking forward to leaving soon. It must be hard to live in this city. Its very smelly as its so hot and the sewers are open in many places; you have to watch your step or you'll fall down them! It was interesting what she was saying about prices and wages. An expat (foreigner living here) will pay 3 times the local price for something but also earns 3 times more. She says she took a huge pay cut to come here but has saved money.