I think the heat & action-packed days have finally got to me! Sak left at 8am to return to Battambang and I moved to my new hotel - The Anise Phnom Penh - located just around the corner from the National Monument (above photo), in the heart of the NGO district, around noon. Fortunately my room was ready so I thought I'd dump my bags and freshen up before heading out into the city. I sat on the edge of the bed to change my t-shirt and woke up 4 hours later! So it feels a bit of a wasted day but I obviously needed the sleep.
After chastising myself for being such a lazy cow, I made my way to the main bookshop in Phnom Penh - Monument Books (they have my website on their homepage!) - where I enjoyed a very late lunch of sweet chai tea and a cream cheese bagel, whilst reading the Phnom Penh Post & Cambodia Daily newspapers. Whilst eating my bagel I received an sms from Craig saying he was going for a McDonalds breakfast . . . . I have been salivating ever since!
Tonight I went to the Meta House, a local art space/picture house (read: the only one which shows films in English) to watch a screening of 'The Killing Fields' by Roland Joffe. The screening room is open-air, located on the roof of the building and I sat and watched the film for just the price of an Angkor Beer (ie. $1) with the smell of frangipani trees and the stars twinkling above. I have seen the film countless times before but it was very emotional seeing it in the city in which the events actually took place.
One of the American photographers portrayed in the film - Al Rockoff - is a resident of Phnom Penh, returning here in the early 1990's, and he currently has an exhibition of his work at the FCC. His photographs, all black & white, are haunting yet stunning. He was in Phnom Penh the day the city fell to Khmer Rouge forces - 17th April 1975 - and, along with Sydney Schanberg, Dith Pran and many other foreign correspondents, was held at the French Embassy before being taken by truck to Thailand. Dith Pran was not so lucky and, because he was a Khmer citizen, he was forced to leave the Embassy, enduring four years of hell, before reaching the border of Thailand and eventually flying (with the help of Schanberg) to the USA.
I was going to walk back to my hotel but the film didn't finish until 10pm, so I hopped on the back of a motodup who took me the short distance for 1000 Riel (12p). I would have happily walked to my hotel but he was sitting outside Meta House and I decided to be lazy. I feel safer in Phnom Penh at night than I do in London. Mind you Sak & I did see a sign outside a club last night which made me laugh . . . . in the UK club signs usually say 'no trainers or jeans' but this one said 'no guns or hand-grenades'!