Post # 32 Phenom Phen

Day 38 1042 days to go. Distance: today 30km total 2060. As much as this place is one thing its just as much the opposite. And no I haven’t had a special vegetarian pizza for dinner. Phenom Phen is grand but grotesque with its polar standards of living. It’s huge with small pockets bustling with it’s own business and seemingly oblivious to the big city extravaganzas. it’s stimulating with its sensory overload whilst very confronting and personally challenging. It is truly beautiful in its locality and river front living but the live stock markets redefine cruelty. Here’s a story. I was in the night markets and stopped in the eating section where there were mats laid out to sit and have a meal. I thought it a great spot to blog but as soon as I sat I was approached by begging children. I told them no and they soon left but I saw their mother wave them back and they came and laid on the ground beside me displaying their desperate message. I left. Today has been an incredible day. Rube and I headed this morning to go find the supermarket and bakery I spotted on the way in yesterday. It turned out the bakery was this hub of bread products and local folk and vendors were buying bags of freshly baked loaves and bread sticks still warm. They were selling out of huge wooden crates and being topped up as quick as sold. I got amongst it and bought 10 for $1.00. The bag was so warm and the bread crusty yum. So I sat outside the bakery in my best asian squat position and ate one while it was hot. I must have sat there for an hour. It tuned out to be a bus stop or should I say a van stop for local folk traveling between cities. I have been seeing these vans on the road. The drivers are crazing one speed full throttle plowing the road with their horns. It turns out these vans are alternative intercity transport. So out front of the bakery was the van stop with vendors selling eggs and pork rolls and sugar cane drinks to the travelers. It was fascinating to watch. I dropped Rube back at the guest house and walked to the central market (old and new). On the way I found the bus stop and bought a return ticket for Rube and I for Siem Reap Monday morning leaving 10am 6 hour trip. The guest house will let me leave the trailer and most of the gear which is great. The central market is under this large yellow domed building that takes up a block. All around the base is food markets and inside mostly jewelry, silks and clothing. I of course found the sunglass stand and bought a genuine pair of Oakley’s for $4.00 :-). I haggled I shocked myself I so don’t do haggling but I got the price down from $7 to $4. Actually to tell you the truth it wasn’t the sunglasses (which are pretty cool) or the price it was the fact that she said please please buy and I did….sucker! My glasses had broken with a pair on order from home so they’ll do the trick in the meantime. Plus it was a really nice experience so had to have a photo with the sales girl she was so sweet. Outside in the food stalls this woman was squatted over a tray selling that vegetable Ive been seeing drying on the roadside. These had been steamed and I bought couple of pieces to try. She peeled and cut them up for me. It was a cross between a turnip and a sweet potato very starchy and gave me that sense of indigestion but tasted good. She was very shy for the camera but eventually agreed. I also saw a woman selling beehive pieces which smelt intoxicating and skinned frogs in a basket crazy variety. The block over was the new central market in a tall glass domes building. I checked it out for the view from the top. It was bazar on one side looking out to the river the apartment living was quite good standard most buildings 3-4 stories high with garden terraces. On the other side were dilapidated housing blocks. There was a roller blade rink at the top and I watched these guys for ages doing their tricks and having the best s stacks. The next market was called Orussie. It was totally mad. there were no tourists just locals and lots of them congregating and shopping and eating. This market was raw I loved it allot more interesting and the right side of dirty stinky intrigue. Heaps of dried meats and fish which had an overbearing smell being indoors and in such concentration but looked incredible all crammed in different shapes and sizes hanging adhoc in every bit of shop space very cool I loved it. There were also lots of spices and herbs it was a really interesting market and fun to hang out. Tomorrow is the Russian market which reads as the best one for getting lost in so i’m doing that first up in the morn with a fresh head to get into it. At the bus stop I saw a high pressure hose being used to clean the buses so I took Rube their this arv for a clean. Unfortunately she’s spotless but i’ve mucked up the alignment of her gears bugga so that’s also a job for tomorrow. Thank goodness for Barnets Bike manual. It’s come to the rescue a couple of times now so money well spent already. I hope to end the day doing a walking tour I read in a book which finishes on the river front and I may be able to find a picnic posie over dusk. Tomorrow evening will be uploading photos I found a cafe not too far up the street so a good job before heading to Siem Reap Monday. Talk soon x

Published by shecyclesolo

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.' H D Thoreau

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