Phnom Penh: Hot nights by the river

After a temple scouting detour in Siem Reap we returned once more to the Mekong.  We met Chanthou at a corner cafe on the main drag along the river.  It was immediately calming to see a familiar face.  Chanthou invited us to her beautiful house in the outskirts of the city where we dipped in the pool, listening to the lizards cooing, and ate our first home-cooked meal in months.  We stayed in her empty downtown apartment overlooking the river, each night fighting the day’s heat trapped inside.   Like an unwelcomed guest, moving from one corner to the other, the hot air was pushed around the room by an over-worked ceiling fan.  Tepid midnight showers proved useless.  The heat would subside slightly in the early morning only to be replaced by the noise of wakened traffic on the street.  Our sleepless nights left us lethargic during the day.  Our time in the Cambodian capital was brief and somewhat blurred by a transitional moment in our trip.  By then our days felt numbered and we were anxious to get back to the coast to dive one more time before returning to our land-locked home.  We spent the better part of two days in an Internet cafe, figuring out exactly which coast.  Would it be Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, or further south to Malaysia?  We decided to head back to Thailand, this time going south to the islands on the gulf.  Unable to penetrate Phnom Penh’s urban reality, we allowed ourselves instead to be charmed by the riparian edge, favorable for tourists, sipping gin and tonics, going to rock clubs, and, in typical fashion, stuffing our faces with spicy delights.

urban temple

on the streets

Russian market

tin fantasy

iced tea

ripe for the picking

in front of the Central Market

Central Market

Central Market

Central Market

Central Market

riverfront

lunch, of the Mekong variety

awake, too hot to sleep

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