Soaking up the relaxed atmosphere of Phnom Penh, getting hit on by super friendly locals and struggling to take any good pictures
19.01.2013 - 20.01.2013 33 °C
Conscious of slacking a little over the last few days, I am back and ready to report for duty. To my defense, contrary to most of my fellow volunteers who are continuously complaining about having nothing to do, I am busy. And that means work busy and social life busy. I do accept that the meaning of busy has relaxed significantly since I left the western world behind me. Still, relatively spoken, I am really busy. And I might also be becoming tiny bit lazy.
However much I want to ignore it, my stay in Cambodia is slowly coming to an end, and my volunteering placement is taking the first hit. Last weekend was the ‘volunteering break’ weekend and from next weekend my status changes from volunteer to traveler.
With hole in my budget and three weeks left to travel around Cambodia, I forfeit the opportunity to join one of the many groups heading out of town to Mondulkiri, Siem Reap, Sihanoukvill or other popular destination. Instead, I chose to stay in, get my hair done and roam around Phnom Penh with my by now battered SLR.
Saturday morning was a decision point for me – to walk or to cycle. Keen to take pictures, walking is much better but also quite slow. Cycling, on the other hand, giver more coverage but means that by the time I stop, things change or I am simply not able to stop my bike because of the stream of traffic ushering me forward. After serious contemplation I chose cycling.
Unfortunately, as predicted, I was not entirely successful at getting good shots. The best (and the only) pictures were taken from a table in one of my coffee stop breaks when a couple of local kids came around to sell bracelets. Fortunately, my quest for a good manicure and hair colour was much luckier, so by the time my stomach started requesting dinner, I was sorted.
In the morning, chatting over a plate of fruit, I met a Slovak couple on a year travel through Asia and South America. It is not every day I meet Czechs or Slovaks and keen to indulge in talk in my native language, I invited them to join me in the evening heading out for a drink. With only few people left in the guest house, we boarded a single tuk tuk and sped through the traffic to Sharky’s for a night full of cheap beer and pool.
It was nice having a small group instead of the usual crowd and without noticing the evening flew by. At 2pm most of us started to feel the need for a food top-up and so leaving the bar, we managed to find a last open pizza place at the corner of otherwise completely deserted street. This marked the end of our evening and we all agreed that a weekend without the Heart of Darkness or Pontoon is quite refreshing.
Sunday went in a similar mode and instead of sightseeing, I pottered around Phnom Penh, sampling different coffee shops, reading my book and soaking up the leisurely weekend atmosphere. The highlight of my day must have been a middle aged Cambodian man who joined me whilst having a coffee and through a very roundabout process propositioned me if I would like him as a boyfriend. Hmmmm – maybe not. But thanks. Clear sign it was time to seek the safety of my budget guest house.