09.12.2012 - 09.12.2012 33 °C
Uncharacteristically for Cambodia in December, the weather forecast says it should be raining for the next three days. This would, of course, be annoying. Having said that, the temperature has not dropped below 33 degrees and despite it being semi overcast, there are no signs of rain.
Set on having a chill day, after a relaxing morning with a paper, emails and an overly salted omelet, Nicola and I headed to Gloria Jean's coffee for a deliciously blended strawberry freezer and some decent air conditioning. It's the small things in life. Next destination was the Russian Market, where I hoped to get another pair of these comfy backpacker trousers. Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of green and blue coloured trousers, which left us feeling dehydrated, exhausted and yet empty handed.
For some reason, whilst our yesterday's walk was much longer and more strenuous, today proved to be a bigger challenge. Abandoning our mission 'town', after a couple of hours we headed back to the guest house for a couple of hours chilling, before heading to a local kick boxing match.
Making friends amongst locals is handy for several reasons, and one of them is the ability to draw on their knowledge of local 'cool' venues. Saturdays and Sundays are hosting 4pm matches and we have just managed to get ourselves a tuk tuk to get there.
Bumping into a fellow guest house resident whilst waiting for our tuk tuk, we soon managed to convince him that kickboxing on Saturday afternoon is what Phnom Penh is all about. Plus it makes the fare cheaper and generally, when it comes to hitting the town, the more the merrier.
The venue is outside the town in a TV / Radio studio. Driving through rural areas, we passed a number of bamboo houses on stilts decorating the banks of a nearby pond. It was a nice touch of the past way of living. Children were running around and playing football whilst stray dogs kept sniffing whatever piece of rubbish they could get to.
The studio was already busy when we arrived. Finding a cool spot amongst the locals, we settled in for a four match / five rounds each entertainment. Although we spotted a couple of other foreigners, it goes without saying that we did attract a fair amount of attention as two white women. Still, everyone was hugely friendly and soon we felt at home.
Not quite understanding what the moderator was announcing, we patiently sat through half an hour of Khmer talk, before the first two fighters finally got on. The atmosphere was fantastic and I soon made a new best friend with a local teenager who was supporting the same (winning) colours - red.
The quality of the fighting was getting progressively better with each new pair taking the scene, and at the end of the evening we have witnessed some excellent moves. Whilst I am not someone getting out of my way to watch live boxing, this place is great and I will definitely be back in one of the weekends I have here.
Even though the match managed to temporarily distract us from feeling hungry, with the final bell I was positively starving. Fortunately, our tuk tuk driver was ready to go and so within half an hour my order for noodles with vegetables was firmly placed and I was settling in one of the comfy chairs for a spot of reading.
One of the advantages coming with age is the confidence to admit I do not fancy going out every Saturday. I chose to exercise this prerogative today and so after a great but tiring day, it is time spend an hour or so with Mr. Fitzgerald and 'The Great Gatsby'.