Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Phonm Penh

Phnom Penh
Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010
I wanted to write something to explain what we're doing, which is to admit to not doing a lot of touring, and to share some photos I've taken over the past few days. I was laid low for two days with some sort of stomach crud so my sightseeing, such as it is, has been restricted even more. Plus, I have an irritated eye that I need to deal with today. One of my contact lenses got torn somehow and it took  a whole day for it to orient itself in such a way that I could get the biggest part of it out of my eye. However, seeing as my eye is still irritated I assume the missing piece must still be in there somewhere. Albie can't see anything in there so I'm looking for relief from that. My GI tract is back to normal and I feel good and well rested. Some background follows.

On Sunday Feb 28, I wrote in my journal:
The days have been hot, the nights cooler, so we've generally been staying out pretty late when it's more comfortable. Because of that my tendency is to hang around in my air conditioned hotel room during the warmest part of the day.  At around noon today Albie texted me to say he had made some plans for the afternoon so I decided to take a little ride on the moto.  I stopped first at a large circular park not far north of here. Turns out it was Wat Phnom, the legendary founding place of Phnom Penh.  The large stupa in one of the photos that follow contains the remains of King Ponhea Yat (1405-1467). There was a ceremony of some sort going on in an adjoining temple with tons of incense burning on a sort of raised dais. People were constantly lighting small bundles of incense to add to what was already burning. The temple pulsed with exotic music, drums, some sort of bamboo xylophone and bells. I desperately wanted to shoot a video or at least take a few photos of the ceremony but didn't want to offend the worshipers. 

After leaving there I rode out Sisowath Quay for a few miles dodging motos and potholes and looking for a way to see the river that I knew was just off to my right. However, any river views were blocked by multitudes of small shops and houses that crowd this busy street. I did get a shot of the riverside a few days ago and include it here to give an idea of the situation. I took a peek at my GPS and decided to take a left turn in order to head back on a different street.  I have a free Garmin compatible autorouting map of most of SE Asia loaded in my computer and on my 60Cx . The major cities are covered pretty well and are fairly accurate as far as I can tell. However, Udon, the city in Thailand where I started out last month, has very little detail so it's sort of hit or miss. For a free map though I've no complaints. I paid over $100 for my genuine Garmin Europe Streetmap and it was far from perfect. By the time I got back I was happy to be in the the hotel and out of the blazing sun. While riding I can stay reasonably cool but when waiting for a light I start to sweat.

After I got back I took a short nap in my room. I even managed to watch a bit of tennis-- the Malaysian Open.  But when I woke up, all of a sudden I realized I'm feeling ill, my stomach hurts and I have the runs. Albie called me to go for dinner and I did go out for a half hour or so. I had a beer but no appetite really so I left him and came back to my room. Something I ate? Hard to tell, but I'm feeling pretty awful.

After sleeping the clock around I arose Monday morning feeling quite a bit better although still not back to 100%. We went  shopping for a spare cell phone for Albie and I picked up some tangerines and bananas, the bananas to help steady things in my GI tract which had been in such an uproar yesterday. By the time dinner time rolled around I was feeling fine. We start every evening at Happy Phnom Penh Pizza on Sisowath Quay. Here are a few photos of the view from what I'll call "Albert's table" at Happy Phnom Penh Pizza. They offer very good seats with this river view along with 60 cent Angkor drafts and excellent food. I had fried fish with caper sauce tonight. And remember the Happy Pizza I mentioned in an earlier entry? I did try one the other night. It was a tasty pizza but I didn't detect any marijuana in it. Albie's electric moto is the blue one, my Honda Dream rental is red.


Back to Tuesday: Later we'll return to the Thai Embassy to pick up our tourist visas. Then tomorrow we'll probably head down to Sihanoukville on the coast to take in the beach scene. Albert is trying to set up a taxi run again. It will cost more than a bus ride but will be ever so much more comfortable and convenient.  I have avoided the beach scene in Thailand because of the heat down south even though I want to hook up with my friend Joe. But from Phnom Penh the Cambodian beaches are an easy trip so I'll get to experience at least a bit of the beach and salt water on this trip.  We'll spend a couple of days down there and then head back. To Thailand? Back here? Who knows. But next time I visit SE Asia I'll come earlier in the year when the weather's more temperate. During my last moto ride I talked with these kids who were selling lotus roots. I didn't want what they were selling but paid them 300 riels for the photo.

Here's a self portrait shot in the blue light of my hotel room. I'm doing okay so far, for an old geezer, LOL.