Monthly Archives: July 2013

Wednesday 3rd July Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Who has two thumbs, missed his flight, and is covered in sewage water? This guy. But today I have learned a couple valuable lessons about sticking to plans and getting around Southeast Asia. Never wait out the rain and never get out of the tuk tuk.

The day started off great I had a nice Indian food breakfast and met up with my friend Jess for coffee and deep thoughts. After she took off to buy bus tickets I decided I would hang out at the coffee shop for a couple hours until it was time to head to the airport.

tuk tuk, rain, Cambodia, Phnom PenhAround four hours before my flight it began to rain heavily and I thought “no problem, I can just wait out the rain.” Wrong, wrong. It rained for a solid hour and as soon as it let up I got my bill and started moving toward the airport with plenty of time. No sooner was I in the tuk tuk than the rain started thundering down again. Within minutes there was a foot of water on all the roads. A few minutes later two feet. The tuk tuk could barely make it through the now engine high water.

As the water continued to rise, we came to a particularly deep river/road that we had to cross. Only it was not meant to be. The engine of the tuk tuk went totally underwater and died. As we sat in the newly formed waterway, the river/street continued to rise. A giant SUV passed us by and caused a wave that lifted the tuk tuk up off the street. Water came in one side and out the other as we started to bob. I thought for sure we were going to capsize.

Phnom Penh, flood, rain, Cambodia, rainy season

flood, rain, Phnom Penh, CambodiaPhnom Penh, Cambodia, flood, rain, seasonrain, season, flood, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I got out of the tuk tuk and helped pushed it back to dry land. While wading in the street/river, I became joyfully aware of all the things other than water floating about. Not so sanitary. After a twenty minute wait (trying to get water out of the engine/gas), we tried again. Twice more the driver tried to cross the waters only for the engine to die. On the fourth time we made it across and up to a high road. Unfortunately we went straight into a giant traffic jam. I arrived at the airport at 5:40. Alas, my plane left at 5:05. It had taken us more than three and a half hours to get six or seven miles. In the end, I was able to get another flight, took a train home, and showered for an excessive amount of time.

Also, my Thai came in handy on the train. When I heard two women snickering about what was surly a very unpleasant odor coming from my clothes and person, I was able to apologize and embarrass them a little. And isn’t that what learning a language is all about?

Tuesday 2nd July Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia, food, street, Phnom Penh My last full day in Cambodia already! Well, at least it was fun and I saw a bit more of the city. Jessica and I hit the markets in the afternoon and sort of ate our way across town. We tried some delicious street foods again. Yeah.

Russian Market, CAmbodia, Phnom PenhThen we spend quite a long time walking around in the covered market looking for cool clothes and collectables. We were also trying to avoid the torrential rain that was flooding the streets.




Vietnamese, coffe, Cambodia, Phnom PenhI also had a chance to once again drink a delicious set of iced coffee and tea, the best in the city according to a plaque signed by “three Danish coffee lovers.” The older man running the stand had been in business there since 1980 which is actually pretty amazing especially considering the history of the period.

Monday 1st July Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Spinach, Dosa, Cambodia, Phnom Penh

Pretty slow and easy day here. I got up a little late and walked around the corner to a great Indian food restaurant that I have been eating at a lot. It seems like many Indians from Tamil Nadu and Kerala live here, so the South Indian food is great. Wat, Buddha, cosmic, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

After eating breakfast, I walked around the city for a while. I went to a big wat that way focused around Angkor stone monumentalism and the cosmic Buddha. I am not sure why the cosmic Buddha is so much more popular here than in other places, but it seems to be. Coffee, Cambodia, Phnom Penh

I went to an expat coffee shop that caters to the white, wealth, and sometimes snobbish coffee drinkers about town. I have to say it was good coffee though. I continued to get my caffeine on throughout the day as most small snack meals and street food come with unlimited tea if you go to the right spots. Cambodia, housing, old, Phnom Penh

After walking around for an hour or so I found myself in some of the older housing projects that are starting to disintegrate even as they continue to be inhabited my many many people. While in the area I picked up a bunch of sour cherries for a street vendor and proceeded to eat them all as I walked around.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Cherries

Perhaps it was not the best idea to eat a pound of unwashed super ripe sour fruit, but in the end (no pun intended), my stomach was only mildly distressed. Nerd, Night, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In the evening I went to a local bar that was hosting “nerd night,” where many expats, young academics, and NGO workers meet to present on their topics of interest. I watched my friend Jessica give a great Pecha Kucha  talk about the golden age of Cambodian film. Pretty fun night out really.