Even though I have been in Vietnam for awhile, I still haven’t completed my posts about Cambodia and Laos. Which points to the fact, that maintaining this blog is hard to do, especially when you have someone (me) overseeing it who is undisciplined about setting aside time to do it. Ha. I wasn’t always this way. Prior to retiring early in 2006, I was the poster boy for “Workaholics Anonymous.” Umm, that guy has disappeared. Yeah, occasionally I can focus and go on a tear, but it all depends on the project I am working on. It also helps (not) that I have been sick with a low grade fever and sore throat. Consequently, I might as well do something productive with my time. With that being said, let me get back to what this post is supposed to be about, namely Cambodia.
One of the first places I visited while in Cambodia, was the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Phnom Penh. It is a public bar and restaurant which is located along the Tonle Sap River (sort of a tributary to the Mekong River). Most people refer to the club as the “FCC” or simply as the “F.” It is in a three-story colonial-style building with gorgeous views of the river. I found the food to be so so, but in my opinion, it is a must see stop for all tourists to Phnom Penh.
Besides visiting the the Killing Fields, I wanted to make sure I also visited the National Museum of Cambodia. I did this with my friend, Pisey. This museum is with out a doubt, the country’s leading historical and archaelogical museum. Unfortunately, it is a shame that the museum is in disrepair, as the last major renovation of this museum was accomplished in 1968. Specifically, some of the more delicate pieces, e.g., paintings, clothing, and similar items are being effected by the extreme Cambodian heat and humidity. Not to mention the visitors who attend the museum. It is an understatement to say that it was quite “suffocating and sticky” to visit this building during the middle of the day. I’m glad we were there in the early morning and only felt the effects of the heat when we were about finished touring the displays.
The museum is under the authority of Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The Museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and renovated in 1968.
According to Wikipedia, “The museum houses is one of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. The Museum’s collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during, and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam.” All in all, I found this museum to be a worthwhile visit.
While in Phnom Penh, I visited the largest shopping mall in all of Cambodia. The air conditioned Sorya Shopping Center complex has an area of 40,000 square meters – it has eight stories containing shops catering to the various needs of customers; including a grocery store, movie theaters, bowling alley, and an ice skate rink on the 8th floor. It was quite hilarious to see Asians on ice skates, most of whom were having a difficult time circling the rink. Hahaha.
Seriously though, Cambodia is probably the poorest country in South East Asia, so this shopping complex caters to the Cambodian elite and foreigners. I wish I would have brought my camera to this mall and taken some photos. The contrast between this place and the rest of Phnom Penh is significant. For example, much of Phnom Penh is unpaved. Moreover, much of the roads in Cambodia are in disrepair or not paved at all. My 6 hour trip by mini-van from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh was almost like taking a stage coach.
These are some other photos I took while I Phnom Penh . . .
Satia Budianti said:
Its good to read your post again! Short story about Cambodia, but it seems you enjoyed it so much. Keep writing and keep rolling! 🙂
Thank you Tia. Still a bit under the weather, so had plenty of time to write and upload the photos.
Satia Budianti said:
Yes, monsoon rain. Cute umbrella, you got to stick on it hehehe. Have fun!
Hahaha! Guess what? It is raining again.