around the ‘hood with a visiting friend

Here’s my street, we live a block off the Royal Palace. It’s everyday scenes like this that you never bother to take photos of until a friend comes along and captures everything you don’t blink twice over anymore. To the left is a tuk-tuk, riding the line to his left and back is what they call here a cyclo, and practically most people travel by some form of motorbike here.
Every day monks walk around the neighborhood collecting alms (this is one of the stores downstairs). Since the Khmer Rouge decimated the elder ranks, the religion’s influence has not gained its previous legitimacy and credibility. Respect for monks and the solidarity they fostered before the conflict era have been largely eroded.
Time for some tours around the city! This is what I get when a journalist friend is visiting. LOTS of photos of me. And yes, I know these huge sunglasses are horrible fashion bombs, but they’re great for tuk-tuk riding cuz short of goggles they keep everything out of your eyes!
The Independence Monument Plaza, view from Sothearos Blvd. See the cranes in the background? Phnom Penh is under constant construction. sigh.
D was an inspiration to me long ago with her wanderlust. Everyone back then thought she was a nut (me too, secretly!). Of course now we both envy our friends the stability of life and family and community when our lives are anything but. But connecting in different parts of the globe once in a while brings us back to what matters and what brought us out on these paths in the first place.
In a city growing up so fast, these bicycle vendors selling kids’ toys brings memories of olden days. They’re still numerous on the city streets, particularly where people like to gather at night in the new plazas.
Those of you who saw City of Ghosts (2002) with Matt Dillon might recognize this guy. Ian ‘Snowy’ Woodford is an old fixture in the Phnom Penh ‘hoods from the UNTAC days. He’s now running a bar / gallery across the Tonle River from the city.
The Phnom Penh skyline! Naturally you must have a healthy imagination to see it ;-) D and I rented a boat ($16/2hrs) and cruised the Tonle River. Brought a bottle of wine and some desserts. I always forget to look up at the night sky whenever I’m in cities. PP is sufficiently small that you can get a glimpse of some stars. But out on the river- wow.

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