As I’ve written before, Rising Sun Bar and Restaurant has one of the best iced coffee in town. (I posted last year about a street stall in front of a hang bai that also makes great coffee). They use a Vietnamese drip called a phin and triple brew it. In the evenings, ask for it spiked with Baileys or Kahlua. The Pho at the shop across Rising or at the corner guest house are average, but I was craving the coffee and just couldn’t do an English breakfast so I got a pho.
Things that keep a little boy happy through a night-time power cut
Cineplex theaters in Phnom Penh
We used to treat ourselves to a trip to Bangkok just to see a movie on the big screen. I remember we twice checked out the local Khmer films. They sold fruit instead of popcorn, which was nice. But the air con was poor, the sound quality was horrible, and conversations including mobile phone calls were rampant. Once, about halfway or more through the film, the reel unexpectedly stopped and they started it right back at the beginning. Only the three or so foreigners sitting in the theater looked around, baffled, while everyone else seemed fine with it. It was not the theater experience we’re used to.
But now we have two very nice cineplex theaters in the Penh! Seats are big, screen and sound quality is great, and they even start on time! Plus, moviegoers are strongly encouraged to turn mobile phones off or put them on silent/vibrate and attendants make sure everyone complies. We even got to see Prometheus in 3D. Offerings this week include nonstop action with Bourne Legacy, Total Recall, Spiderman playing at both theaters. They also have family friendly Brave and Ice Age 4. And I’m amazed to see The Dictator (Sacha Baron Cohen) here, at Legend. Check out the listings before you go:
Legend Cinema at City Mall
Veterinarian options in Phnom Penh
Got a dog. A co-worker gave me one of his puppies like it was an extra tomato from his garden. Since he started getting increasingly agitated as I protested, I just told him to bring it to my house – it was the middle of a workday, what was I going to do with it? Big mistake. He got a name, Iko. Hubby and our little loved him. So I looked for a vet.
Thankfully there’s a gold-standard in vet care in town (Agrovet), but for routine visits I’m not real interested in paying the high fees, especially after the poor service during puppy’s first visit there. Likely in the case of trauma or severe illness we’d take him back to this clinic (from comments on the Cambodia Parent Network it seems I should specifically ask for the main vet there, Arnaud).
Other friends seem happy with their local Khmer vets, and their pets (some are quite mature now) look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed healthy to me. So here they are, a list of Khmer vets recommended by other expats who’ve lived in Phnom Penh for many years:
(1) One person has been taking her dog to Navetco Vet Clinic for years 097 266 1191
(2) Three people recommended Sophorn, and I found this below on a thread on vets in PP when I googled: http://www.khmer440.com/chat_forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4231
Give this bloke a try: Sophorn 012824991
He’s a ‘proper’ Cambodian vet and as a bonus seems genuinely to like animals. It’s been ~2 years since we last had an animal problem that couldn’t be solved with benevolent neglect – so the number may be out of date. His house/surgery used to be in Tuol Kork…
above the railway line…
left hand side of the map…
at a pointy intersection…
… nah fuck it, can’t remember the address. Lucky the number was still in the phone. Sophorn was good value professionally and financially. He cleared up a nasty skin infection on the family mog and then gave him a neat testicular snipping to end his wicked ways to boot. Can’t remember how much we paid – but $10-$15 all for house calls sounds familiar.
Hell, for $200 bucks I would have done the cat myself with two half bricks.
Sophorn also has a dry sense of humour – after finshing a very nice job of making our male cat into a soprano, with all the family watching in fascination – he looked directly at my six year old son and said, “Right, who’s next?”
The poor kid didn’t uncross his legs for about a week.
(3) Sila was recommended by two people, including this below from the Cambodia Parent Network:
We are not in PP, but i still have a number for a very reliable vet we found. He also helped us with all papers we needed to travel with our dog.
His name is Sila and he comes to your house for extra $5, or you can go to his clinic if you like. I never needed to go there, but it’s around central market what i know.
His number is 012 477 686 and 097 198999.
Sokhamalpheap Animal Clinic
(4) Below, Wayne Weightman had his assistant collect info on various vet options in town. I know it’s a pet shop, but when I went in there to get the puppy groomed ($5 – it’s a small breed) many expats came and went over the span of 20 minutes shopping for various things, and when asked they seemed ok with the vet care they were getting there.
Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary
Desperately seeking green spaces in Phnom Penh?
Just 40 km outside Phnom Penh is a rescue center for injured or trafficked animals. There are over 80 species including macaques, lions, tigers, bears, gibbons and crocodiles – most are endangered, rescued from the wildlife trade. The sanctuary sprawls across 2500 hectares of protected forest.
It wasn’t as terrible as I expected (small concrete cages with animals pacing in the heat, going mad) and the handlers are quite knowledgeable. Tristan got to see many animals he has only ever seen in pictures. To boot, there are a lot of trees with shaded areas. They’re working on putting the crocodiles on a feeding schedule so that they can put shows on during the weekends like the elephants do.
We’ll be going back for another visit! The images above are from Keith Kelly’s photostream of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary. And Wildlife Alliance has great coverage of the animals and events at the zoo. Chhouk the elephant with a prosthetic leg was even featured on the TODAY show in the US back in November 2011.
Update Feb 10, 2014: We had a birthday party at Phnom Tamao this year, which was a great hit!
Toys for tots
We always have a ready list of items to look for on our travels, that we can’t find or don’t have a wide selection of in Cambodia. Toys were on that list this year. While home we looked for toys that’ll engage the little boy’s imagination longer than the immediate learning phase. And I’m not a fan of the plastic battery-operated trinkets with obnoxious bright lights and noise. I remember the toys from when I was a kid which had a lot to do with being creative – like blocks, tinker toys or legos. So one of our great finds is this Zany Zoo wooden activity cube. It’s sturdy and bottom-heavy (at 9kg/19lb this little boy can pull himself up on it without tipping it over), thoughtfully designed (rounded corners, bright colors, dense with a variety of activities), and very attractive. And I love the rest of the B. line of toys – great philosophy, great designs, lovely products.
We cabin-checked this toy through all flights from New Orleans to NYC to Phnom Penh. Thankfully all the flight attendants and crew were very accommodating.
That said, there are actually some options in Phnom Penh for quality toys. [Read more…] about Toys for tots