We ended up having a bit of a broken sleep due to an unknown number calling me at around 3am, and then Mollidy’s watch alarm going off for some strange reason at 5am. So when the real alarm finally did go off at 6am we were a little groggy, though showers and putting on freshly cleaned clothes soon woke us up, and we were downstairs with the rest of the group for an early breakfast.
After we had all eaten, we all checked out and at 7.30am our public bus arrived to take us on the 5 hour journey back to Phnom Penh. As I’ve said before these bus rides are becoming pretty easy to get through, so I don’t bat an eye at 5 hours anymore, especially when we had two stops along the way to stretch our legs and empty our bladders.
When back in Phnom Penh, at the same hotel as before, and even in our same room on the 6th floor, we decided to head out for a late lunch. We had heard many good things about FCC, which stands for Foreign Correspondence Club, which started out as a place for reporters and photographers to hang out, but is now one of the top places for westerners to head for great food and a very relaxed atmosphere.
We got some hot chips which Mollidy had been hanging out for, and our first pizza of the trip, as surprisingly pizza is everywhere in Thailand and Cambodia. After more than filling our belies, we went for a nice walk through the city where we checked out the royal palace, before going and finding one of the malls Mollidy had been to during her first visit to Cambodia in 2008. It was six stories high, but not very long, so we actually got through it reasonably quickly, and so headed down to the Central Market just down the road.
This was a nice indoor market broken into sections, but it was already 4.30pm by this stage, so some places had already closed and others were in the process, but we got a good 30 minutes looking around before heading out to walk back to the FCC where some of the group were going to meet for drinks. As usual we kept getting hassled for rides, but these days it’s barely an annoyance as you just wave your hand slightly at them while continuing talking to who ever you’re walking with.
We got to FCC and there were 5 of us for half price drinks during their happy hour between 5 and 7, and Mollidy had few cocktails and I even found a New Zealand cider, and seeing as I had been hanging out for one, and it was a hot day, and we had an awesome view of the Mekong River, it felt very appropriate to down one, even though Moa cider isn’t my favourite back home.
After the drinks we went out for dinner at a place called Friends, which was an organisation that helped street children learn skills such as making various items and working in restaurants. So the place was filled with staff, some wearing t-shirts saying Teacher and others Student. The service was nice, but a bit slow, though considering what we had experienced so far in Cambodia, and the fact this was a teaching restaurant for poor kids, this wasn’t really an issue.
After a nice dessert, as Mollidy and myself were still full from our late lunch, and some nice tapas the others shared, we went next door to the shop part of Friends, where we could buy lots of different hand made items, all created from recycled material and made by the kids and their families. It’s a great initiative, and though I didn’t buy anything as I still wasn’t in the frame of mind of buying items to carry around for the rest of the trip, Mollidy did get herself a pretty cool new wallet.
After that we headed back to the hotel, and Mollidy and myself just chilled out in our room watching TV and playing on our iPads, and as we had an early start the next day, at 6.30am, we decided to have an early night, but that didn’t go to plan as we didn’t really start trying to sleep until closer to 11pm. So it was a good last full day in Cambodia, and tomorrow we head off to Vietnam!
One thing I wanted to touch on in this blog was the issues with gangs or maybe more accurately, the possibility of gangs and their activities. This has become especially noticeable in Cambodia, and more so in the beach town of Sihanoukville, where I started to notice what looked and felt like a level of western criminality, with Aussie and Russian gangs the most likely.
Now I saw maybe, because you never know who they are or what they do, but these guys just gave off an aura of badassary, and I had neared some parts of Thailand are controlled by the Russian mafia, so you never know. So my advice, with both foreigners and locals, just be respectful, keep your head down, and try not to mess with anyone.