Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cambodia Day 1 and 2

I arrived here on the 6th very late, so all I did then was find a hotel. I just picked somewhat randomly out of my guide book. Well, not that randomly. I chose one that was near others that were listed, just incase it was full.
I've been staying at the Indochine Hotel. It is okay. The first night, my room was quite small, up a back staircase to the first floor rooms (room 103). It had air-conditioning, a fan, hot water, etc. Okay for $10. But NO window. I ended up sleeping until 9 (which was fine as I didn't get to sleep until around12). I probably would have woken up much earlier if I had a window!
Then next day I changed rooms, to one of the bigger ones upstairs on the 2nd floor. As there was someone still in the room with the window, I still have a no window room. Still $10, but bigger than the last one (there is more furniture and the ceiling is about twice as high). A room with a window costs twice as much, and there are only 2 in the hotel, I think. I will stay there tonight again. I had planned on changing hotels today, but last minute decided to stay where I was. I will go up to Siem Reap (or, at least, that is the plan) tomorrow. When I do return to Phnom Penh, I'll find another hotel.
The VISA problem is getting sorted out, sort of. My school will send the document to me. They already talked to FedEx and figured out how long it would take to get here - about 3 working days. Fine. They also talked to the embassy in Cambodia and were told that it takes only 2 days for the VISA processing here. Good. So I can get it all done in my last week here (they will have to send it next week).
Almost my entire day yesterday was spent trying to figure out the VISA situation. Ugh. What a waste of a day. I did manage to check out Wat Phnom around sunset. It was okay, but not as good as I had expected. The most interesting parts were the cats that were everywhere and the monkeys down the back side of the hill. As it was getting later in the day, there weren't as many people there, and the children that I have heard are usually there following people were not there. Only a few legless/handless/what ever mine victims sitting along the stairs up, asking for handouts.
Every where I go there are guys calling out asking if I need a moto or a tuktuk. A moto is just a motorbike with an extended seat meant for passengers. Generally, men sit normally, women sit sideways. No one wears helmets. They don't go all that fast, as it isn't really possible, with the number of vehicles on the streets and the fact that every intersection is unmarked, cars, tuktuks, motos, bicycles and pedestrians all going at will. Kinda fun, actually. A tuktuk is a little motorized carriage (like a motorbike with a trailer almost). There are also cyclos, which are bicycles with big seats on the front where the passenger(s) sits.
Yesterday I saw a little moto with a family of 5, all of the children looking under 5 years old. Kinda scary.
I had dinner at a fairly large restaurant along the river, about a block down from my hotel. I think it is called the Riverside Bistro. They have seating both inside and out. I sat outside near a little stage where a woman was playing a xylophone type instrument. My mango juice was quite nice, although not as nice as in Eygpt. The Khmer fried rice with chicken was very good. I sat there for a while. I was startled a couple of times, both by a rat. I jumped when it first ran under my table to the next table, and then back again (no one else seemed to notice, especially the girl whose feet it stopped at). Then a while later, I really jumped as it ran in again OVER MY FEET. And then back out again under my chair. I suppose it was nothing unusual there.
There was also a fairly large frog/toad that crawled out from under the wicker chair at the next table. Kinda cute, actually. It crawled out and then back under again. A while later, it crawled out again, across the ground, under my chair and then into the plants that were next to me (between me and the street).
When I got tired of sitting in the restaurant looking at my guide book, after stopping in at a net cafe to check my email and make a couple of phone calls, I decided to check out a little cafe/bar that was on the corner of my block. The Metro looks fairly posh. My Raspberry Mojito was nice, but a bit chunky. It had crushed raspberries, chopped lime, shredded mint leaves, some sort of raspberry liquor (I think), and white rum.
I had never sat in a bar alone before. Can't say I like it.

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