Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Phnom Penh

Getting to the bus station we were assaulted by lots of frivers wanting our custom. Luckily we had our minibus handy and got to our hotel with the minimum of fuss.

Phnom Penh lies on the confluence of three major rivers, one of which being the Mekong. Looking over the river wall you see a lot of rubbish strewn around the banks, though this scarcely detracts from the splendour of the sight. The long street that follows this riverside is very much like a seaside esplanade and overall there is a seaside air to the place.

It was late in the day but we had been told that we would have time to get to the Royal Palace. Most of the others had money to extract from the atm so Annabel and I went on. She planned to visit the museum, I wanted the Palace so we parted ways. The Palace entrance, when I finally arrived, was crowded with touts and beggars and a soldier. Apparently there was a state visit organised and the place was shutting early, that is right then. A tout helpfully supported me in my attempt to get by the soldier and it was just as well as the Silver Pagoda, part of the compound but separate to the palace,was still open. What's more my ticket would get me in to the Royal Palace the next day if I so chose. I went in.

This was very similar to the temples in Bangkok only without the visitors. They even had an Emerald Buddha, a corollary to the one in Thailand. With more time, as fewer visitors, I was able to really take this in this time. For instance, one golden Buddha was studded with over 2,000 diamonds. There was a lot of wealth here, and beauty.

I took my time and enhoyed it all the more for that. Afterwards I walked out to a huge monument to the Vietnam-Cambodia 'friendship'. Very close by naked infants played around on less than imposing streets, but all in all this was a far cry from Laos' capital, Vientiane. This was a real capital city.


At 3:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many seafood dinners did you eat today then? Phil


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