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Tales of Cambodia: The Phnom Penhultimate Night

continued from here

Phnom Penh is the heart of the new Cambodia. A sprawling, gridlocked city that hides its beauty. We stayed at the Mad Monkey where we  met some Dutchmen, smoked a few joints, and ate lunch while watching Judge Dredd.

In the good old days, guys like us would take a tuk-tuk straight to "Lakeside". Lakeside is where everyone goes to get drugs, get drunk, and get fucked (PROTIP: The cake cocaine is a lie. It's heroin.). That was before 2009.

This seedy shithole is now a sandy shithole, as the lake has been filled and development is in progress to rout out the riff-raff. All the fun has scattered with the rats to other parts of the city.

In lieu of the good story that I didn't get from Phnom Penh, I'll give advice instead. If you want to meet other backpackers and have a great time, best to find a busy hostel and stick with it. There are many hostels in PP, and many have their own bars. This is good because if you need a cheap, whore-free place to drink, it's right in your face, but bad because the social scene is so decentralized. If I come back to PP, I'll go hostel hopping day and night to meet new people. Mad Monkey and Velkommen were two hostels on the top of our list, and I was very satisfied with everything about Mad Monkey.

Keeping Death In Mind


March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.

I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.

I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.

I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.


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