Interesting Times Between This and That

I had wondered about getting done with the 4 months of exploring some of Cambodia and then getting back to Phnom Penh for a few weeks. I spent a month here in September seeing the city but this time is different. I have a set of things I want to do around the city. Like today I’ll get my hair cut and beard trimmed at the Tokyo Barber Shop after visiting the Aeon Mall for awhile and then walk back to the hotel in the afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll get over to the camera shop to see my friend Johnson there and then visit the Central Market for awhile and also see the neighboring shops and stores. The area around the market is a huge shopping zone here in the city and there are upscale shops, little neighborhood stores, souvenir places. In case you are wondering, there are lots of food and coffee places too. Many people stop while investigating the market for a latte or frappe or a smoothie or something or carry it with them through their shopping tour. I went to the Russian Market yesterday which is smaller but yet so diverse on what it offers. Both markets are fun to visit and there may be some overlap in that you can find decent clothing or backpacks at both but since the Central is bigger the chances are you will find more shops that have certain things. For food, I like the Russian Market better inside. There are some really good food stalls to stop at there!

The Tokyo Barber Shop to me is the place I would always go in Phnom Penh to get my hair cut and beard trimmed. I just trust them and they have a really nice customer ethic there. It costs a bit more but I feel like I’m worth it and I enjoy the time spent on the massage, the hair washing, detailed cutting and beard trimming. From there I’ll walk home which will take about an hour so should get back in the later afternoon and will have a few hours until dinner. Last night I had beef fried rice down the street which is always good. The meal with the beer was $3.60. Tonight it may be Dumplings down the street or BBQ. By tomorrow, I will probably be ready for a dinner downtown somewhere. Perhaps pizza at this place I know or even Mexican food. Its easy no matter what to get a Grab tuk tuk to wherever.

I don’t have a set agenda or places I have to go so the time is spent more in relaxing and unwinding and doing less besides the walking each day which is not optional. Phnom Penh is one of those cities of neighborhoods where one is almost without tourists but if you go down a bit you will find tourist zones all over and ex-pats lining the restaurants with their drinks and stories. I’ve met a few now and again. I did meet this person at the hotel which no matter how I tried I could not get him to go out to eat at a local place. He would only eat the food from Pizza Hut or the hotel or a place that does dumplings down the street. I had wanted him to go to BBQ his last night and enjoy something different but he feared getting sick. He is leaving today and I feel sorry for him more than anything else. It must be terribly hard to travel in Vietnam and Cambodia and not eat the food or be continuously fearful of eating. He told while in Vietnam he would not eat at smaller food stalls or even established restaurants that had Pho or Bun Cha. I gather he would only eat at hotel restaurants or upper class places. He also would not try the coffee in the coffee stalls for fear of the ice in the iced drinks. I can respect it all and understand. Its his life though and I think when people get older (like me) they get more fearful of change or trying new things and it can really limit their experiences in places like Southeast Asia. You don’t have to just do street food however when I got back to the hotel I did do their vision of Banh Mi sandwiches which were good. I don’t do street food day after day though. I like to have changes so will eat different foods depending on how I feel. 

I hope he travels safely to Australia if he goes there. I would not wish to be like him but I understand it. Its another reason perhaps that its better for me to be on my own when I go places. I could never limit myself that far. Its easier to just deal with me since I kinda know what I want and not what another person could possibly want or not want.

Photography in the City…

I won’t be doing photography of each place I do as I did before so no real photo albums although I may share the day to day adventures I have as I do them. I like to take the camera with me most places but I also enjoy not taking it at times. I’ll try to post a few photos a week on here of the places I end up when I take the camera.

As I mentioned the neighborhoods here are fun places to observe so when I go tomorrow to the Central Market area, I will take the camera to capture the locations and people around the area. I will also end up most likely downtown by the river by weekend so will take the camera then. Its a nice place for people watching and photography and there are nice blocks and parks to see there to walk.

Today on the Walk…

By about noon today I will get a tuk tuk to the Aeon Mall and spend an hour there walking around the shops and then walk over to the barber shop which will take about 30 minutes of walking. From there I only have to really walk one major street to get close to the hotel and that takes about an hour. I may stop and look at some of the smaller shops for a baseball cap since I would like a second one that is higher quality than what is sold at the markets.

So between the days and the food and beer and visiting with my friends at the hotel, time slowly ticks by here in Phnom Penh and since I don’t have a place to get to most days its much more relaxing. The walking is more about the lefts and rights and not the destination unless like today I am walking back to the hotel. This is a different kind of time than the month here and weeks there type thing. I’m glad I take the time to do the in-between things. I think come 21 January I will be busier on the road seeing Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Five months seeing the countries will probably go fast and slow at the same time I am thinking. It seemed seeing the places that in Cambodia some days were remarkably slow as I sat in the room with the same drink I enjoy here from one of the coffee stalls.

I hesitate to use the term travel for this because it really is not. I feel like a better term is vagabonding or hoboing between places and even though I have destinations and hotels booked, the between times walking some city like Penang or Kuala Lumpur matter more than the transit times on planes or buses. Singapore too will be so nice to see again. Its been 8 years since being there last.

That’s about it for now. Hope your New Year is gonna be just fine!

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.