Monday, April 6, 2015

Phnom Penh; Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple. How can I, when Phnom Penh is nothing but simple?

Life here have definitely not been luxurious, I'd rather say it’s been comfortable and I had to get use to a lot of sweating. Just like working at The Flicks, though it never felt like work. I got to chat with people from all over the world, see a lot of movies and get free beer.

Living in a house(and under a cinema) and not a hostel/hotel, will, instantly, make one feel more at home. Saying thank you in Khmer aw kun(which means thank you) is a part of daily life. So is going to the market to buy fruit or shoes. Knowing which one is the expensive one and how much to pay for a tuk-tuk ride(between 2000 riel or 1 dollar). Knowing the way to work.

Though when it all comes down to it, I’m still a tourist. I still get lost, even though I know the names or numbers of the roads. I still want to go to the museums. Which I did. I saw the unimpressive National Museum, with the beautiful garden and the depressing Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, located just two blocks from my house. 

My favorite thing here is the traffic. The traffic here is something unique for me. Never in my life have I ever been stuck in rush hour on a bicycle! While I try to get to work, riding around in the roundabout I simultaneously try not to get hit or for that matter, hit anyone else. Being out in the traffic here is an adventure in itself! It lets out the inner anarchist in anyone. I don’t miss the civilized lanes back home in Denmark, there has always been a little Asian in me saying” red light, no cars? Go!”

In the beginning my expectations were crashing down all the time. Because I expected the pearl of Asia. Phnom Penh, is just Phnom Penh. It’s not the pearl of Asia and it’s gonna be awhile before it becomes that. But it's a great city and I have enjoyed every minute of my two weeks here, wishing i could have stayed longer. This city CAN be beautiful. It can be exciting. 

The things I enjoyed the most was sitting on the Flicks terrace, chatting with the other volunteers about that kids' party and what a mess the children made. Hearing other peoples stories, about how they came to Phnom Penh. Enjoying Cambodian beer. Delicious lunch at Friends. Unexpectedly falling in love with this crazy city. Thankfully I’m not done with Cambodia just yet, Monday night I will travel by bus to Siem Reap to the famous Angkor temples and there after Battambang.

On a last note on my life here in Phnom Penh, I’d like to say thank you to Paul, Harry and The One Who Shall Not Be Named. The house rats. I ended up, not being entirely grossed out by you, so thank you for that. But honestly, my stay in Phnom Penh wouldn't have been the same if I hadn't volunteered for The Flicks. Not only did it give me the opportunity to experience and live in Phnom Penh, it also gave me a feeling of being part of something with the other volunteers. 

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