Phnom Penh, Day 1


I am an “up when the sun comes up” kina guy. This works well when I am rested. After traveling for 24+ hours and being 11 hours ahead of my usual time, getting up this morning at 5:30 AM was a bit shocking. The excitement of it all seems to be the wind beneath my wings so far, but I’m not sure how long that’s going to last.  We Skyped with the boys this morning, called some family (thank you Gmail phone!) showered for the day (this may become a “whenever you are near a shower and can spare the time” practice) and hit the streets.

By 8AM Phnom Penh is full-gear in motion! Motos and cars are jostling for spots on the road, pedestrians (us) are trying to navigate a sea of sounds, smells, people and motion everywhere. We stood at a street corner timing the traffic and wondering when a lull in the traffic would allow us safe passage across the street. The time never came. With our hunger and thirst pushing us on we held on to our mates and crossed, only to get to a sidewalk blocked by (more) motos, street carts and cars. We saw the Central Market in the distance and decided to head there.

Merchants were still setting up their stalls and there didn’t seem to be much food or water available.  We ambled around for a bit until we saw a pace where people were eating. There didn’t seem to be a lot of western patrons there. In fact, there weren’t any. It looked decent enough so we decided to eat there. The menu was simple…eggs and toast, iced coffee and condensed milk, various noodle soups and rice dishes. Our silverware was served in a beer mug with boiling water, the tea was hot and the food was delicious. I had the Phnom Penh noodle soup, Jamie had rice with meat veggies and eggs. Ben had the noole soup and Sarabeth had some eggs and toast. We washed our vitamins down with some tea (please do your magic probiotics) and headed for the market. Oh, the cost of breakfast for four…$9.

The market was bustling with people by the time we returned. We weren’t looking to shop, we just wanted to take in some sights before heading back to the hotel. The highlight of the visit for me was seeing a tiny stall with various cooked insects for sale to eat. There were fried crickets, tarantulas, and what looked to be enormous cockroaches. Having already eaten breakfast and feeling like we took enough risks by eating where we did, I decided to pass…this time. We are back at the hotel, resting before Narun, Prek Eng 2’s director, picks us up at 1:00 to go see the kids at school or the orphanage. We will return to the hotel to rest a bit before Narun picks me up to get John, Kori and the kids this evening.