On the day we arrived in Phnom Penh we visited the Royal Palace (where the royal family was kept under house arrest during the Khmer Rouge period).
We also visited the Russian Markets, where the local stall holders tried excruciatingly hard to get us to buy something, anything, everything…!
You can buy the most extraordinary things at the Cambodian markets.
We travelled around Phnom Penh in the local tuk tuks, often squeezing six people into a single one. We were even involved in a tuk tuk traffic accident, when our tuk tuk and another tuk tuk tried to pass by one another in a narrow street and the side wheels collided. I think the other tuk tuk was worse off, but our driver didn’t stop, and just drove madly on!
One evening Vicky, Joanne and I sat on a balcony down by the river and watched the world go by.
We decided to go to see the shadow puppet show that had been recommended by an expat living in Phnom Penh. We showed a TukTuk driver the name of the arts centre where it was being held and he nodded and drove off. After driving around for a while he admitted that he had no idea where it was. We stopped and he was looking at his tourist map, when a man on a bicycle stopped to help. The man on the bicycle didn’t speak English, but mimed a puppet show for us and we laughed and said yes, that was where we wanted to go. He gave the tuktuk driver some instructions and off we went again.
After a little while, the tuktuk driver pulled up at a roadside food stall and asked the stall holder if he could borrow her phone. He then called the arts centre (our little booklet had a phone number) and they explained how to get there.
Off we went again, and eventually we arrived at the arts centre a few minutes before the show was to start. We looked at the display of the leather shadow puppets and Joanne started to laugh. It turns out that she had imagined that the leather shadow puppets were something like a cross between these things:
Here’s what they actually looked like: