19th May 2009
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
11°33'36.66"N 104°55'0.31"E


So, here we are in the fetid cesspit of humanity also known as Phnom Penh. Again. I only had to be here for a few minutes to be reminded why I hate it so much. The heckling from the drivers, the people living on the dump, the smell of rotting garbage piled up in the streets, the beggars - and that's just for starters. Of course I'm very biased - nothing in this town could ever redeem itself to me.

Roshan came with Praba to take us to the airport which was a bit of a surprise and we all had lunch together which was really nice. Our flight was delayed (again) but we still had enough time to find a half decent place to stay - in fact the Indochine 2 would be perfect if we could pick up a stable WiFi connection from one of the surrounding bars. We were only supposed to be here overnight and head off to Sihanoukville or somewhere - anywhere other than Phnom Penh - but we both slept for most of the day Thursday and by Friday we thought we'd leave it until after the weekend so Peter could watch the Football, then he had to recover from watching the football and before you know it we've been here almost a week.

I should say that Peter actually doesn't mind Phnom Penh - plenty of bars with big screens to watch Middlesbro get relegated - they'll be playing Donny Rovers next year hehehe - and enough ex pats for him to talk to, but I'm not even that keen on my daily foray outside for food. We've booked tickets and are heading for Sihanoukville tomorrow morning, although it seems that even that may be a challenge as several people we've spoken to both here and in Thailand say that it is just as bad as the capital now. I hope not - we're organising our trip to Vietnam around Praba and the footie team being in Ho Chi Minh, and they don't get there until 10th June, so unless we're going to go into Vietnam a lot earlier than we had intended (and use up precious days from our visa in the south instead of the north, where we both want to spend a bit of time), we're going to have to stick with Cambodia. I've been reading up on a small riverside town called Kampot, a couple of hours drive from Sihanoukville which looks very quiet and pleasant, although Peter wasn't too interested until Ammo gave him the name of someone who does dirt bike tours out of a pub there - Ammo is giving tours a miss at the moment; probably very wise going by how much rain has been coming down in the week. There's also a small seaside town, Kep, about an hour away from Kampot and about a million miles away from the bright lights of Sihanoukville, hopefully we'll get there to have a look and maybe a couple of days of sitting around doing nothing and catching our breath a bit before the mad rush kicks off again in Vietnam - the Malaysian-paced drinking, that is. I've come to the conclusion that Praba is a VERY bad influence

The Indochine 2 had no internet access so we moved to the Cyclo - a lovely restored old building with occasional WiFi access - not bad enough for you not to bother trying. just enough to get you frustrated. Unfortunately it also has a beer garden directly opposite which can be rather loud - some live performances and some of the worst karaoke I've ever heard. Any form of karaoke is bad, but Cambodian karaoke is woeful - especially when they're going at the traditional songs. Even Peter would do better, although not with the new songs he learnt from Praba (who is claimed to be rather good. Malaysia is just lucky that Peter wasn't drunk enough to get stuck in to the Barry White classics).

All of the photographs have been edited and uploaded - woo-hoo! Can't believe how long it took me to do them. You know I said the new laptop is just as good as the old one? I lied. I can have a maximum of 6 photo's open at a time. 7 makes the thing run to slow to use and the 8th one hangs it. Tried and tested several times. Peter's complaining about the speed and all he does is surf the web. And just to make things interesting (and the photo's a bit harder to enhance) what started out as a small crack in the screen is growing on what seems like a daily basis, and has now spider-webbed itself - worse than the screen was on the Vaio. And nowhere near as powerful. Sulk.

Peter is out at an Aussie bar and I just have to throw some things into a bag and then we're outta here.