China and Cambodia: Part 11

It was a travel day. We were going to our final destination of the trip: Phnom Penh, the capital city. We took it easy in the morning and got up a little later than prior days. (no 4am wakeup!) We then found a cute breakfast place and I tried my first avocado toast (thinking briefly on the journey of the avocado to Cambodia). It was tasty and a relaxing start to the day. We finished packing and waited for our ride to the bus station.

My friend had wanted to take a bus instead of flying between cities. I’d never really traveled much around Asia by car or bus so it sounded like a plan to me. We rode the Giant Ibis bus, a fairly luxurious bus. We got a snack, charging stations, and even Wi-Fi. It was about 6 hour trek to Phnom Penh, where we got to really see more of the country. It was a fascinating ride. There were many houses on stilts; some were really bare bones while others seemed luxurious. Fields and rivers passed us by. We saw a few funeral processions to local temples; many were on foot while others were on bikes or motorbikes.

There didn’t seem to be an interstate highway like we have here in the states. It was a fairly local road to get to Phnom Penh. We had several pit stops (the bus doesn’t have bathrooms). At one place, I bought a coconut from a lady who hacked it open with a machete. Unfortunately, it was room temperature and had fermented just a tiny bit. Alas. Still worth the dollar.

We got to Phnom Penh as the sun was setting. We went by one of the biggest traffic circles I’ve ever seen with a lovely statue in honor of Bayon.

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We passed astonishingly lit up Wat Phnom, one of the main temples of the city, as we got to our final stop. When we got off, there was a bit of crush but we grabbed our bags and hired a tuktuk driver to take us to our hotel. When our guidebook had been written, it had mentioned that some tuktuk drivers would hook up the passenger cart to their motorbike but most used bicycles. Within years of that being written, every tuktuk driver we saw used a motorbike.

Traffic in Phnom Penh was crazy, almost crazier than Shanghai. The vast majority of vehicles on the road where motorbikes. There were few stoplights in the city. So to cross large streets, you had to go slowly. Unlike Shanghai, everyone was fairly slow and let people in. Shanghai is crazy times when it comes to traffic.

Once we threw down our stuff, we decided to find food in this new city. It was quite a change from Phnom Penh. We had to fend off the tuktuk drivers right outside the hotel’s walls. We wanted to walk to dinner. We wandered a few streets, found one that seemed right out of Michigan avenue, with big glittering stores. But we found an area filled with restaurants and chose one.

It was clearly a tourist area but the food was good as always in Cambodia. I had chicken in a coconut that was delicious. We watched this new world around us. Big and busier than Siem Reap. It was exciting. I couldn’t wait to explore the city more.

That’s all for now!

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