Friday, 13 January 2017

More strange encounters around Penh's Hill (aka The Pearl of Asia)

4 am.  Enough sleep.  I'm not sure whether dreaming of a receptionist all day (blush) should be considered a good or a bad night's sleep.

At 5:45 the lightshow starts all over again
We have to leave this balcony tomorrow morning at 6 am.  
Almost tragic, that is, LOL
But there is one thing that consoles me.
On this trip alone, we'll be on this balcony at least twice more ;-)

Photographer reflected in the glass balcony door
7 am
Time to have breakfast on the 9th floor

Apres-breakfast we head along the riverside walkway that was still being constructed in February 2016, but is not open for foot traffic.  
The new walkway shortens the walk to the ferry terminal considerably
Zu's first Mekong crossing, LOL

That boat looks strangely familiar ;-)

On first glance, this river life looks very romantic

Then you notice the houses of these people

And then you remember that MOST fishers do NOT have a house but live on their boats full-time.

Not having bicycles, we bought a return ticket and didn't intend on even leaving the ferry.
During the crossing, I mentioned to Zu "They have too many ferries running".  I was right. The ferry we are on disgorges its carload, does NOT taking on any more cars, and with us still on it, rams itself into the river bank.   We are told to go over to the other ferry that arrived 1 minute behind us.

The new ferry is the same as the one that brought us here; One monk is enough to bring the number of visible monks above the number of visible life preservers.
Right now, Zulema is buying a Guava (or Guayaba as she calls it) from the vendor on the boat.
When she comes back with a sliced guava and this dipping stuff in a pot, I decide that I HAVE to try dipping as well.

Back on the Royal-Palace side of the Mekong:

10:30 am.

After an excursion through market street (incense, dried bananas Chardonnay) we're back at the hotel and we're BUSHED. 
Being a volunteer fire fighter, Zu simply CAN'T resist fire trucks

 I wake up from my first nap at 1pm but can't get any will for action going until 3 pm.  Looking out at the river promenade I can guess why that is.  There's not a single person walking in the sun.  The very few people out there are all sitting down in some shade cast by a palm tree or building.  It is HOT out there !

But on this morning's walk I did see something.

So we're going on a Sunset cruise at 5 pm.

On the way there, I discover a new way of pan-handling.  A man with seriously deformed legs squats behind a bathroom scale of Sisowath Quay. He maintains his dignity by offering a service instead of just begging for money.  And I, after taking off my shoes (more in compliance with Asian cleanliness rules than trying to save weight) step on the scale (after he points at my backpack, indicating I should not weigh it ;-) and to my dismay discover that I have crept dangerously close to 190 pounds again.  That's OK though, Cambodian food will take care of that soon ;-)

No, I do NOT expect much from the Sunset Cruise.  We've bought 'Golden Tickets' which entitle us to one free drink and one tapas plate each.
I didn't expect exciting co-passengers or great food. I didn't even expect a nice cruise. 
All I wanted was to float on the Mekong, enjoy a nice breeze, and see Phnom Penh from a different vantage point.
My gut feeling was dead-right on the co-passengers.  Mostly in their late 60s to 70s, nothing exciting there.   It gets worse.  When the cruise-boat starts very slowly to circumnavigate a bunch of fishing boats that also serve as sole acommodation of the occupants, the entire overweight over-aged crowd (this time of French persuasion), jumps off their dinner seats to get to the railing to compete in being the one who sticks their camera most closely into a poor person's face.   Luang Prabang all over again.

And I don't think this is an isolated occurance. Just the fact that the 'sunset cruise' does take the route VERY CLOSE to the house boats indicates that this is one of those things tourists go WILD about.

With respect to the food, my gut feeling was wrong though.  This stuff is YUMMY !  Did I mention that the manager/owner/organizer of this cruise is French? LOL.
In contrast to previous trips, the reader will have to suffer through more pictures of MOI. Zu has a camera and for some reason inexplicably to me, she wastes some of her chip capacity on me.

Only an Austrian by the name of Freud could possibly explain the following picture though ;-)

The problem with these pictures? I realize that I probably always look this pompous or drunk, but usually I am fortunate enough for it NOT to be documented ;-)

Is that a GIANT SQUID floating over Phnom Penh?

By 7 pm I just tell Zu to wake me at 8 pm if I should fall asleep.. She wakes me at 8 and I ask her to deal with the leaving warm clothes and shoes in the hotel until the end of the trip and go back to sleep.  I am EXHAUSTED !

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