Phnom Penh

19 11 2009

Wednesday 18th November 2009

We moved to a new Hotel today. It seemed too good to be true – and it was! The hotel was completely refurbished just 5 months ago and we have a suite with a view, twin queen beds, chairs and a desk, wifi, a huge modern bathroom etc – all this for a very modest tariff. We thought our lot had fallen in very pleasant places indeed when we unpacked this morning. But here it is nearly 1 am  and the room is literally vibrating with throbbing booming doof-doof noise! The ¼” shower screen glass is vibrating; the floor is moving under my feet and the walls are acting as sounding boards.  Apparently the two floors below us are setup for some sort of disco or karaoke and the speakers that must massive. I guess we’ll be looking for yet another hotel tomorrow.

We have decided to stay on in Phnom Penh until we leave at the end of next week. We met with Norman Beale the Anglican Minister at Church of Christ Our Peace (expatriate congregation) today and happened to meet the new Dean of the region who is visiting from Singapore at the same time.

These chooks were still alive

The meeting was opportune and with the Deans gracious invitation, will give us an opportunity to see a little of the Anglican Church’s involvement in the area.

Yesterday, with mixed feelings and trepidation we visited the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek about 14 kilometres southwest of the city. It is estimated that up to 15,000 detainees of the Khmer Rouge were executed here. We both found the experience extremely harrowing and quite disturbing. Surely such atrocities can only be understood by appreciating the truth of our fallen nature.

Even after the exhumation of tens of thousands of bodies bones and cloths were still evident in the ground

As Jeremiah states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Our initial impression of Phnom Penh is that it is a city of contrasts. Narrow streets, squaller and filth in the street in many places and in others wide well tended boulevards lakes and attractive public buildings.  Likewise Psar Tuol Tom Pong the so called ‘Russian market’ is a veritable warren of a place under a shanty like pavilion of rusty tin which stands in contrast to Psar Thmei (Central Market) with its huge domed hall resembling a Babylonian ziggurat which some claim is one of the largest domes on the world.

Again we are struck by the unique culture and character of a large city. Phnom Pen with its population approaching one and a half million people is a city at the crossroads of Asia’s past and present, a city of extremes of poverty and excess, of charm and chaos. And at this moment here – very LOUD NOISE!




3 responses

19 11 2009

Alas too good to be true,! never mind you will find another . I can understand the distress one must feel on seeing the “killing fields” and thank God we do have a safer country. all these experiences make one appreciate the life we have here. and help where we can to others…love mum.

20 11 2009

wow, end of next week already.
are you visiting your sponsor child soon?

21 11 2009
Joseph and Rachel

So, Phnom Penh or Siem Reap? Visits to PP and Bangkok are about the only physical things that make us thankful to be here 🙂 You all are welcome to come back any time. I will make sure the neighbors keep the volume down on their boom boxes.

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