Phnom Penh 3

23 11 2009

Sunday 22nd November 2009

We’re falling down on the job! Rosemary Brain mentioned a few days ago that she appreciated a “daily dose” of our blog/diary, whereas it seems to have become a bi-daily blog of late. We’ll use the convenient excuse that, being responsible citizens, we think perhaps we should taper off lest there be addicts that have to go cold turkey next week.

Actually we have been on a ‘go-slow’ for the last few days. It has been nice just to smell the frangipanis or admire the water lilies, (admittedly whilst trying to ignore some of the other odours that plague cities in the two-thirds world) and take some time for reflection.

Speaking of odours, it is really awful to see the garbage and refuse that lies about in the streets. As elsewhere in Southeast Asia rubbish is thrown in the streets to be cleaned up by street sweepers. We did not notice Vietnam and Laos being as bad as here where the volume obviously exceeds the cleaners’ ability to keep up.

Another ghastly by-product of ‘progress’ which we see here as an environmental scourge like none other, is the ubiquitous plastic bag. When shopping every item is put in a plastic bag of some shape or other.

This craft is underway. Is it a barge or a submarine?

Even the most trivial thing in the most remote market is always placed in a plastic bag. A polite refusal is usually met with a lack of understanding or a confused look and yet the evidence of the appalling environmental pollution is everywhere.

We went to the English service at Church of Christ Our Peace this morning. The church building is a double story house with the worship centre downstairs and offices etc upstairs. It was comfortably full with many expatriate countries represented. We enjoyed a fairly traditional Holy Communion service with a liturgy based pretty much on the Alternative Service Book of the Church of England. It has been two months since we have shared in an Anglican communion service so we appreciated it and felt quite at home.

After church we took a bit of a tour around the city in a Tuk-Tuk, Phnom Penh is situated on confluence of the Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap Rivers but to see the full breadth of the Mekong we had to find a vantage point just out of town to appreciate the size of this mighty river which began in Tibet and still will find its way through Vietnam before it meets the sea.

On a back track to find a view of the Mekong we stumbled across the headquarters of the Royal Cambodian Navy. Its hard to believe what we saw but if you study the photos you will see for yourselves.

Naval Fleet?

The silhouetted figure in the guard tower is a uniformed armed guard who suddenly noticed me with the camera pointed and did not look happy. I can’t blame him for not wanting the facility photographed and so I backed off quickly.

Another highlight of the afternoon was visiting the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, a complex of buildings which are the royal abode of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The grounds and buildings are really quite stunning but it was the interior of the Throne Room which captivated us. Unfortunately, like it’s counterpart in Luang Prabang, photography if not allowed but anyway we doubt if the camera would do justice to the pale gold thrones, the crystal chandeliers or the beautiful ceiling frescoes.

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3 responses

23 11 2009
betty

One can hardly believe what one sees as you remarked the dirt and rubbish seems just unreal, and to see even the “naval” yard so filthy is just mind boggling to say the least. it seems the only lovely thing in your latest “blog” images is the flower at the top of the screen. enjoy your last few days touring ..love mum

23 11 2009
Roger and Maree

As we have noted the contrasts are remarkable and perhaps especially so because frequently they are so close together. From our flat corridor window we can look below and see the transport hub for the central market with truck and ute loads of everything imaginable arriving and departing from all over the country and probably beyond. This is with all the accompanying shouting and noise of a busy stock exchange plus the sort of garbage depicted in the blog. But within 50 metres in the other direction there is a wide, attractive Boulevard with buildings including the bank of Canada, a skyscraper of glass and marble that would look at home in New York.

24 11 2009
Ruth and Jeff

Hi there – this time next week you’ll be home again, (?1st) guess its hard to believe, wondering how you’ll cope with the ‘quietness’ here……….and no filth.
About to go to Bible study, prayer covering your travels continually.
Love from us all, Ruth and Jeff

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