Out and About in Phnom Penh

Well, I must say I am thoroughly delighted with my decision to return to Cambodia for my volunteer commitment. I have been having so much fun the past two, almost three, weeks and Phnom Penh is stealing my heart slowly but surely. I have almost met some amazing people that are a lot of fun to be around! So here I will just give you an overview as to what has been happening in the past weeks 🙂

The first night I got here I went down to Riverfront and we were wonderfully delayed by a blockade set up. The blockade was because it happened to be the last night of the former King Sihanouk’s funeral. Because of the blockade we walked by the former King’s crematorium and it was all lit up and spectacular. Talk about perfect timing.

The former King Sihanouk's crematorium lit up on the last night of his funeral celebration.

The former King Sihanouk’s crematorium lit up on the last night of his funeral celebration.

And to top off the sight there were fireworks inside the courtyard of the crematorium. There were people everywhere showing their respects and the atmosphere was melancholy; however, it was still an amazing event to see.

The crematorium again, after fireworks had been set off in the courtyard.

The crematorium again, after fireworks had been set off in the courtyard.

After stopping, it was on to our original mission: Happy Pizza. I went there with two friends and it was lovely. The pizza is pretty delicious and it makes you feel good too. What more could you ask for? This particular pizza was topped with fresh shrimp and squid. Yummy!

happy pizza.

happy pizza.

On Thursday nights at the Marady Hotel we sing karaoke. Karaoke is a biiiiggg deal here and it is fantastic. It doesn’t matter is you can’t sing everyone loves it regardless. I rock the Jimmy Buffett and the Beatles normally 🙂 On my first Thursday back in Phnom Penh my friend Ben introduced me to ABC Chocolate Stout, a deliciously thick creamy beer.

ABC Chocolate Stout.

ABC Chocolate Stout.

One of the classes that I teach is at the hotel and it is for street kids that live nearby. They are a handful but they are wonderful nonetheless. Sometimes when they are being crazy I just let them work on Angry Bird puzzles, which could entertain them for hours. Angry Birds is also a huge deal over here, one that I don’t understand quite as well as the karaoke. I must admit I have never played Angry Birds and don’t know that I care to but the fascination with it is pretty awesome.

The LanguageCorps kids working on Angry Bird puzzles.

The LanguageCorps kids working on Angry Bird puzzles.

I love the Marady Hotel but I cannot wait to get my own apartment because then I will be able to actually buy groceries and the market and cook my own meals! There are several markets in Phnom Penh that are all wonderful; some of them are just off of side streets and some of them are actually located in buildings with separate stalls that people occupy regularly. This is a photo of the Russian Market. It is a great little market; at nighttime it is full of great street food! During the day it is all shopping.

Fresh fruit for sale at the Russian Market.

Fresh fruit for sale at the Russian Market.

On Saturday night, Chinese New Year’s Eve, I went to a delicious restaurant called Beirut. They served amazing Lebanese food; I tried the falafel, hummus and a lamb wrap! I also had some pretty good Chardonnay (which is a rare find here), lemon shisha that was subtly wonderful, and mint tea, which is always a nice treat (it came with the shisha). Hookah is one of my favorite things and the atmosphere at this place is great! Plus, did I mention the food is great?

Great food is a little difficult to find in Phnom Penh but I am scoping the scene out and have found some wonderful little gems of restaurants that I am happy to go back to!

chardonnay, lemon shi-sha, mint tea = perfection

chardonnay, lemon shi-sha, mint tea = perfection

After Beirut we went to the Night Market. It was my first time there. It was a little crowded, expensive and small for my taste but I’m glad I went. I will probably go back just because of the location: right on Riverfront on weekend nights. What a fantastic marketing strategy.

The crowded but awesome night market.

The crowded but awesome night market.

At the Russian Market there is a lady that sells these delicious street waffles. I think they are made with coconut or something because, no syrup needed, they are fantastic all by themselves. They are a little bit crunchy on the outside and then soft on the inside. After the thirty minute walk to the Russian Market from my current residence, it is a nice treat, especially for breakfast.

street waffle for breakfast

street waffle for breakfast

The iced coffee that gets delivered to my hotel front door everyday by this awesome man. He carries bottles of coffee with him and cans of sweetened condensed milk. You do the math. The sweet milk and coffee get mixed and then ice gets added. A straw and rubber band complete the process. I drink two most mornings and it costs me 75 cents. Coffee love.

delicious iced coffee in a bag off a street cart

delicious iced coffee in a bag off a street cart

My friend Danny, who went through the course with me, is a chef and he whipped us up a fantastic lunch one afternoon in his room using a hot plate, one pan and one cutting board. It was a impromptu meal of sautéed fish, hot mango salsa, kimchi and white rice. We ate family style on bamboo mats with all the food on one plate in the middle. It was a glorious afternoon.

Danny making lunch.

Danny making lunch.

Last Wednesday we ended up at a cool little restaurant, Chuck Norris Dim Sum. They had a fairly decent dim sum menu (not Chuck Norris standards, however); the highlight of the evening were these tasty shots: chile-infused vodka. They were fantastically spicy and actually pretty easy to drink. Plus, they were a wonderful start to what ended up being a long night.

taking fire shots at  Chuck Norris Dim Sum.

taking fire shots at Chuck Norris Dim Sum.

After Chuck Norris Dim Sum we went to a bar down the road called Howie’s. There I played a fun little dice game and ended up winning some shots. The girls who worked there were a lot of fun. In addition, they play great classic rock and other good music.

new friends.

new friends.

Friends is a restaurant in Phnom Penh that trains street children in the fine art of hospitality. The food is a little pricy, but I don’t mind the extra dollar or two when it’s going to such a great organization. The food was also very creative. This is our dessert: caramelized pineapple with coconut-chile ice cream. Yeah yeah.

caramelized pineapple with coconut chile ice cream at Friends

caramelized pineapple with coconut chile ice cream at Friends

Last night we went on an adventure for Mexican food and we were rewarded! Delicious margaritas, chips and salsa and TACOS! Yay! Plus black beans and rice. Satisfied my craving.

Mexican food finally!

Mexican food finally!

After our Mexican feast, we went to this little bar called L’Absinthe. It is owned by a wonderful French man and he serves over 30 different types of absinthe. It was my first time indulging in absinthe and I must admit it was a little strong for my taste. Definitely a once in awhile kind of treat.

drinking absinthe for the first time.

drinking absinthe for the first time.

This shot comes from the Sorya Beer Garden. It is a fun place with lots of drinking options and pool and people. It is an interesting place to hang out and people watch and play some drinking games, which we did last night.

hanging out at the Sorya Beer Garden

hanging out at the Sorya Beer Garden

Last but not least, this picture hanging in Howie’s totally made me miss my little sister so much. And after I started missing her, I started missing everyone. As happy and excited as I am to be having this experience, it’s difficult to know that the most important people in my life are on the other side of the world. I am really excited for when I get more established and people can come visit! I have so many things I want to share with my family and friends.

Jim Morrison Love.

Jim Morrison Love.

Cheers!

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4 responses to “Out and About in Phnom Penh

  1. Kell-bell what an amazing adventure you’re having. What is this talk of getting an apt and making it your home. I think I missed an update, (this is what happens when gma and gpa are in FL.) I want to hear the details, will you get a permanent teaching job? Does it pay enough for you to live there? I have so many questions…

    You seem to be making friends everywhere you go. It is nice to see you so happy.

    • Hi Aunt Sheila! I don’t know what the rumor at home is but yes, I plan on moving here for about two years. I love it! I am volunteering until the end of March, then I have a free week, home for Niki and Mom’s birthdays and then back here at the very end of April to look for a teaching job (their semesters start in May so it should be good timing!) I am sure I will see you when I’m home so keep track of your questions haha! I hope everything is going well! Give everyone my love! Love you!

  2. Wow! I never knew you were recording your adventures in your own blog. So amazing to read and relive these cherished times. You’re amazing Kelly! Feeling sentimental and missing those times…

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