Thursday, November 03, 2005

last day in phnom penh

this morning we booked our bus ticket to sihanoukville, cambodia's beach town. we are thus saying goodbye to the capital in the hopes of finding a great beach and less children trying to sell us book, postcards, and the likes. on the other hand, our timing is not so great, ie, we will be at the beach during the weekend. sihanoukville beaches get crowded, very crowded apparently... i believe that the guidebook says "overrun by locals". i guess we'll see!

after breakfast we wanted to go see the imperial palace and silver pagoda but discovered that the sights are closed between 11 and 2... so we went to the national museum instead. what an incredible museum! i have never seen so many beautiful bronzes (move asside china, your wine goblets and mirrors don't even compare) and stone carvings. i was just amazed! i normally am not such a big fan of museums but this one was simply wonderful. there were so many pieces from angkor as well... a perfect introduction to what is yet to come.

afterwards we walked to boeng kak lake, well, the backpacker area besside the lake. on the way there though we walked past the raffles hotel/le royal (yes, the same hotel line as the world famous raffles in singapore) and decided to stop there for pastries. simply incredible, lovely colonial building... impecable. the café had some great cakes, which we ate besside the pool, contemplating staying here for a night... or at least using their pool for an afternoon (because the cost of the rooms is, well... rather exhorbitant).

a tuk tuk ride later we arrive at the backpacker district, to find it partially flooded. it was expected, but i thought that it would be slightly better... katy and i split ways and i explored the district, which was a little sketchy yet quite well directed at travelers. i'm glad though that we didn't decide to stay here as planned, but rather by the river. we are closer to things and feel less isolated. the area not having much asside from "pizza" places, i walked back to the river, disapointed. as much as i wanted to see the lake, there was no lake access or lovely park around it. just dodgy hotels and houses... the guidebooks should mention things like that.

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