Postcard from Cambodia


On our way to see Angkor Wat again we decided to spend two days in Phnom Penh. It is a real pity that most visitors skip Cambodia's capital. For us it has been fascinating and full of surprises and well worth our time.

We are enjoying a cold beer on the terrace of the Foreign Correspondents Club, where we have front row seats for the nightly "bat exodus." The roof of the National Museum two blocks away is home to the world's largest colony of bats inhabiting a man-made structure. Millions of them fly all at once into the twilight. As soon as I finish this postcard our wonderful Purple Dragon guide will take us "across the Japanese Bridge" for dinner in a thatched-roof restaurant on the banks of the Mekong.

We began the day with a visit to the Royal Palace, where we had our fortunes told in the shade of the glittering Silver Pavilion. Next Door is the National Museum, which is worth an entire day if you have the time. It houses one of the world's most important collections of sculpture and antiques, including pieces that were buried by monks during the terrible years of the Khmer Rouge. I could see Tom making a mental shopping list.

Fortunately there were plenty of reproductions at the "Russian Market" (no Russians were spotted there). After this afternoon's visit, Tom will have to by yet another empty bag to carry treasures home. If you like colorful silk and handicrafts, this is the place to visit.

Despite the stories we heard, Phnom Penh's streets are not full of gun-toting robbers. All things considered, we feel a lot safer here than back home. The weather is great, the men are handsome and we are having the time of our lives.

Plenty more to see tomorrow. Maybe even a swim in the Mekong. Don't work too hard!

-- Chuck & Tom