August 18

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From the Pearl of Asia – Cambodia on my mind #3

Let’s keep going with my personal Khmer list! This time we start with my beloved Russian market to Tuk Tuk drivers! Enjoy!

11. Simply I love the Russian market. It’s a typical Asian market where you can find whatever you want: meat, fish, veggie, clothes, plates, souvenirs, engines and even tires. I have two favorite spots: my lovely noodle lady and the sweetest coffee man on earth . You might know I eat gluten free, mainly because I am intolerant and I try to be really careful of not get poisoned by it. Southeast Asia is the place for me. Rice is the main carb with all its different expressions: steamed rice, sticky rice, rice noodles, rice paper for spring rolls, rice and sugar cones and of course rice pudding with mango and I can keep going on and on and on and on!!! I go to the market almost every day for my rice noodles with meat for 1$. The noodle lady smiles at me and I am starting to chat with some other Khmer customer who are there everyday like me. Simply delicious! The second spot is owned by a skinny man with one of the warmest smile ever. His coffee kiosk is also included in the lonely planet as the best coffee in Phnom Penh. I have to say that the coffee is really good but the best attraction is him. He is really taking care of you and you can’t leave that place with a huge smile on your face. I recommend not to drink the second shot if you are not used of strong caffeine. It won’t make you sleep!!

12. Hair dresser – I let my hair grow in preparation of this long assignment. No need to have a trim or take care of them…. Or maybe, it’s just to let the Lara Croft look going on! Who knows!!! But I have to say that I am going to book an appointment to a local hair dresser shop soon. They wash your hair while you sit on your chair. Shampoo foam and massage included. But no basin or water. You walk next to a shop and what you see, it’s a smiley lady with her hands sunk into a bulk of foamy hair. They pull your hair, they massage your scalp, but no need of water. I noticed many times how asian ladies have the most amazing hair ever. I’ll keep you posted on this experience!!

13. Construction work – I mentioned already that Phnom Penh is an open construction site. There are a couple of things which surprised me: the number of women working with kids. They move from rural areas to the cities and they live in those ghost buildings until they are finished. You walk by and you see entire family having lunch, laundry hanging on the not yet completed 9th floor. It breaks my heart to think that those kids should go to school and have a proper childhood and instead they follow the family and I wonder what else they experience at a really young age. I believe this express clearly the worst side of development and economic booming,

14. Dust and dirty feet – There was a social media case when a politician published a picture of his kids’ dirty feet walking on the floor of their house after two-week of holidays. He was trying to protest against pollution and dust. Now I do understand the surprise of this man, but man, you should come to live in a developing country. I spent my time washing and cleaning my feet. I love walking around without shoes or wearing flip-flops. That’s the price you have to pay! Which it brings up a clear issue in my head: what is going to happen when I’ll have to wear shoes again?!?!

15. Light and early bird – I wrote on my previous blog about light and my new early bird habits. I’ve started to go running before work. But I am still worried by the fact that I feel asleep at 8 o clock. Am I getting ill? Please help me out! I have asked the owner to add a curtain of a glass door in my bedroom. That’s where the light comes from in the morning. Three visits and three weeks after when they came to see the door, to measure it and to make sure the curtain colour matches the other one already installed in the room. AVEMUS A CURTAIN!!! With patience you obtain everything…

16. Tuk Tuk drivers don’t know where to go. If you have ever been in Asia, you know how people are so friendly and they are always trying to please you. The tuk tuk experience is no different. Tuk Tuks are motorbikes with a coach attached. There are moments when you take it alone and you feel like Cinderella going to meet the Prince. Well, maybe that’s a little bit too much. But the idea of a tuk tuk looking like a pumpkin is not dissimilar. Tuk Tuks are everywhere and the drivers call you at every corner of the street:” Tuk Tuk Lady!” The problem is when you ask him to take you to street x. They start looking in the air searching for inspiration or a miracle! “Do you know where it is?” “Yes, madame” And that’s when you jump on the tuk tuk and make the miracle happen. It’s called GOOGLE MAP! The best part is when you start directing the driver who looks at you like the virgin Mary. My dear friend, I have just moved in Phnom Penh, I have no idea where we are going, but it’s called technology! I wonder if UBER has never thought of opening a branch over here.

That’s all folks from Phnom Penh. Stay tuned for my first photo tour outside the city and an amazing morning with little monks!