Day 20 Phnom Penh

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PP isn’t anywhere near as manic and frenzied as Vietnamese cities. It’s big and sprawling, the streets are wide, there are more cars than bikes but it still seems quiet. There are traffic lights, and drivers mostly pay attention to them. Crossing the road is easy compared to Vietnam. There’s a higher frequency of “you wan tuk tuk? Lady massage? Boom boom? Weed?”, and they don’t stop following you and asking over and over even after the tenth “no thank you”. There is an obvious group of rich and powerful (ie corrupt), driving around in expensive Range Rovers, Audis, Mercs and Lexi. The museum is compact and bijou, but has some interesting artifacts. The royal palace is closed. Huge numbers of western back packers, all looking and acting exactly the same. It’s not a particularly interesting place to visit, but there is a good night life and decent food to be found along the river front. It seems like the sort of place you’ll get the best of only if you stay for a long time and settle into the local lifestyle, like all the NGO workers, teachers, and sex tourists seem to be doing.

I’ve heard reports of bad flooding in Thailand, with hundreds dead. It’s hard to get clear information, but the airlines, hotels and tour operators I have bookings with all say Chiang Mai is ok, and so is the route from there to Laos and Luang Prabang. I’ll find out for myself tomorrow… At least it’s not raining here today.

It’s funny how there are an obvious local elite who have money, therefore have power, and therefore act like they can do whatever they want, and also a depressing number of white men who have enough money to act like they own the place, even though back home they would just be average scum, and seem to treat the locals like scum. Several times every hour I see a white man with a local girl half his age, it’s really quite alarming how much of that seems to be going on around here. This town is full of rich or powerful men exploiting others, whether they are sex tourists, policemen, business men or politicians.

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