Phnom Penh, Thursday 28th December 2006
The lakeside tourist enclave is popular because there is no traffic on one side. I had breakfast and listened to a couple learning the Khmer alphabet. An aggressive fight broke out between two young boy street booksellers, both about ten years old. The Killing Fields memorial was a long moped-ride along dirt roads. I was curious to see (but not participate in) the shooting range close by where they present you with a munitions menu (small pistols to automatic weapons) and where the going rate for an AK47 with a magazine of 25 bullets is $30. I found the memorial with stacked and graded skulls less moving than the old school that was used as a prison where torture and many killings took place, filled with black-and-white photos of all those young and old that passed through the “mound of guilt”. You can buy crickets at the market and again there is a disproportionate number (compared to the UK) of watch and optical shops. I suppose the UK has a large number of estate agents. A cool corner café was a refuge from the noise, fumes, humidity and heat of the streets. I forget that even London is unpleasant as a pedestrian during a heat wave. I have booked my Siem Reap bus for Saturday. Another curry finished the day, with chat from the Gujarati owners – a relative splurge of $6! My laundry finally arrived.