Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dairy from Combodia

I’m in Cambodia on work now. I reached on the morning of the 15th and I will be here till 24th November. My flight was from HyderabadKuala LumpurPhnom Penh.

The KL airport is very impressive. It has been built in the middle of a forest and it is very big. In fact, since the terminals are spread out, there is an airport monorail to transport passengers from one terminal to another. And it tries to never let you forget you are in the middle of a forest – from full glass walls which look out on to lush tropical trees to ‘The Jungle Café’ and more.

The Phnom Penh International Airport is very small – quite tiny, in fact and rather brightly coloured in yellow and pink. With help from somebody from work, we got our visa on arrival without any queues or waiting. Once we stepped out of the airport, it felt like any other Indian city, in the northeast. And as we drove towards our hotel from the airport, the feeling that we were in a north-eastern Indian city just kept getting stronger. Lots of two wheelers on the roads, small roads, hardly any traffic signals, hot weather, dirty and it was dotted with little stores which were reminiscent of ‘pan shops’ back home.

I’m staying at the Hotel Cambodiana – a very plush hotel by the Mekong River, facing the Royal Palace. So the glass wall of my hotel room has a view of the Royal Palace and as soon as I step out of my room, the corridor faces the Mekong River. My room is quite large, with a TV, coffee-tea makers, writing desk, coffee table, the works. And the complimentary breakfast buffet is mind blowing. Tomorrow, I will make a careful inventory of the menu so that it can stagger you also.

While the rooms are reasonable, the food and other services are shockingly expensive. But they do have an interesting selection of food, including a rather large selection of chicken dishes, one of which I partook for lunch yesterday. In the evening, I walked along Sisowath Quay, on which the hotel is located, passing the Royal Palace, stopping to make a couple of phone calls home etc. The riverfront looked very nice and inviting when we passed by it in the car, but actually walking along it was a different experience altogether.

For one, it is very dirty and you have to keep an eye on the road to make sure you don’t put your foot in to something. I guess the riverfront it especially dirty because of the large number of restaurants and hawkers there. There are hawkers selling things every 2 feet, moped drivers asking if you require a drop, children begging – it’s smelly, dirty, loud and a little overwhelming, especially when coming out of the environs of the hotel. I think I can now walk around Sisowath Quay by myself with greater comfort, now that I know what to expect.

I returned to the hotel, had a light dinner at the French café in the hotel and, watched part of some French movie on TV and fell asleep quite late. Well, that’s the report for Day 1 in Cambodia.


vamsi said...

hmmn nice post...nice piece of info regardin visited angkorvat temple??

Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... thats quite nice ...staying away in a different country getting away from the usual and mundane Jobs certainly heplz relax ...

Good Luck and Take Good Care of urself

Da Enigma

Ramya said...

Vamsi: I had a pretty hectic schedule there so I could not visit the Angkor Wat temple...:(

Anon: Yes, it was quite nice.

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