Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, and it is where I will be staying for the first two months of my travels. The first impression was hot and dry, which is strange as it was probably meant to be hot and wet. The folks that picked me up explained that there had been unseasonable weather over the last few days and that they were due some rain, which came in a brief downpour later that afternoon.
The main thing that struck me was how passive you are when you move to a foreign country. You suddenly become a helpless idiot who is told what to do (queue here, fill out this paper, wait there, fill out this paper, queue here, fill out this paper). This continued for the first few days as my new housemate for my time in Phnom Penh guided me around the city. Due to my somewhat stubborn and independent streak, I found this a little frustrating. However, I got a chance to explore the city a little on my own, which was good.
Phnom Penh is busy, noisy and somewhat chaotic. Vehicles travel in all directions at once. Red lights, road markings and even one-way streets are just advisory. This makes crossing the road quite interesting (especially as I have to cross a four-lane dual carriageway to get to my language school); it’s a case of waiting until there’s a chance only two vehicles could run you down, instead of eight. Just make sure you look in all directions before you step out (even behind you, in case someone is using the pavement as an extra lane).
I’ve not had a chance to explore the city properly, so my impression is somewhat limited. I did go to the Russian Market (named due to the number of Russian expats that shopped here in the 80s). I also found a KFC (opposite the Russian Market). This was used when I needed WiFi and a place with air conditioning. I discovered they sell jelly and ice cream (which is amazing) for about 35p (which is even more amazing).
I also discovered that I’m rubbish at remembering to take photographs. However, I have taken some photos from the apartment I’m staying in. It’s in quite a quiet area, and it looks onto a beautiful Wat.