Edit Blog Post
Published: February 6th 2020
Alexander, nearly 5, is a rock hunter. He and his magnifying glass are rarely separated as he moves around searching for new and interesting rocks. He proudly showed us his collection in his treasure chest in his bedroom. Carried around in his pocket is a slice of rock with a fossil in it.
He lives with his parents, Sean and Agata and little brother Elliot, in Les Jardins du Bassac in Phnom Penh. Not far from where they were previously as we recognised their old street and the small shopping centre with supermarket and cafe. And aircon.
We hadn't seen them since we were in Poland in June 2018 when Elliot was born so it was lovely to see them again and get to know Elliot. He has a very good vocabulary for a 20 month old - a mix of English, Polish and Khmer.
Here, a semi circle of French colonial townhouses face east over the Bassac River. Complete with playground and two swimming pools. One for adults and one for children. Ideal for two little boys, Alexander and Elliot, as well as many other children from the largely ex-pat community, to run and play in.
Each townhouse has its own small garden, enough to kick a ball in. Make no mistake, this is football territory. It is kicking not catching. Child-sized football nets are in the playground where even the nannies take part.
Fragrant frangipani litter the grass, only to be swept up daily into the gardener's bin. The ultimate indignity for such a beautiful flower. A beautiful heliconia plant, covered in hanging flowers, lurks by the changing sheds. Usually we see these dramatic flowers standing upright in floral arrangements so I was pleased to see them in their natural state.
The heat is intense, and this is winter, but by 4pm the sun sinks lower behind the buildings and shades the pool. A breeze blows in from the river. In the distance is a magnificent building fronting the river. It looks like a royal palace but is a new office block on Diamond Island. The putt putt putt of long boats on the river can be heard.
As well as the noise from children playing as they all come home from school. This is swimming and playing time.
Sean is away working at present in Sao Tome and Principe, a
small island nation in the Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Central Africa.
Ian and I ventured out a few times in a tuk tuk. He got some T shirts at the Russian market. I asked Google why it is called the Russian market and it reported that this market was popular with expat Russians during the 1980s when most of the western expats were Russian. To the locals it is known as Phsar Toul Tom Poung.
We went with Agata to a French restaurant on the 35th floor of the tallest building in Cambodia, the Vattanac Tower. The view from there at night was stunning.
Agata took us to a beautiful resort 148kms north up the Mekong River, Hanchey Bamboo Resort. Built by an NGO to provide experience and training for the local people in hospitality. Driving in Cambodia is always an interesting and sometime unnerving experience but Agata is very skilful even when confronted with a tricky diversion over a bailey bridge at the bottom of a ravine. Thank goodness too for Google Maps to find our way through small villages on the way to this remote resort.
As per its name
It's cool after 4pm...
... when the sun drops behind this building
all the structures are solidly made of bamboo, open and airy with a magnificent view over the Mekong. The level is very low here as huge sandbanks can be seen in the distance.
We had lots of fun with the boys in the pool. If not in there, Alexander was out rock hunting. They made friends with the two waitresses who couldn't do enough for us. The food was delicious especially my lotus root salad. It had a flavour between liquorice and coriander. We're also getting used to chillies in nearly everything now.
This was a lovely way to end our long trip literally around the world, from the frozen continent of Antarctica to the tropical delights of Thailand and Cambodia.
Tot: 3.029s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 9; qc: 46; dbt: 0.0378s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb