A Building's Impression

Phnom Penh: Shopfront and Streetlife study

Yesterday was pretty good. Gritty roads from the airport to civilisation were relieved by a tidy street of evening smell and colour. And I ate a frog.

I can't stay at a hotel for more than one night, so I've already booked in another, just to taste it. And I'm going to torture a man.

This chap. I've commissioned him, for life, to show me every street and shop in Phnom Penh.

This is his tuk-tuk and it is essentially a slow motorbike with a cabin on the back. 

But first we have to stop at the local fountain to pinch some water for his radiator.

Hey, look - they stole our Queen.

And they have angled car parking bays, like us, too.

You hear a lot about The French Architectural style here because of history and things like that, which means when you build a new building you are forced to quote 'the local vernacular' which is probably what this building is doing.

And the outcome is good. Someone built a sponge cake and then a proper patissiere has sculptured and decorated it afterwards.

OK, we're getting more shoppy now. I took this photo because I thought 'Ha! Elephant!'.

Only later did I read it more closely.

French vernacular.

I should definitely leave the food photography to the experts, but I want to develop a pathology of photographing everything I eat, like the wrongly-accused savant caught with a murder weapon in his barn, brought to us by Midsomer Barnaby.

Moving on, Mr Tuk-tuk.

Pyjama ladies 1 & 2.

Due to the horrific, international oppression of men, only women are allowed to wear comfortable and colourful clothes to work.

 

End of Part 2

Here's a tip. Wherever you are, ask to be shown the embassy precinct.

Here you'll always find the best residential architecture.

If you're a diplomat you're always going to justify being in the part of town where people don't hack your arm off with a rusty KA-BAR.

And because you're 1,500 miles away from the taxpayer who is funding your party, you can always pretend that you are.

So if you get a chance to go to a party with Barack Obama and U2's Bonobo and advance your career in media and politics, put your hand up for this important, diplomatic work.

If it's a funeral for Nelson Mandela - even better. You'll be under no pressure to politically perform for your country so you can just get drunk and slip Oprah Winfrey your business card.

Perfect.

Go backwards to Part 1

I Get Off On This

'When the world is grey and the feeling is lonely, you can always go ... downtown'

Or so the famous song nearly went. But check this out.

Why isn't the world paying attention (to me, mainly)? Hot shopfronts are where it's at. They make streets tolerable, walkable ... and that means you meet more people and have more friends, which means you will die later.

So suck up all your taxes donated throughout your lifetime by hanging around a longer, have more lovers, and get off on shopfronts in the meantime.

Above: Mariana Hardwick Flagship Store, Hardwick Bulding, 459 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Australia.

Above: Olive Grove Studios, 159 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Noice.

Alas: Sydney Road, Brunswick, Australia.