Phnom Penh

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.


Go backwards to Part 1

Hanoi, Here We Went

But first, this is where we left it:

A Beautiful City's company mascot, Super Chubbs, was getting some kip in Singapore Changi Airport:

And then we went to Phnom Penh.

We know the ride from the Phnom Penh airport to my hotel was going to be ugly but we still pinched what photos we could.

I'm Glad To Be Back

I'm glad to be back, in front of a fantastic computer, where I can organise and re-organise my life and day.

Revisiting my photos, I'm going backwards to July 12, to publish relevant A Beautiful City, urbanistic articles and photos now originating from the A Beautiful City Phnom Penh, Hoi Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Hanoi trip - and you can see them here ...

Above: Super-Chubbs, A Beautiful City's first employee, in layover at Singapore Changi airport.  We notice straight away that manners, habits and conventions in Singapore, are different (better?) compared to Perth.  All over the airport, people are peacefully sleeping alone or in clusters, their eyes covered, their effects piled neatly to one side and their shoes off the furniture - their posture discrete and restrained.

Above: One of my first photos in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  I thought I'd shoot it as the bear-face was kinda cute, and multi-people on motorbikes was a novelty for me - and now I see that his cucumber looks like a wing-wang.  Bonus!

Below: I don't expect journeys to and from airports to be beautiful, but still, I shot away.  These photos have some A Beautiful City elements - Beautiful Bikes. 

And we can already see that people's attitudes or choices about personal transport are different, interesting - something we can learn from or think about, and adapt for our own city.

Below: I thought Super-Chubbs was as interested in the transport options as I was but then I realised he was just after coconuts.

And this is it for this post - below: a fascinating story about electricity development.  Love it.  We often complain and argue about red-tape, bureaucracy, added costs and unnecessary interference in building construction.  I'm not arguing for this, but we can reflect of the balance between development and restraint.  And there's no saying that this method is less safe, although an expert may chime in here and advise.  Thank you.