Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Wearing our Dust Masks to Save Our Lungs From
The Ever Present Smog and Dust of the Cambodian Roads
Suzan and Her Longtime Friend Who Now Lives
in Phnom Penh, Michelle

Jim and I visited a long time French Canadian friend of Suzan's, Michelle Vachon, at her current home in Phnom Penh. Being a journalist for the Cambodia Daily News for seven plus years - she provided us a wealth of information on Cambodia. Michelle also took us on a grand tour of all of the important sites in the area. She is active in causes to support the arts and also the extensive homeless population (to name a few). She took us to many of the NGO's (Non-Government Organizations) in the area to share their good works. One included a restaurant which houses homeless kids and trains them to be restauranteurs. They also hang their art work on the walls of the establishment and photos of their graduates who have gone on to be chefs, etc. in the local restaurants.

The Independence Monument is One of Phnom Penh's
Most Important and Recognizable Structures.
The Entrance to the National Museum, Which
Contains Many Relics From the Angkor Era
The Royal Palace, Home of the King of Cambodia
and the Silver Pagoda, Which Houses a Jade Buddha
A Master Playing a Traditional Khmer Stringed
Instrument. He Taps the Strings With Two Sticks.
Drying Lavender Fruit in the Sun.Since This Was in
Front of a Drug Store, Perhaps a Local Medicine?
Famous Cambodian Painter Leang Seckon, Whose
Art Opening Suzan and Jim Were Invited to.

Michelle took us to an art reception for Leang Seckon, a prominent Cambodian Artist. His paintings are highly Spiritual - he's influenced by his deep passion and devotion to Buddha. As soon as the paint dries on his works, they are sold. He uses mixed media to create his oil paintings - anything from yarn to gold leaf - and they are exquisite. Most of the people at the reception were ex-pats like Michelle. Such an interesting intellectual group ranging from the host, someone from the local economic think-tank to historians, architects and human resources people with some of the local NGO's. Even more interesting were the collection of backgrounds - New Zealand, England, Canada and then North Carolina! Quite - an ecclectic group and enjoyable evening.

The Streets of Phnom Penh Are Even More
Bustling Than Bangkok's Were

Three million people reside here and again, the majority own motorcycles.Many people come here from the country out of necessity - as there is little work in the countryside. The 'catch 22' is that they leave the countryside where the prices are much lower to work in Phnom Penh  and then can barely make ends meet in the city with the higher prices.The result is a very high homeless population, beggars abound, and sometimes the young people turn to prostitution to earn money.

There Are An Assortment of Colorful Street
Vendors Lining the Roads of Phnom Penh
Vendor Selling Roast Duck on the Sidewalk.
Would You Like to Try Some?

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A Row of Street Vendor's Cart Containing
Coconuts for Eating and Drinking the Milk.
Handy Crafts Person With Handmade Houses
Pushing Her Cart to the Crafts Marketplace.
A Local Petrol Station on the Outskirts of Town.
Need a Fill-up For Your Motorbike?

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Four Adults and Two Children. This is the Most
People We Saw on a Single Motorbike.
Motorbike is the Preferred Mode of Transportation,
Even for an Elegantly Dressed Woman.
A Cute Young Rider and Perhaps Her Grandfather?
Do Her Parents Know She Has No Helmet On?