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Exploring Phnom Penh

April 29, 2009

I am “home” in Cambodia! The flight was ridiculously long. I arrived in Phnom Penh at about 10pm on Monday night.

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On Tuesday my dad took me out on a tuk tuk and showed me the Independence Monument, the Silver Pagoda, and the Russian Market.

p4280474Tuk tuk

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The Independence Monument

We drank some fantastic fresh and all-natural lemon strawberry juice and spent a lot of time catching up and people-watching. My dad’s apartment building has a gym so I made good use of it in the afternoon, when it was far too hot to be outside. At the Russian Market I picked up this shirt and scarf (everyone wears these scarves, they are the best invention ever for dealing with the heat):

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In the evening, we went to the Khmer Kitchen restaurant to immerse ourselves in some real Cambodian fare. We shared some fresh spring rolls (veggies and shrimp wrapped in rice flour paper) as well as lok lac, which is a beef/onion dish. It is served with steamed rice and a delicious mixture of salt, pepper, and lime juice to dip the beef in. Unfortunately I only remembered when we were almost finished eating to take a photograph:

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Today, Wednesday, I have been exploring the city on foot. Phnom Penh is not very pedestrian-friendly but it’s still doable! This morning I went to the Silver Pagoda. It was very beautiful.

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Tomorrow I will be taking a cooking class and this weekend my dad and I are going up to Siem Reap for a few days. I doubt I’ll be able to get much of a chance to read all of your wonderful blogs- so if you don’t find many comments from me over the next few weeks, just know that I will be back reading regularly after I am finished adventuring πŸ™‚

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Back home in Canada, I’m used to being overlooked by most people. My friends and I will be out together and suddenly someone will say “wait, where’s Sagan?”, only to realize that I’m standing right next to them. That’s what happens when you’re not very tall! But here in Cambodia, people are openly staring at me. We picked up some fresh produce at the grocery market yesterday and a group of girls stared at me the entire time I walked past them, looking me directly in the eye with total fascination. My blonde hair is rather conspicuous! It’s so unusual to be watched like this. Feels like I’m wearing a banner on my head. Not that it’s a bad thing or that it makes me feel uncomfortable; it’s just different from what I’m used to! It’s really funny.

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Something else I find really interesting is that my dad told me that many of the girls here use a skin-lightening cream, basically the equivalent of all of those self-tanning lotions in North America. The grass is always greener. Take some time today to appreciate who you are! We’re all special in our own way.

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Don’t forget to answer this month’s poll!

20 comments

  1. Thanks so much for making time for us on your travels.
    I, too, am fascinated (horrified? tomato. tomaaato) by the skin lightening creams etc in so many Asian countries.

    Why did I always hope that others werent as media influenced as we Americas are?


  2. So glad to hear you made it safe and sound and are having so much fun.
    Love the photo of you (and all the other photos!) – what kind of fabric is the scarf made of? The colour suits you very well.
    Thanks for taking time to share with us! (and thanks for not posting pictures of deep-fried bugs you were about to eat…. :))


  3. Would I think you wouldn’t offer a great review? Thanks for this view of a whole different world Sagan. Have fun and enjoy that culture.


  4. Beautiful pics!!! It looks like you are having a fantastic time!


  5. Glad you made it safe and sound. Have a wonderful time!


  6. Oh wow, what an awesome time! I love it!


  7. Ha! I am with you on the “where is …?” phenomenon. Husband is 6′ 2″ and I am only 5″, so it’s very easy for him to look right over my head.

    Sounds like you are having a fantastic trip so far! I can’ wait to hear more. πŸ™‚


  8. gorgeous pics!

    and about the sticking out due to blondness … i have a friend living in spain right now who’s dealing with the same thing – she’s close to six feet tall and VERY blonde.


  9. Yay! You made it safe and sound. Have a wonderful time…you will be missed :)You are so cute. Love the pic.


  10. This is so amazing. Love the scarf πŸ™‚ I want to travel!


  11. Thank you for sharing! Hope you keep having a wonderful time πŸ™‚


  12. So interesting! I’ll echo what others have said and thank you for taking the time to share you travels with us. Enjoy yourself!


  13. MizFit- yep, body image issues are prevalent all over the world.

    Bag Lady- I’m not sure what material it’s made of, actually… I’ll have to ask around! (and the bug photos are coming. Haha. Kidding. Maybe).

    JavaChick- hehe it’s hilarious to stand next to really tall people (I’m 5ft nothing as well)

    T- yeah, I found the same thing when I was in Spain too! Although being tall would be even MORE conspicuous…


  14. Well, it looks like you’re on the right track to enjoying a fantastic stay. I’m glad you inaugurated your gastronomic experience on a high-note and that you’re already treating yourself to some local yum-yums! Thanks for sharing the photos and the stories. Keep us posted πŸ™‚


  15. oh my gosh, looks like a great start to your trip! enjoy πŸ™‚


  16. Thanks for sharing.

    Looks beautiful.


  17. So true! How fun!! Really great pictures Sagan!

    Enjoy your trip!

    ~rupal


  18. Fabulous!!! I just booked my flight, and I’m coming to see you and your dad πŸ™‚


  19. Wow, it looks absolutely beautiful there! I’m glad you made it over there safely. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures, and of course your yummy eats!


  20. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. That cooking class looks fantastic too. Have fun in Siem Reap, don’t miss the sunrise at Angkor, it’s beautiful.



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