Cambodia, Phnom Penh June 2017

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June 19, 2017 by Soo Ee

A while back, it seemed like I was going to be in Singapore the entire June holiday. Though I preferred not to, I couldn’t fit my newfound idea of traveling into my schedule. 

I caught the race-holidaying bug last year when I started travelling out to complete some of my 40 races. Since then, I made sure traveling plans always revolve around visiting a place and running a race there. It was like I had something else, other than food, shopping and local cultural experiences, to look forward to. 

I thought that was not going to happen this June. 

That was until I saw that the 7th Phnom Penh International Half was scheduled on a date that fell nicely into my schedule. 

Nice. 

Cambodia wasn’t on my list of places to visit. I thought the days in Cambodia weren’t going to be exciting or had much for me to explore. I wasn’t much of a history buff and Siam Reap’s Angkor Wat did not fascinate me anymore. I wanted to go visit some place in the states, learn some fancy cooking skills, or maybe go up to an island in the Phillipines for some sun and sand. 

Look for the positives. They are everywhere  and more often than not you will find them in the smallest of things. 

I found some. 

In Cambodia, I rediscovered another joy of traveling – being a silent observer and lover of the world around me. 

The early cafe hours (6.30am) motivated me to rise every morning before dawn broke to get myself ready for some aromatic coffee that was worth its weight in gold. That thrown in with a good local breakfast was, in my humble opinion, the best start to a morning. 

Servers in local coffeeshops walked around billing customers holding thick wade of notes. I was uneasy and insecure. My system was on alert mode most of the time. Run I told myself, use your legs on the first sight of danger. The foreign establishments had security guards on guard. I was curious. Experiences like this cannot be bought with money. 

Those strange noises from the cupboard in my room at night. I did not get goosebumps or see anything (thank goodness) though it made me wonder if the resident gecko on the wall had anything to do with them. 

Tuk tuk touts and random motorcyclists riders would ask if I needed a ride to some place. The bemused looks on the faces of the random riders when I asked how much would the ride to my destination cost. Knowing when to reach out for opportunities is something you learn only from the school of life. 

While I might not come here to Cambodia again, in a long while, I will remember the people and this feeling I’m leaving the place with. 

Photos: 

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If my attire didn’t give away the fact that I am non-local, all that pre meal time photo taking probably did a loud and clear shout out. Fried toufu, very soft fishcake with minced meat in it, more soft toufu. I ate up all the greens. I looked around. Not everyone did. Surprisingly not many Caucasians and prcs around. Maybe they all in Siam Reap. Comment on Facebook by : SeangLidet Yean “Maybe they didn’t know that there is such street food in PP . These snacks are usually the gathering place for Khmer ppl (local), especially students. At first glance, I thought the food looks familiar. I then realise it’s in PP from your caption. XD.” Maybe 😂

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I finished all the greens, like the gut conscious food consumer I am.

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Sit down dinner with the locals and hordes of pigeons outside the Royal Palace. I ignored my rule of thumb to street food eating – food must be hot so not to replay that real bad food poisoning bout once upon a time in India. Oh well. The soup from that pot of gold looked too good to miss out on. My titanium built stomach did not let me down.

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Fish amok at Frizz restaurant. Bits of fish in coconut milk, somewhat like otar but this was fragrantly delicious. So was the vegetable soup made with eggplant, bitter melon, pumpkin, jackfruit (explained the sweetness I tasted), papaya (this too), green banana, snake beans (no idea what this) and greens.

The name of this school is similar to the name of a taiwanese movie. Direct translation eh.

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Tarrazu cafe. I walked out forgetting to pay for my Americano and the Korean lady boss gave me not one but two dirty looks. Honest mistake seriously. Cafes usually make you pay before they brew your cuppa.

Popular coffee joint, Brown at 57. 

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Feel good 2 cafe. Local roaster. This here is the roastry.

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Local food at Russian market. The auntie spoke mandarin, asked me to sit and when I said I wanted soupy version, she said it is Vietnamese so no soup.

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How I spent my days in Phnom Penh – cafe, coffee, read and/or work.

Feel good cafe at Okhna. I was here twice. Double shot piccolo never tasted so good for a fine price.

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Ala carte vegetarian food at some vegetarian place I decided to pop in to kpo.

Feeling good with a smiley face piccolo

I wouldn’t miss out an opportunity to train at an overseas crossfit gym if all went well at a race, so here I am @Amatak Crossfit! The chalk wall is neat! I want one of it in my future home.

Recovery brunch at Khema Pasteur. For 30usd the quality of food is awesome. Beef tartare (no beef overseas), salad de Chef, salmon platter, penne estate, lobster bisque (no lobster in it), Braised lamb ravioli (too much), French lamb shank (too much), beef Wellington (beef 😭), khema burger (I took a glance at the adjacent table. Just a burger with buns not fancy enough to warrant occupying stomach space). Absolutely good service I must add. I accidentally broke their pepper holder (small table not big enough for laptop and food) and they let me pack the salad which I couldn’t finish, without extra charges.


I did not realise this was a butter holder till much later. Mountain tortoise much! Lol

Fancy cup for a fancy double shot macchiato.


More photos at: https://optimistcave.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/phnom-penh-international-half-marathon/

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