Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sophie in Cambodia - 8/3/2009 - Day 11

This morning, I made my 2nd attempt to jog in the Russian Market area. It is an interesting experience. There are no traffic lights on most of the streets. Cars, bikes and tuk-tuk go in all directions at the same time. Most of the streets do not have sidewalks. The few that do have sidewalks pedestrian are all filled with street vendors. Dogs are another challenge for joggers. Cambodians love dogs; an average family has two to four dogs, and they all run loose on the streets. Let’s just say that not all dogs keep quite when you pass. Today, I was lucky not to be chased by one. Last week, one dog barked and followed me. I was praying hard at that moment.

Cambodians are lovely people. They are a lot more laid back and friendly compared to their neighbors. They are less aggressive, which is especially true when it comes to bargaining. They don’t give some crazy price for you to bargain it down, which I appreciate.

After visiting the factory and shops, I ended up in the Russian market again. I love the ice coffee from a particular vendor. Double shot of espresso is $.75. You can’t beat that. I often have a bowl of noodles accompanying plus an iced coffee for lunch. Most dishes consist of fresh vegetables and herbs. Cambodian food is influenced by Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines. However, they tend to be on the lighter and sweeter side. There are many Chinese descendants in Cambodia. Although many have been here for many generations, they can still speak Chinese. Most vendors in the market speak English. There are many foreign tourist shops and places that serve Western food here.

In Phnom Penh, you can see much foreign influenced. Learning English is almost as important as getting an education in this country because they see money in Western countries. Although, part of me is glad to see much foreign aid pouring into Cambodia, I can’t help to be saddened by the diminishing of its tradition at the same time. Why, despite our best intention, must something always get lost in the process?

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