Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Day 4: Phonm Penh Touristitas Yayas

We don't have a specific itinerary in mind for Phnom Penh is intended to be a time for bonding with Marj and her cute adorable baby, Ema Ayeesha. Marj is my coursemate, boardmate and after-college roomie. How we were able to withstand each other despite our different personalities is something for the books. She is a kikay, a leader and endearing personality. We  went out separate ways when she decided to leave the apartment. Later I learned she found her love and started a family in this foreign land. To adjust in a new surrounding is not easy. Transition is never easy, but love makes you do impossible feats. And I am so happy for this woman who found her own self, and able to maintain her lithe figure after pregnancy.

She booked us at Burly Guesthouse, which is very near their apartment. Also her husband Tom knew the manager and asked them to let us have an early check-in. The check-in time is still at 10AM so we decided to eat our breakfast at the nearby restaurant and lounge around. The food serving is good for two already but since we're too famished, sharing is not an option. There are a lot of monks collecting too and the children were taught to give respects to them.

It was already past 10AM when we went to the hotel and checked in. Then the reception the check-in time is 12NN. Early check-in means we have to pay $5 extra. We relented since we badly need to lie down in a comfortable bed. Then we asked the reception for the bus ticket going to Saigon and if they have arrangements. They said yes, we can have it for $11 and there will be a free tuktuk that will pick us up. When we inquired again later in the afternoon, the bus ticket price rose to $12 and there is no more free pick-up. We do not recommend this hostel. The service is just bad, the room is passable.

We took a long nap. Then we trooped to Marj's place and meet Tom and their little bundle of joy. The first meeting with Ema was a disaster and for this time, we wanted to give a lasting impression. It is a such humid day and we can't subject the little girl to the glaring sunlight. So we went to the Aeon Mall and talked nonstop. It's as if years of separation was just yesterday. We laughed, talked and bonded at the Breastfeeding Section of the Mall! Oh boy! I was so impressed by the big space allotted for mothers to feed the babies and for those with toddlers who can  play. The cushions are soft, well-maintained and of course, you have a lot of privacy! We had the place almost for ourselves for an hour before other mothers came to feed their own hungry babies.
Ema still is not happy. 
Can I be a nanny? $700 salary excluding benefits!
The mother almost faint when she heard my asking price. 

We walked and checked out several stores and eat a lot. Ema is such a well-behaved darling and she just sleep. She was dead tired from walking while strapped unto me! We've been teasing Marj that she should get us as nanny. She will not only get a nanny but a tutor too! But sadly, she can't afford us. 

The mother has to go home early to put Ema in bed while the three of us are still up for an adventure. We told the driver to drop us off Russian Market. I searched earlier the site for some areas of interest and Russian Market is on the list and it is just along the way. So we walked around and realized this is an old market, much like our Bangkerohan market. The place is so lively, full of people buying fresh produce at a low price.

Since we will not be cooking, we decided to go to the Night Market near the bus terminals. There the street foods are sumptuous and they have mats at the center area where you can have your own picnic. Sharing a meal alongside hundreds of people in a square is like a huge family picnic at night! I tried the ginger mint tea and it is the best remedy for the very humid night.

Then we bought our pasalubong of shawls and shirts. Found a very wonderful shawl with butterfly prints. I always go gaga for shawls and I have to stop myself from buying more since I already purchased several kinds from Siem Reap. We were able to get a lot of discount from one stall owner as the two girls almost bought a dozen shirts from him alone. 

We also met a lot of Filipinos buying a lot of stuff on sale at the night market. they shared that they were also on vacation and spent it in Saigon and Phomn Penh. Then they recommended a place to stay at Saigon's backpackers' area.

Before midnight, we hailed a tutktuk and called it a day.



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