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Streets of Phnom Penh
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This used to be a French colony, like Louisiana, so there are interesting similarities, like grillwork balconies. Although the weather is hot and humid, mostly only the wealthy and businesses that cater to Westerners have a/c. Life and business are conducted on the street.

The pictures on this page were taken on the 5th and 6th of March. I walked from my hotel down Seawall Blvd (Preah Sisowath Blvd along the Tonle Sap River) to slightly past where the National Museum is. I walked a couple of blocks away from the river and then meandered back, going down streets that looked interesting, finally making my way back to the hotel after 4 hours.

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This is a crosswalk! As far as I can tell, it's as big a waste of paint as they are in France, Tajikistan, or Latvia. But it's for a different reason here - traffic seems to take care of pedestrians. Children are often playing on the sidewalks and tourists (yeah, including me) just wander into the streets sometime. Traffic flows around them. And traffic is generally in the 30 mph range anyway.

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I won't comment on every street photo. To me, this walk is as interesting as a visit to a museum. How do people live? How are buildings designed? What does architecture say about the development of the city? How do traffic, buildings, people and business interact? In the end, this interaction is distinct for every city and every country. Phnom Penh is not Riga is not Houston is not Tokyo is not Paris (hi, Melanie!) because of this unique interplay. So I walk down these streets and at nearly every turn I find myself thinking, "How interesting!"

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Occasionally, you find these decaying French colonial buildings. They were beautiful in their prime, but they stick out because architecturally, they scream, "We don't belong here!"

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The market - parts of it are fairly open, along streets with traffic. It's pretty easy to navigate. But then there are other places where you feel like you're diving into a cave. Shoppers turn sideways to get past each other. Too-tall Westerners have to duck their heads under the canvas roof. You don't get lost - just go straight in any direction until you see daylight. But the feeling of being in a maze is still there. Markets like this are everywhere in the world - the best ones I've seen are in Istanbul and Cairo and Dushanbe.

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Many of the larger (three or four-story buildings) have big open-air ground floors that are used for shops or restaurants.

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Priceless...Dad and daughter zooming through the streets of Phnom Penh on a scooter.

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I love all the bicycles, but I suspect there are more scooters, at least in the tourist zone.

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This is the outer edge of the Central Market...pretty much the local version of Macy's. A nice cotton men's shirt is 8 to 10 dollars, max. I'm sure you can get them cheaper, but I haven't tried.

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Couldn't you just plop this building down in the French Quarter of New Orleans?

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Another sign that Westerners are nigh - big modern vehicles like SUV's.

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The rooster was crowing over the hen. I couldn't help but notice them. They were under a bush on the fanciest street in Phnom Penh.

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This is the transportation of choice for tourists and locals with money. It's a bus sometimes, sometimes a taxi, and sometimes a vehicle you hire for the whole day. I haven't hopped into one yet, but I will soon. They look so cool.

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This jumble of buildings reminded me of some streets in Cairo. The street is wider and cleaner and the buildings more colorful, but the adding onto and expanding of original buildings is pretty similar.

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Another decaying colonial building.

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There are animal activists who say society should be judged by the way it treats animals. This dog seems happy and well cared for. I've only seen one cat here and it was feral.

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The older, upper part of this French colonial structure has been damaged by fire, but you can see the ground floor is still functional.

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These large buildings along Preah Sisowath Blvd are home to the bar/restaurants that Westerners frequent. Prices are higher and hamburgers and pizzas are common items on the menu. On the plus side, there's less mystery meat and sanitation standards are adhered to, or so Lonely Planet says. I don't usually travel to far-off lands to hang out with fellow Westerners, though.

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This page is a compilation of three days of walking - 4 hours the first day, 2 hours the 2nd day, and 1 hour the third day. Detect a pattern? The heat is wearing me down.