Day 6 : Barry White, General de Gaulle, and me…

June 12, 2016 by Gregory Herpe

Last night we went to Phnom Penh with Tina Kieffer, Sophie Bourde, Danielle, and two gynecologists of the NGO “Actions Santé Femmes” Noelle and Chantal.

With the students being away for the weekend with their families, we visit the capital.

I find myself in a very nice hotel, Villa Langka, the staff, the French manager and receptionists are very welcoming, helpful, and friendly. And the setting is so lovely (and inexpensive!).

We all meet in town for dinner and I tried a soup with red ants … How I can explain … what has been done is not more to do, I would say, and I will not risk it again!

That night, singing of frogs around the pool, which lulls me … it sounds unpleasant, said like that, and yet, their bass voice could be compared to some kind of “Barry White toad”…

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This morning, we ventured on the local markets … terribly dense, the Psah Toul Tom Pong or Russian market (which takes its name from the influx of Russian tourists in the 80′s), is a particularly difficult place for the sensitive souls.

In fact, the section of butchers and fishmongers raised my heart … In more than 40 °, meat quarters, disemboweled in chickens and fish are suspended or presented on stalls covered with flies, in a suffocating atmosphere. The smell is just unbearable…

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In the afternoon, I went to the Olympic Stadium in which the Olympic Games never has been hosted, nevertheless it remains interesting. The stadium has 60,000 seats, and the site also has a sports hall, swimming pool and an Olympic diving. It was in this stage that General de Gaulle uttered the famous speech of Phnom Penh on September 1st 1966. It is also in this stage that Khmer Rouge executed the officials from the previous regime. All around, a bit haphazardly, sometimes people play petanque, sometimes volleyball, basketball, tennis.

The diving is particularly striking: young teenagers are jumping from 10 meters high, seeming to fly through the air amidst the towers and the buildings that surrounds them…

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I went off to meet Buddhist monks of Mahanikaya living in a housing estate at the center of the city. Around their temples, they live in small dilapidated two-story buildings, at their balconies drying “KESAS” (their orange dress). I take time to speak with a few. They ask me questions, interested, while doing carpentry and household.

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Tonight, after a busy day is again Barry White who croaks to me, helping me falling asleep …

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