Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville

Phnom Penh is a large city in the middle of Cambodia. It's not the most scenic place and it doesn't have the best food. To make matters worse, this is where the rainy season officially hit me. The rain started in Phnom Penh and didn't stop for many days.

 Phnom Pehn night

Phnom Pehn night

There are a couple things to do in this city though. First is the Tuol Sleng Prison Museum. This place will not bring you sunshine on a rainy day, but it will leave an impression. This is a museum set in what used to be a school then turned into a prison and torturing facility by the Khmer Rouge - a group that seized power and took control of Cambodia in the 1970's. I personally didn't know much about the history here, the mass genocide and inhuman treatment of the people of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge not that long ago. The first hand accounts and the pictures and the buildings you see here will make you feel sick and leave you wondering the same thing we are left wondering all too often, "Why do people do this?" Even though it leaves you with a somber feeling, it is still worth a visit. On most days there is a survivor from the prison at the museum. There were only a handful of survivors from this prison at all. Honestly as I walked over and shook his hand it was hard to look at him in the eye. What can you possibly say?

 Thousands of these  

Thousands of these  

Well after a emotionally rough couple of hours on a rainy day, what else is there to do? Mexican food and a movie of course. The Mexican food in Phnom Penh is average; the movies in Phnom Penh are awesome. There are movie houses in this city that are small theater rooms in hotels or hostels. They hold between 15 and 45 people. They are a mix of cushioned chairs, sofas, mattresses, and pillows. It's the most comfortable way to watch a movie and how I imagine a private theater in really rich dude's mansion would be. There is an entrance fee of $3 to $4.50 and you can stay the entire day. They will usually show three movies in a day starting around 2pm with a little break between each. Could be any mix of new releases, classics, or foreign films. And they have popcorn and beer! There was only one other person and a cat in the theater with me while I lounged in the movie house for five hours. It was great.

 Movie House in Phnom Penh. The cat loved it. 

Movie House in Phnom Penh. The cat loved it. 

While it was still raining I headed down to the coast of Cambodia. My first stop was Sihanoukville - a beach town full of expats. I stayed on Serendipity Beach, but could never actually check out the beach due to the rain.

 An old classroom turned prison

An old classroom turned prison

The food in this area, however, was diverse and delicious. I had Mexican again at a place called Maybe Later. This time it was exactly what I had been missing. It was just like home except you could tell the salsa was made from Asian chilis. It was a nice little fusion though. There were also burger joints, Italian places, Mediterranean cafes, and coffee shops among other restaurants mostly run by foreigners dedicated to their craft. All the restaurants looked great and had good prices. I ate breakfast at Enocafe. They had something like 100 different kinds of tea and coffee. I had the Vietnamese. I wish I had time to try more coffee and more restaurants, but I quickly set sail for the island.

 My dinner date in Phnom Penh  

My dinner date in Phnom Penh