Sunday, June 28, 2015

Just a Saturday P-day

20 Jun 2015

I suppose that until we have had our fill of "seeing the city" we will continue to use our P-days to explore the city of Phnom Penh.   Today was the Russian Market (it is not called Russian Market because of any Russian culture that I could see.... not sure yet why it is called the Russian Market).  We also went to the Wat Phnom.

So we hired a TukTuk for the adventure.... Soo-ree was our driver. 

 We saw some interesting things on the way.... 
Lots of traffic..... notice this is a one-way street but there is a lone moto, which no one seems to be too alarmed that he is "GOING THE WRONG WAY"!  He just weaves in and out minding his own business!
And when you have gotten to the store you want... you just park on the sidewalk!
That goes for motos AND cars.... you just pull up on the sidewalk to park!  Those cars are just nosed up to the store fronts.   But we also saw .....

some of the beautiful walls they build to surround some of their homes or schools.
Of course, there is a modest family of 3 (we have seen as many as 6 on a moto) riding the moto and in the background are some monks out for a walk.  

We finally got to our destination....

The Russian Market

The Russian Market was hot, sweaty, crowded, and stinky!  It is an open air market with no air!   They have so many little shops in there that you can hardly walk or breathe.   Hundreds of little kiosks selling all sorts of touristy cheap crap.   (I MIGHT go back to buy some of that crap too!)  More crafts (wood carvings, toys, crafted chess sets, little elephants, buddhas, Wat replicas, etc.) than clothes.  Everywhere we go has some different smells to it.  The Russian Market was no exception.  We first saw ....
A lovely gathering of some non-distinguishable fruits or vegetables (not sure which) and some identifiable apples and oranges (that always makes ya feel good to see stuff you recognize).   Then we walked deeper into the market realizing that we had taken a questionable turn....
The odors became more unfamiliar and more pungent.   A few more steps and we were right in the middle of their FOOD COURT....
It didn't look like any food court we were used to but that's what it was.   This is what I saw to the left and to the right was some little woman gutting a 2-day old yellow looking chicken on the nasty floor.  I would have taken a picture but the smell was so fowl (no pun intended!) that we had to get out of there.  Elder Leavitt had already gagged 2 times and was on his way to more gagging!!  Problem was there are so many people that it was hard to "hurry".

Let me remind you that it was 90 degrees outside and most likely was 110 degrees inside that market.  Raw foods just sat out ready and displayed for purchase or cooking on the spot!

North American food courts will never be as interesting.   

 BUT there are some definite advantages.... like knowing what you are buying. 
We never returned to the food court.... but we did see this mother with her little girl.  The mother was running a kiosk but to help the little one stay cooled off  she just stripped her and poured water over her head.   The little girl was happy as she could be.   This woman was selling scarves. 
And right when you think you have seen it all.....
A guy on a moto goes driving down the isle!  Unbelievable!


Back on the TukTuk....

A Wat is a Buddhist temple.   Wat Phnom is located on the city's only natural hill.  It is at the highest point of the city, which really isn't very high.  It cost $1 to get in to what looks like a city park.  There are no fences, no gates, just a little booth that says you have to pay $1.   First thing I noticed was the cobblestones I was walking on. 
They looked old and worn enough to have been some of the original stones placed in 1372.   Then there is this grand staircase.
I wish I could take pictures well enough that it could capture the beauty and grandure.
We got to the top only to be greeted by these beautiful flowers ......
And this pot of burning incense.... It smelled wonderful.  We couldn't help but think that Larry needs one of these in his complex!
I think it was some sort of aroma theropy because you felt such peace and reverence.   We carefully went into the shrine where the Buddha sits.  Taking pictures didn't seem to be offensive.  They welcomed it.
It was crowded with big buddhas, little buddhas, animal carvings, incense smoke, and well placed money on the occasional idol just to give you a hint that buddha blessings cost a price.   There were people there praying too.  We were asked if we also wanted to pray.   We declined. 

Even the ceilings were beautiful..... a Buddhist's rendition of the Sistine Chapel.  
As beautiful as this shrine is, as much reverence that is displayed,

as many prayers that are uttered to the giant porcelain figure in hopes that a better life is just around the corner, it is filled with commercialism.

These birds were for sale but we were not for sure what they were used for... wishing I had paid more attention to "The Golden Child".  
And what would a Buddhist shrine be without a souvenir shop?  And you could also buy a Buddist blessing at the back of the shrine! 

It was an educational day.  


  1. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure!!

  2. It's so exciting to read your post Sister Leavitt makes me feel like I'm right there with you. Though I think I would be joining Elder Leavitt gagging and I don't think that would be a pretty sounds like life is good. Love reading all about your wonderful adventure.

  3. Wow! So cool! That food court looks stinky! I can't imagine what it actually smelled like. (Maybe a little like our bedroom after Taylor has been watching a few episodes of Star Trek with the door closed? hehe) The walls surrounding the homes are gorgeous and the shrine looks so cool! Wish I could be there, but I LOVE reading about what you are doing and seeing all the wonderful pictures!

  4. Good stuff! Nice to see all of the pictures.