The Big Smoke Phnom Penh

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My time in Sri Lanka is done for now. In the final week I travelled to Galle in the south of Sri Lanka and took in the buddhist ambience. The huge temple Yatagar near Galle is set in the middle of a rice paddy and wines amongst huge outcrops of rock. The temple itself contained images that were redolent of Hindu mythology. My Tuk-tuk driver had never been there and was a buddhist so this handsome and courteous young man and myself climbed steps, hot from the sun and circled the Buddha’s. We visited the inner sanctum where the walls were decorated with the Hindu-look alike — gods though they may have been Buddhist deities. The line between images, the line between religions is thin yet it has divided these communities in the past. Sri Lanka is becoming a tolerant society, the old prejudices although still in evidence are slipping into history.

I travelled to the south where the tourist trails are well trod, the jungle beach of Galle, the south west coast with its resorts and beaches reveals many a sunburnt European in unfamiliar clothes and walking sandals sweating in the heat. Mostly they stay near the coast.

Near a place called Betota a Sri Lankan family the Bawas, created incandescently beautiful gardens. Geoffrey Bawa was an architect and his home Lungaganga is a treat, (if you are interested I have posted an album on my Facebook page). I had dinner there in solitary splendour, overlooking a lake while a storm played out in front of me. Great folks of lightening slashing the star burdened sky as I slowly ate a hot curry, I gotta say I was a very happy camper.

I caught a train back to Colombo and spent a half day getting essentials like haircut and drinks with friends realised. I love my new hairdresser Ravi from Crown Hair I believe he is one of the best cutters in the world and finally I have hair that does not feel like a woollen hat. I also got one side of my head shaved, it looks kinda punk and rather fabulous if I do say myself. I am too beyond caring what I look like opting for comfort in preference to attractiveness and I love life when comfort and looking look coincide. 5 hours in a bus, my bladder was very well behaved but I was a tad dehydrated and I arrived back in Udekki. My final days there were filled with amazing people, sun, beaches, yoga. Now I’m propped up on a bed writing this in the middle of Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh is a crowded city, like many asian cities it’s grubby at the edges, poor facilities sit next to or underneath mansions. The food is cheap if you stay away from the western places. They are identifiable by their slick finishes, modern signage, design elements and AC. Because Cambodia is still slightly under the sway of French influences the coffee is great and besides AC, good Wi-Fi are good elements in a day. Today I got a cheap new phone, 2 sim cards (don’t ask) and phone credit. I went to a Smart shop very green and AC’ed to arctic levels. Like all Asian experiences and language differences it was funny. I asked,”Why am I getting two sim cards? What is the point?”

In a society where more is better the fact that the phone had the capacity to hold 2 sim cards was a plus, Sim 1 and Sim 2 both with completely differing numbers in the one phone, “Why?” I wanted to whine on but didn’t just wakled away a few dollars poorer and non the wiser, still that’s been my experience of life in general.

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