Le Grand Détour

Dernier jour à / Last day in Phnom Penh

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[27 décembre 2015]

france_french_flag Nous nous offrons une autre matinée tranquille, en profitant du petit déjeuner, maintenant que nos tubes digestifs ont fait la paix avec nous. Nous changeons d’hôtel aujourd’hui. Nous serions bien restés une nuit de plus dans ce hâvre de paix où le personnel a été adorable avec nous mais l’hôtel est complet.

Plutôt que de prendre le tuktuk, nous décidons de marcher vers l’autre hôtel, à 1 mile de là. Ca fera un bon test pour la cheville de Susie qui lui tire encore un peu.

Ce nouvel hôtel s’avère également très agréable, avec une belle piscine qui nous fait de l’oeil pour cet après-midi.

Nous déjeunons ensuite dans restaurant de spécialités khmers… où nous prenons une salade et des rouleaux de printemps. Ce qui n’a pas beaucoup de sens mais tant pis. D’ailleurs, c’était pas terrible. Nous avions aussi dans l’idée de faire don des béquilles de Susie dans un hôpital, histoire de s’en débarasser en faisant un bon geste. Mais l’hôpital pour enfant à qui nous les proposons n’en a pas besoin…

Nous décidons de visiter le palais royal. Celui-ci ressemble un peu à celui de Bangkok avec ses toits à plusieurs niveaux et ses pagodes. Sous un soleil de plomb nous visitons d’abord la salle du couronnement. Dommage que les photos soient interdites. Puis la pagode d’argent dont le nom se réfère au sol recouvert de dalles d’argent massif offertes par la France mais recouvertes de moquettes pour éviter une usure trop rapide. A l’extérieur, le jardin est joliment fleuri. Apparemment le roi est là car le drapeau est hissé. Il y a finalement assez peu de bâtiments ouverts au public… La visite est plutôt agréable mais j’avoue que je n’étais pas trop pour visiter ce palais. Le sentiment de ne pas vouloir donner d’argent à ce roi et visiter un superbe palais alors que nous savons à quel point la population souffre…

A la sortie de l’enceinte royale, nous en profitons également pour visiter une exposition de costumes et d’habitations khmers. Nous reconnaissons de nombreux costumes que nous avons vus lors de la représentation de danse traditionnelle il y a 2 jours.

Cet après-midi n’est pas forcément une réussite, à vrai dire, d’abord avec l’histoire des béquilles dont ne veut pas l’hôpital (nous finirons par les donner dans une cliniques privée le soir dont le personnel sera d’ailleurs très reconnaissant), la difficulté de trouver un guide du Vietnam et une grossière erreur sur l’emplacement de la compagnie de bus que nous avions choisie pour notre trajet vers Kampot demain matin. Du coup nous avons marché des kilomètres sans pouvoir acheter les billets que nous cherchions. C’est le bon moment pour s’offrir une petite gâterie sucrée dans une patisserie, avec un bon jus de carrotte-gingembre. Na.

De retour à l’hôtel, Susie profite des tous derniers rayons de soleil dans la piscine tandis que je m’accorde une mini sieste.

Un peu en panne d’inspiration pour le dîner, nous optons finalement pour un restaurant japonais, Soran. Et celui-ci s’avère tout ce qu’il y a de plus authentique, dans le service et dans l’assiette, malgré sa devanture qui ne paie pas de mine et le fait que nous soyons les deux seuls clients en ce dimanche soir. Par ici les bonnes soba, par ici les tempura et les aubergines grillées au miso !

Il est temps de changer d’air, je crois. Ca tombe bien nous quittons Phnom Penh pour Kampot sur la côte sud demain !

 

english_flag [27th December 2015]

At breakfast we chatted to the Philippine manager lady again. We said that we were sad to check out today and would have liked to stay one more night, but that the hotel was full. She apologised and said that she would like to see us again on our next visit…who knows when that will be!

Sadly there were no croissants left…so we opted for baguettes…it took ages and when they arrived they were really dry and over-cooked…should have stuck to the toast! ^_^

We headed back to the room where we worked on the blog for a bit before packing our bags and checking out. Our new hotel was about a mile away from here and so we decided to walk it in order to test my ankle. I carried my crutches just in case, but didn’t need them! No need, no pain, cool!!! Good news!

We checked into our new hotel where we were upgraded to a larger room as they had overbooked…good news again!! The hotel was cheaper than the TEAV and it was understandable, the rooms were more dated, less design and less cosy and the staff slightly less customer friendly, but it was clean and there was a pool ^_^.

We headed out for lunch before trying to give crutches away to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. Lunch wasn’t great and the hospital told us that they didn’t need our crutches…two failures in a row!!! Though, thinking about it now, I think that Dr Richner said that the hospital next to the Palace specialises in children suffering with leukaemia (which is the disease that killed the old King’s daughter who was called Kantha Bopha — and where the name of the hospital came from)…and not broken bones. This meant that I now had to carry my crutches around for the rest of the day…great news >”<

Outside the Royal Palace, Stéphane spotted that one of the dodgy, amputated salesmen had a copy of the Lonely Planet for Vietnam. He looked at the back to see what year it was and the date had been covered over by a sticker in a clearly different font saying “2016”!!

“Come on man…that’s not possible!”, but the amputee didn’t want us to see the real date and so we left him there and headed into the Royal Palace instead.

The Palace is pretty similar in style to the one in Bangkok and we enjoy our visit and the sunshine (and I appreciate that their clothing rules are slightly more relaxed than the signs show — I can come in wearing a normal t-shirt and without having to put my cardy on!).

On the way out there is an exhibition detailing the different styles of houses and local costumes from around Cambodia. We enjoy pointing out the ones that we’ve already been able to see either on our travels across the country or at the dance show the other evening.

On our way out we are accosted again by the handicapped book seller, he’s obviously been waiting for us and he keeps lowering the price (I think it was $5 by the end) but he can’t understand that we won’t buy it until we know the real publication date…the businesses change so frequently in these countries that, if you want to use the guide for places to stay or eat, then it needs to be a fairly recent version!

We now head off in search of a bus ticket office….another failure, after the crutches…and we end up walking much further than we thought we would have to and still don’t find what we’re looking for. We eventually admit defeat and opt to take a tuk-tuk back to the hotel and buy the ticket there instead. We managed to negotiate the tuk-tuk price though, to $1.50, and on arrival I spotted a sign at hotel saying it should have cost $2 — at last something good from today!!

I headed to the pool with my book while Stéphane stayed in the room for a quick nap and a chat with his folks. There were a lot of people at the pool, but I managed to grab the last available lounger, where I settled down with my book and people watched. There was a group of Australian students to my left who were drinking cocktails and chatting loudly about everything and nothing very interesting. There was a couple who would be heading to Vietnam tomorrow and were necking cocktails in the pool, as well as necking each other ^_^. There was a large, aging man sitting at a table watching as his two young children were really enjoying the pool and splashing around and screaming with laughter. Amongst the rest there were a couple of well tattooed Brits and the two Australian ladies, one girl and one man that were two rows in front of us at the dance spectacle the other night…small world!

“Stop being so nosy and swim”, I told myself and so I stripped off into my bikini and got in, being careful not to slip and hurt my ankle — it was quite a big and wet step! Unfortunately swimming hurt my ankle and so after a few lengths using just my arms I got out and returned to vegetating on my lounger until Stéphane joined me.

He then organised tomorrow’s bus with the reception whilst I had a shower and we headed out for dinner. He’d seen a good review for a local Japanese restaurant and so, after heading to a nearby international clinic to give them my crutches (for which they were very grateful) we found the restaurant. It was empty. Stéphane asked if this was normal for a Sunday and the waitress confirmed that it was always quiet on a Sunday.

The dinner was very good, soba noodles for Stéphane and vegetable tempura and grilled aubergine for me. On our way out we saw that two other people had arrived and were tucking into their food in the front room. Two Japanese guys…so it was true that it was a good Japanese restaurant!