We had an unexpected opportunity today to visit Central Market, one of the large mostly open-air shopping areas in Phnom Penh. Our sponsor was taking her daughter there to buy supplies for an upcoming birthday party, and she invited us to tag along. We gratefully accepted the offer and headed out for an afternoon—okay, a couple of hours—of playing tourist while maybe learning something useful about where to do some shopping.
|Jewelry vendors under the dome|
|One of the main entrances|
After our purchase, we walked around a little longer, but we didn’t want to stay very long. Alexa was sleepy when we left the house and fell asleep mere moments after we arrived at the market. It was a pleasant day, temperature-wise, but having a sleeping baby pressed to your body makes it get real hot real quick. Jeff bore the brunt of that discomfort, as I had brought the camera along and, most of the time, was either snapping pictures or holding it tightly in my hand to make sure the pickpockets had no chance at it. We made a quick trip across the street to try to get a SIM card for my mobile phone—no luck, as they have to make a photocopy of my passport and visa, and my diplomatic passport (which contains the visa) is with the Cambodian government right now so they can process my diplomatic ID. After that unsuccessful foray into the mobile phone shop, we called our sponsor to see how she was doing on her shopping. She had just purchased a pair of sunglasses that wouldn’t be ready for her for another 30 minutes (maybe one day I’ll understand what the delay was all about), so we decided to just take a tuk-tuk home.
All in all, it was a successful trip. I’m not at all nervous about going there again on my own, although I’d prefer to have an idea of what things should cost so I won’t be going into my deliberate negotiations blind. We didn’t intend to, but we did end up picking up some nice decorative items that also should help deaden the echoes in our house—tile floors with relatively small area rugs, plus extremely high ceilings, with nothing on the walls yet means that this place is an echo chamber right now. And we got out and saw some more of the city, rather than staying cooped up inside as is our habit on Jeff’s days off. We even arrived back home before the rain started. Yes, I’d call it successful on all fronts.
Written Saturday, 15 October 2011