May 25, 2015
Stopover in Phnom Penh
GPS waypoint: 11°33'23.2"N 104°55'41.4"E
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
It was meant to be a quick stopover in Phnom Penh from Battambang, to catch a bus for Saigon, ensuring I cross into the Vietnamese border before midnight before my visa expires. But I chanced on a few friends I previously met in Battambang which made for an extended stopover conversation over coffee. It also made for a refreshing reprieve from the 5.5 hours I stayed on the night bus before I embark on another 5.5 hour-trip to Saigon.
In Battambang, I met Nana when she attended my yoga class. We talked a bit over street dinner as she mustered sinew on eating the fertilized duck egg (balut). But she drifted into the night before we could even exchange contacts. Oh well, that's life.
As I was walking Phnom Penh shortly after arriving, I passed by a cafe with Nana having her fill. All the while I thought she was still in Battambang. It was a pleasant surprise to see her again. We lingered over coffee and talked - a good way to start the morning for me. Before long, she had to catch her bus for Sihanoukville. At least we now have each other's contacts. Why? I'm fatalistic. The fact that we met again against all odds served a purpose - I just don't know what, and I don't really care to know. It's best to simply let things unfold on its own, like water finding its own level.
This meeting was not planned until the night before when she posted on Facebook she just arrived Phnom Penh after attending a 3-day meditation course. I replied saying I'd be in Phonm Penh the following day as well - thus the coffee / breakfast meet up. Girlie was one of the servers at the meditation course in Battambang when we met. One thing about being with a Vipassana meditator, we didn't find the need to explain ourselves. By virtue of our common bond, we already shared a lot about how we see ourselves in this landscape - about the impermanence of everything, about being at the moment and about our deepening practice. I also notice a repeating pattern with Vipassana meditators - they seem to leave their jobs in search of their bliss. It takes a strong resolve to leave your safety net - but Vipassana gives us that empowerment. That's all true for Girlie and it's all true for me. I'm sure our paths will cross again.
Yes, it could have been a quick jump onto the Saigon bus, but no. I had the good fortune to spend time with 2 wonderful people who I feel will play a role in my continuing journey. I'm sure...one day :)
- one mug draft beer (.75 happy hour)
- 1.5 liter drinking water
- from street coffee to restaurant coffee
- bicycle rental, 24 hours
- cheap dorm lodging (Mini Banana)
- glass of sugarcane juice
- best way to explore Phnom Penh is still by bicycle ($2/day) - intersections can be tricky
- if there is festival happening, it's best to book bus and hotels ahead of time as they can be more expensive or fully booked
- Phnom Penh is generally more expensive than the rest of Cambodia
- Cambodia accepts payment in US$ - even sidewalk vendors. If your change is less than $1, it will be given in riel
- How to Get to Phnom Penh from Kampot
- the minivan fare from my hotel straight to Phnom Penh is $8/pax ($10 during the Water Festival), 3.5 hours. Like most bus rides, you can have your hotel book it for you. Usually, the rate is the same as booking it directly with the bus company - so I book mine with the hotel (and get the hotel pick-up service).
- How to Get to Ho Chi Minh City from Phnom Penh
- there are many bus ticketing offices around the Old Market where you can buy tickets. 5 hours 30 mins, $5-7
May 25, 2015
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