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WT09 your two favourite gap-yearers make their way around the world armed only with a sense of adventure and a photocopied lonely planet guide to the mekong. wish us luck!

our thrilling weekend in downtown PP

CAMBODIA | Thursday, 21 May 2009 | Views [864] | Comments [8]

silver (?) pagoda.

silver (?) pagoda.

so our celebration of vivienne's birthday has finally come to an end. she thanks all you kind people for your birthday wishes, and although she hasn't checked her facebook i''m sure there's lots of nice messages there too. so thanks.

ANYWAY, now we're going to give you a PG-rated version of our fun fun fun weekend in phnom penh to celebrate vivienne's 18th and remind ourselves that the day does not necessarily need begin when the sun comes up.

on saturday we (me + vivienne + our american friend dani) hitched a ride in a share taxi (what fun) into phnom penh, where we set about seeing the really exciting sights, like the silver pagoda that isn't really silver (see attached photo). we had $2 icecream sundaes for lunch (actually we did this both days of the weekend, shh) and visited the royal palace, which we complained had lots of 'no entry' signs, but it turns out that the royal family actually lives there so you can't exactly rampage around as you please.

it was approximately one million degrees, so we visited this museum afterwards that was really boring but had the air-con set at 17C, so we stood right in front of it for about 15 minutes and talked about how clever we were. it also helped that there was nobody else there (it really was a very boring museum).

then we tried to sit on the grass beside the tonle sap river (this massive river that runs through the city) but a man in a uniform blew a whistle at us so we ran away and pretended that he was blowing it at somebody else.

we discovered that the water at our guesthouse didn't work but it cost $4 a room between 3, so we weren't exactly complaining. anyway we borrowed a bathroom and snazzed up for vivienne's grand entrance into adulthood.

the bars of phnom penh are pretty much divided into those for foreigners, those for khmers and those for perverts, and we enjoyed a combination of the three (although it was mostly the first and last).

drinks in cambodia are crazily cheap (they sell smirnoff in the supermarket, $7.50 for 750ml) but you sort of have to know what you're ordering, because apparently there's a type of whisky that's actually cheaper than water but would probably have a similar effect on your insides to that of paint stripper or diesel fuel. so we stuck with the 75c double vodka red bulls (the type of red bull that's now illegal, how naughty are we?) and $2 cocktails (YUM). although we are obviously novices to the whole 'going out' thing, dani knows what's what and as we agreed, how many people can say they bar-hopped in phnom penh for their 18th?

anyway we pretty much saw the best places in town, including this bar with swimming pools in it (see photo) and this other one which is actually a boat moored on the river, where we discovered to our delight that it was 'gay night'. the cambodian gay scene was surprisingly raging and there were lady-boys left right and centre, which also made for great entertainment. the only worrying thing (considering we were on a wooden boat) was the large proportion of people who were smoking, but obviously we're still alive to tell the tale so no harm done.

we hit up the markets the next day and headed back to our province (called kompong spueu, no joke) in another share taxi, where i was in the very back seat with this cute old lady who kept patting my skin and going 'oooh' and showing me photos of a wedding, i'm guessing her daughter's.

ANYWAY, the point is that we had a really fun weekend. so all you people feeling sorry for vivienne being stuck with iona main and no running water, you had nothing to worry about!

i would make vivienne write something below this but considering she has been reading over my shoulder as i write, i think we can agree i've been writing for both of us.

SO, please enjoy the massive effort we went to attaching photos, we hope you like them =)

much love to one and all xxx

PS. special mention to jack. you know who you are.



Hey viv and iona, your blog is a great read and it made me so happy to stumble upon it in a fit of girl homesickness and see the world is not so big after all. Happy happy birthday to both of you,sounds like the best 18th I've ever heard of! Miss you both and with any luck maybe our paths will cross- I'll be alone in Europe probably still Berlin haha, in July and august- jaspers gonna go work in a bike park in Spain. Lots of love and gluckwunsche from jess

  Jess Ellicott May 22, 2009 8:15 AM


Fantastic. You are obviously attacking travel like true professionals. Keep it up - less than 7 months to go.

  Dad May 22, 2009 11:01 AM


I LOVE those photos. Those little boys are going to break a few hearts in about 10 years' time! Anna xxxx

  Anna May 22, 2009 1:15 PM


much love

  JAck May 23, 2009 10:59 PM


A sensational letter re pnom penh! So good to have all your exc iting news and glad the big birthday bash was enjoyed by all. Soon your turn ’ona. Pop and I both well and busy. Miss you lots. RFXDHWTons love Grang.

  Grangie May 24, 2009 5:04 PM


awwwww guys sounds amazing!!! who is jack btw lol, and where is the photo of the bar pool? miss u guys

  Mel May 25, 2009 7:43 PM


omg, i only just discovered your blog. i am a terrible friend. im bursting at the seams with jealousy. you guys have officially become the coolest people i know. word of advice though, don't go stealing bar mats.
luv you HEAPS, miss you even MORE.

  Soph May 26, 2009 10:48 PM


Hi Viv & Iona, or is it the IV league now ... ?

Love your stories and the pics. The one of you Viv cuddling the little kid is beautiful. Keep well and look after each other.



  Antony May 28, 2009 8:57 AM

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