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The Phnom Penh Royal Palace

I got back to the hotel and Richard and I went out for dinner, which was in a very posh "fish" restaurant. I had Hokkien noodle with prawn and a crab soup, and Richard had beef bourguignon — good, but not really worth the premium price.

Most of the restaurants in the tourist area along the waterfront appear to be owned by foreigners, presumably because they are the ones with capital and Cambodia makes it easy for them to own property and run businesses.
lunchtime picnic by the river
the Tonle Sap at Phnom Penh
Richard had been to the royal palace before, so again I went off by myself. Over coffee I read in the newspaper about Thailand's ex-prime minister being appointed economic advisor in Cambodia. Then I got a rickshaw to the palace.
Royal Palace buildings and pagodas

As well as the beautiful buildings and gardens, several buildings are now small museums, with household items, weapons, royal accoutrements, etc. many of them in gold and silver.

None of the other visitors showed any interest in them at all, but what I enjoyed most were the frescoes in the Silver Pagoda depicting scenes from the Reamker, the Cambodian reworking of the Ramayana. These are decaying and perhaps damaged at the bottom (by the Khmer Rouge?), but have some lovely details.

Reamker frescoes
an array of Buddhas
modern murals
On the way back I saw an elephant walking along the street. I met Richard for drinks in the FCCC, then we found a nice Thai/Cambodian restaurant where I had the "amok" fish. After that we spent nearly an hour in an Internet cafe while I rang Australia while Richard checked his email. There were twenty computers shared between maybe a dozen people, with just two phone booths at the back.

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