So the first weekend in Phnom Penh stated with a tour pictured, here. After lunch at the upstairs restaurant in my hotel, a little light shopping and a rest it was time to head to Score, self-styled as ‘Cambodia’s premier sports bar’, and arrived to find it packed for the early match Chelsea vs Arsenal with quite a lot of Arsenal shirts in attendance.
After getting something to eat and the first of a number of beers I settled in to watch the football and the rugby as the Manchester City match was the late match of the day, kicking off after the other matches in the UK had finished meaning a start of something like 23:30. The Rugby World Cup was on the big screen downstairs so City was on the small screen upstairs. It did mean I followed what happened in the Japan vs South Africa at the same time. It was interesting to have a view from above and it was noticeable that the crowd for the football match was nearly all male whereas when the rugby started it became closer to half and half. Similarly, for the football there were more locals present, some wearing team colours, whereas for the rugby it was either Europeans or people from Commonwealth countries.
Through a Man City facebook page I had been in contact with a fellow supporter and we met up. He is an engineer, originally from Barrow and is running a construction project here. It is always better to watch the match with a fellow fan. My last match in Strasbourg had been the 2-1 Champions League loss to Juventus so I was hoping for something better. Unfortunately it was not to be as City lost 2-1 again, this time to West Ham. A dejected tuk-tuk back to the hotel.
After oversleeping, I had still not got my body-clock aligned with the time and it would take a few days of waking at 2 or 3 in the morning before I would. So it was more brunch than breakfast and headed off to the Aeon Mall (location shown below along with a number of highlights of the previous days tour.) for the afternoon.
It was quite disconcerting to be dropped at the side of the road in front of what I quickly saw was the entrance and exit for scooters and motor-bikes, with a row of tuk-tuks at the side of the road heading off into the distance and the other side of the footpath all I could see was a hedge . Anyway I arranged to meet the driver later and walked in through the scooter entrance and around a corner to see a scooter and motor-cycle sale or hire place in front of me a massive scooter park over which I could just see the entrance to the mall. But I was to discover it was not but the entrance to the Aeon Store, what the retailing trade call the anchor store for the shopping centre. A supermarket to attract people to come to the mall and spend money in other shops whilst there. I walked (picture left taken later during a Halloween promotion) in the entrance with a bakery on my right and the food store on the left and then into a food court with lovely smells and lots of different foods being advertised in a rush or words, scripts and colour. I took the escalator up and walked out into the mall and found that my destination was on the second floor at the other end of the mall. So. up one floor and I discovered that the second floor is all restaurants at one end then becomes game machines and then my destination, the Major Cineplex.
At the induction a new colleague had told me about a Cambodian film with English sub-titles, The Last Reel. It was quite amazing to get a cinema ticket for a few dollars. There was allocated seats but no-one paid attention to that. I leant back and discovered the seats leaned back and I couldn’t really find a place where it stopped but managed to find an equilibrium. Going to the cinema here is certainly culturally different. People bring their whole family regardless of the certificate of the film and at a subsequent film there was a child talking through most of it which I just had to screen out. In this one the phone of the person next to me rang and they answered it. There was a general hubbub of talking but, because the film was in Khmer with English subtitles it didn’t matter as much.
The film is set in Phnom Penh now and, even after only a few days here, it was great seeing places I had already discovered. It also dealt with the killing fields, family and different truths that different protagonists have the cast were excellent and it was a well written story. Don’t just take my word for it, read this review from a local.(Scroll down for it) and here is one from Cambodia Daily. Decide for yourself with the trailer: