Friday, January 30, 2015

Thursday in Phnom Penh

Thursday morning we set off right after breakfast for a tour of the Royal Palace and Museum. The current king is Norodom Sihamoni, a son of the former King Norodom Sihanouk, who ruled for many years. The palace compound has many buildings. Two guards were posted at the entrance, one talking on his cell phone and this one looking at his. This probably wouldn't be allowed at Buckingham Palace!

Strange tree; unclear if the "vines" were growing out of it or parasitic

Royal Palace

View of Royal Palace roof and tower
We went inside the pagoda, but no pictures were allowed. There was an emerald Buddha and many artifacts in cases. Our guide said it was unclear whether any of the jewels were real; they suspect the Khmer Rouge may have taken them and replaced them with fakes.

At the pagoda we ran into Les and Ilona, the American couple who had left the ship the day before. Hugs all around as if long-lost friends.

Another building had a variety of displays. This one was especially interesting, showing the color that should be worn each day. At one time the people followed, but they have more freedom now. It was Thursday and the officials at the museum had on dark green, so I'm guessing that on the grounds they choose to follow the daily color.

There were many stupas on the ground holding cremated remains of various rulers. This is the one of Norodom Sihanouk, one of the longest-serving.

Near the exit we were happy to find comfort facilities. In my stall I couldn't resist taking a picture from the wall, demonstrating how to use the western toilet.

There was a display of royal palanquins and other items near the exit.

From the palace we walked a couple of blocks and went into the National Museum, another lovely building.

Several Buddha statues had women offering flower sticks that we could take and put as an offering.

We knew who this was -- he once resided on a bridge near Angkor Wat!

Following the museum, we were taken to a restaurant in town for lunch (maybe to give the crew a break?). It was an absolutely delicious lunch. All the Cambodian food has been quite good; we've had similar dishes on the ship. I haven't posted many food pictures as there have been so many interesting sights to share. Apologies to those readers who live for the food!

Shrimp and vegetables (notice heads are left on)

Delicious soup

Fruit for dessert
In the afternoon we were either dropped off to shop or taken to the ship. We opted to go back to the ship. Dan wanted to walk to find the orphanage from the evening before, but didn't find it. I put up yesterday's blog post and lazed around. Tomorrow we cross the Vietnam border.

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