Anth in Phnom Penh

Monday, June 13, 2005

On the Rails in Phnom Penh

And here I am again...

I am less than 200km away from Takeo, but in many ways a universe of distance. I am sitting in Java, hung over as a dog, fuzzy headed and completely sleep deprived. I feel crap, and am further depressed by how common this weekend experience is becoming. The soft jazz, aircon and delectably western menu is soothing, reassuring but ultimately nothing short of more panadol and an afternoon sleep is going to fully fix my problems. I hate sleeping away my weekend days it feels very wasteful.

It was a fairly typical weekend night. We started at home, I set up my ipod and speakers in the living room and Stew and I kicked back out front, drank beer and talked about how good 'Sambanova' by Pnau is. Andrew rocked up with a mate from Sydney and we graduated to G&Ts and dinner was ordered in. Post preparatory showers (gnt in shower), clearing of takeaway containers and helmet fetching we were on motos and off to Salt. Once inside, 6 of us nestle on two couches on an upper level with beers and cocktails littering our coffee table. We look down on the stark walls, measured use of neon lighting and discuss how this bar could be in New York; the framed and spotlighted Cambodian flag, rainbow flag and two pictures of the King are a nice Cambodian, yet distinctly un-Cambodian touch.

The night is waxing and for some reason unrelated to good sense or taste I am back on beers and in the Heart of Darkness. Yes, it is a club. And yes, it is actually called the 'Heart of Darkness'. Tonight it is packed to the gills. I am in the centre of the crush, beer in one hand dancing to Justin Timberlake. Yes, I am having a good time. I am surrounded by Khmers dancing with Khmers, bearded backpackers dancing with Khmers and expats dancing with all of the above. The women are scantily clad for Cambodia, yet this club is a fine balance of modern PP and sleeze. This is my second time here and I am semi-disappointed by the amount of good, clean, fun everyone is having. At least at Riverside Club you get frisked and run over with a metal detector on entry. 'The Heart' (as it is affectionately known) is notorious, but from my perspective very few foreigners or Khmer are totally off the rails in Phnom Penh, or if they are they are doing so in other establishments. The night is waning, and Stew and I are the last ones remaining of our original crew. I am drunk and the room, its lines and my lines start to waver and bend. Time to go home.

Free Agent Cambodia signing out.


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