Visitors and expats alike have many a tale of being hoodwinked in the Kingdom of Wonder. Whilst the Siem Reap milk scam, the Filipino blackjack shysters and an army of Chinese fake monks fill the forums and travel blogs, it seems like every man and his pig is in the business of relieving white folk of their hard earned dollar bills.
Between the main expat hubs of BKK1 and Russian Market there is the Toul Sleng area – a neighbourhood with a diverse mix of Khmer, Vietnamese and barang inhabitants. There, you’ll find a handful of underrated and unknown restaurants and cafes. Mostly, they are family-run establishments serving homemade fare to ardent regulars.
In a city where food options abound and where restaurants and cafes open and close almost daily, it takes something special to keep doing the same thing year after year and remain successful. Focusing on developing a good formula that people like, and being renowned for consistent quality is a recipe for success. It’s something Phnom Penh institution Armand’s has been doing for years. And long may it continue.
Timo Jokinen, the 49 year old proprietor of a well-known bar and guesthouse on Phnom Penh’s Street 172 has been found dead in a room above the bar this morning. The Daun Penh District Chief of Police, Mr Hout Chanyaran told media that the cause of death is not yet known, but pictures from the scene of death suggest he had been dead some time.
A 42 year old American man with an extensive criminal background has been found dead in a Phnom Penh guesthouse this morning, the latest in a series of foreigners dying in Phnom Penh.
Visal is my motodop, providing daily transportation on the back of his motorbike to and from my job because I am too terror-stricken to drive myself in Phnom Penh’s traffic. I pay Visal $60 at the beginning of every month to shuttle me in the morning and back in the afternoon, a rate which works out to $1.50 one way. Visal persuasively explained that it would be better for him to get paid monthly so that he could get work done on his bike.
It’s a constant refrain on both Khmer440 and pretty much any guidebook you care to mention: Khmer food really isn’t up to much, especially when compared to that of its neighbours in Thailand and Vietnam. It’s a terrible admission but in the two years or more I’ve been living in Phnom Penh, I’ve never bothered trying local cuisine.
It has been a bad week for expat deaths in Phnom Penh as news reaches us of yet another death, this time of renowned US missionary Dr David Drueding, 66, who was found dead in his room at the Heng Pich Guest House on Street 84, directly opposite Calmette Hospital. He is believed to have died from natural causes.
Cambodian police are investigating the apparent suicide of prominent expat dentist Dr Wolfgang Schmidtberg who apparently killed himself in his hospital bed this morning, after being hospitalised for colon cancer.
There are few in the expat community here who haven’t heard a thing two about Nick Mclernan, 40, and Martin Gates, 24: Singlet Senior and Singlet Junior, Beavis and Butthead, Dumb and Dumber — half the city seems to have an opinion. For those that don’t know of this seedy morality tale of things gone awry in the Kingdom of Wonder, it focuses on the plight of two British men, McLernan and Gates, and strikes at the very heart of just what duties and responsibilities an Embassy has towards its citizens abroad.