25 January 2008

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is a good place to visit. The people are friendly. It's another place which makes me swear I'll be a kinder person when I get home! Initially it seemed like a bigger version of Vientiane, and I could image Vientiane looking like Phnom Penh in five to ten years. The motorcycle, car to bike ratio seems about the same. Some women wear skirts that are exactly the same as the Lao sinh. The traditional dance is quite similar between the countries also. They celebrate the same new years. They have just one big mall in Phnom Penh and one separate department store. They have usual Thai chain restaurants such as Dairy Queen, Swensens, Pizza Company and MK Suki. The poverty here seems more apparent than in Vientiane- there were many more people begging. I was there to attend a workshop about implementing inclusive education for people with disabilities in the Asia Pacific region.

I was staying in quite a nice hotel and I noticed about three western couples with an Asian baby. I'm guessing the westerners were French and the babies were Cambodian. A bit of a wild guess but these couples around their late 30s- 40s could have been picking up these children for adoption. In Cambodia did read that a couple of countries, UK and USA I think it was that put an emergency ban on adoption from Cambodia due to child trafficking concerns.

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