Friday, October 7, 2011

Phnom Penh Cambodia - Day 2

The following morning we were up bright and early. Right after breakfast we rode a tuktuk to yet another temple. Wat Phnom (“Temple of the Mountains", "Mountain Pagoda”) is a Buddhist temple built upon an artificial hill. Even at that early hour, the place was buzzing with activity. People were trekking to the top to make offerings; there were vendors, some were selling birds that one could then set free to obtain good luck for the day. On the grounds below, people were gathered around an elephant, watching as visitors fed it bunches of bananas and even gave it several “Coke” bottles to drink.

Wat Phnom

Our bus back to Ho Chi Minh was leaving at 1130 am so after Wat Phnom we went back to the hotel to check out and proceeded to the Central Market. Once again we became fascinated with the variety of merchandise available. After a few more purchases, we walked through the food and fresh produce section on the way to the bus terminal. We were hoping to catch a quick lunch at the market.

Among other things the selection of fruits was delightful. There was this one fruit that was totally new to me so we went to take a closer look. The lady vendor offered me a taste; it was very good and I decided to buy some. The place was quite cramped and crowded. I was engrossed with making my purchase when a lady vendor from the adjacent stall called my attention and pointed to my shoulder bag. This bag had lots of zippered pockets and the pocket that was facing away from me was open and the strap of my camera was dangling out! Through sign and body language, the lady conveyed to me that she had scared away the pickpocket who had attempted to steal from my bag! Luckily nothing was taken. Whew! Thanks to the vigilant lady!

What fruit is this?

We quickly walked away from the crowded market and went to eat lunch at a quieter restaurant before boarding the bus (this time it was a VIP double-decker bus). Once again we went through Cambodia and Vietnam immigration at the border. We were back in Ho Chi Minh a little past 5pm. 

Note: A few days after posting this, my daughter texted me from Bangkok to inform me that she had just tasted a popsicle with this mystery fruit flavor. The fruit is called salak (snake fruit); it originated from Indonesia but is now grown in Thailand and Malaysia.

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