I arrived in Phnom Penh at the civilized hour of 10 a.m. A nice contrast from all of the confusing, late night arrivals that seem to be an integral part of my travel experiences. I walked around the bustling capital and soaked it all in. Asia! That giddy frisson of being in a new place. The fascination of minutae. The nagging feeling of not having studied for the test, not having done enough research. Not understanding enough about what I am seeing.
It was hot, and humid. Mid January is the dry cool season, but the temperatures were in the 90s with a sucker punch of humidity to seal the deal. After a couple of hours of rambling, I stopped in at the Foreign Correspondent's Club, so far it has made my short list of one of the best places to grab a drink, anywhere. It is in a beautifully restored old colonial building, and from the second floor terrace you can sit and look out over the Tonle Sap river and one of the main boulevards. Geckos inhabit the walls. There is a constantly changing assortment of things to see from the terrace; Fishing boats plying the river, scooter and motorcycle traffic on the streets, monks in their bright orange robes, an elephant strolling south.

I headed back out and beat the streets for a while, walking at random, taking it all in. Eventually I hired a tuk-tuk driver and headed south, out of the city and into the rural countryside. 

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009