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Phnom Penh, le Cambodge intense

05/07/2019 455 Views

The Cambodian capital has something from Ho Chi Minh, Bamako and Paris. To visit, let's go!

Cambodia immediately evokes the sumptuous temples of Angkor and the period of the Khmer Rouge whose animated film "Funan" by Denis Do recounts the daily life under this totalitarian regime from 1975 to 79. This is the story of Choue and her husband Khuon, thrown on the roads as a million and a half other people to join labor camps. This time marked the cinema with films like Rithy Panh's "Missing Picture" or "S21, The Red Khmer Death Machine" at S21 Detention Center, Davy Chou's "Golden Sleep". Literature, with books such as J.F. Bizot's "portal" or "elimination" of Rithy Panh. Cambodia is an endearing Asian country that is said to resemble its neighbor, Viet Nam. Plains, forest, mountains, varied landscape. Then the bustle of the city: in Phnom Penh, mix of Khmer, Chinese and colonial architecture. Cars and tuk tuks emerge from intersections. Markets and bazaars abound. Ferries cross the Mekong non stop. At the foot of the golden and gleaming Chinese casino sleep poor devils in their tuk tuk. The Cambodian capital has the charm of Asia that would have crossed the road to Africa. A young, intense, creative metropolis with a vibrant nightlife. The edges of the river have become has been, apart from the Darling Darling club, the fiesta is now in full swing at Norodom Sihanouk at Topaze, at the rooftop of the Lumière Hotel, street 55, and at the Secret street 136 where the golden youth is rushing.

PHNOM PENH, DAUN PENH QUARTER

The street in Phnom Penh is colorful, full of life. Street vendors offer sweets, kebabs and drinks, family festivities are in full swing under canopies, and honking sounds at every moment. The Cambodian capital is divided into streets baptized by a number. Street 240, 227 Street etc. The Daun Penh district is teeming with shops, nail bars, beautiful hotels, some like The Pavilion, former colonial mansion, or the Penh House, with its terrace overlooking the city. Not to mention the boutique hotel Kabiki and its jungloo, love room-igloo in the middle of the vegetation.

PHNOM PENH, PLACE OF KING SIHANOUK

On foot, ten minutes from 240 Street is King Norodom Sihanouk Square. A few meters you will see the monument of Independence. It's a whole piece of Cambodia's history, Sihanouk. His statue-mausoleum sits in the middle of a monumental square that serves avenues loaded with shopping centers appreciated for the clim 'and skyscrapers under construction. Locals love to be photographed in front of King Sihanouk, tourists too. Nice building at night under artificial lights. If we have the courage to get up at 5am, we will see on this place and on the side of the wharves, men and women do tai chi chuan.

PHNOM PENH, STREET ART

After decades of misfortune, horrors, place to fantasy and creativity: painters, stylists, graffiti artists settle in Phnom Penhet get organized. Since 2014, a street art festival has been held, the Cambodia Urban Art. Street 93, Boeung Kak's neighborhood is home to the majority of murals, but on Street 240, next to Penh House, there is a street dedicated to portraits. Here, young singer with a tiare flower in the hair. It looks like the pretty night owls that you can meet in the evening street 308, district of the party where bars and clubs follow each other without being alike.

PHNOM PENH, STREET OF HAIRDRESSERS

The barber for men officiates on the sidewalk next to the fancy mopeds. As in Africa, everyday life takes place outside, and small street trades, hairdressers, barbers, do not know the crisis. But the municipality wants to ban both tents in the streets for weddings and shops on the sidewalk. Reason: safety because pedestrians are forced to walk on the road and slalom between cars.

PHNOM PENH, AN ENGAGED ARTIST

Em Riem, a young artist, has opened his own gallery, X-Em Galery, to be free to create and exhibit what he wants, in painting, fashion and sculpture. He works his paintings on burlap, the period of the Khmer Rouge inspires particularly, which does not correspond to the fashion of the moment but pleases a certain audience. His work aims to make his culture better known so that it can be valued beyond borders. He exhibited in March at the French Institute.

PHNOM PENH, THE NIGHT HOUSE BAR

This dilapidated house, the Mansion house was built between 1919 and 1920 by a wealthy merchant. Not far from the National Museum, this house was a private property abandoned under the regime of the Khmer Rouge, then occupied by the army. It is now intended to host events and parties.

PHNOM PENH, FRENCH COLONIAL DISTRICT

This area stretches from Wat Phnom north of the city center. Houses and public buildings, Belle Epoque and Art Deco style dating from the Protectorate period. The post office is part of the renovated buildings.

PHNOM PENH, AT ROMYDA KETH

This is the story of a talented stylist who left France with husband and children to open shop and shop in the homeland. A pretty, very chic woman, Romyda Keth knows how to give the garment a typically Parisian crazy look. His cross-ribbons, his embroidery, make his reputation. Note her very personal interpretation of the Chinese dress Qi Bao: traditionally uncomfortable, it is here in stretch fabric, in unexpected colors and prints. Here, to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Qi Bao is bright red and adorned with golden and colorful dragons or fans. Sale of accessories, shoes and handbags made in China at very reasonable prices. At Ambre.

… WELCOME TO HIS WORKSHOP!

It is here that everything is done, ennobling of the fabrics, cutting, assembly. It is good to work at Romyda, a woman and mother who employs women and mothers. A successful company is one that considers each employee to be valuable. This is the case here.

PHNOM PENH, THE SCHOOL THAT CHANGES THE WORLD

A few kilometers from the city center is Tous à l'Ecole, a primary and co-imagined elementary school, built by Tina Kieffer in 2005. It is a remarkable institution that provides solid teaching, social support and a philosophy that allows girls to win their freedom and that of their future children: they learn about equality between men and women, practice martial arts and participate in national tournaments. A fight for equal opportunities that we find in the film industry, notably at the Bophana Film Center, where young filmmakers make a point of portraying the problems of society and the place of women in Cambodian society.

PHNOM PENH, RUSSIAN MARKET

Market located in the north of the city, appreciated by tourists for its picturesque side, bric à brac and Ali Baba's cave. Locals also come here, sure to find engines, car parts. Otherwise, profusion of Buddhas, "kramas" this traditional peasant scarf (about 2 €) and other pieces of cotton or silk. You can enjoy lotus desserts, pumpkin, tapioca, coconut milk, glutinous rice, beans. Lotus fruits, guavas, mango. Go there before 5pm. The building, colonial style is worth the detour.

 … BEHIND THE DESK

With Tintin Khmer red exposed behind the coils of wire. In this market, you can see the little hands working, the little ladies cooking, the jugs sorting out their finds.

MEKONG SUNSET

Very Marguerite Duras, the atmosphere. We board beside the bridge of friendship between the Khmer Rouge and Japan. The boats weigh anchor towards Viet Nam, the ferries bring the fishermen to the other shore. The sunset on the Mekong is a pure moment of serenity and joy.
 
By Valérie Rodrigue on MarieFrance

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