Phew, I am alive after my first venture out by myself...... I took myself on a trip to the central market (picture) which is an amazing art deco building stuffed with clothes (a bit Dinosaw Market like - the Herefordians will understand the reference), electronics, household items (a flashing Buddha is a definite must for any house). I had been there before last year so it was no shock to see the pigs trotters, intestines, blocks of fat etc all hanging up on hooks in the meat bit of the market. I also located the biggest indoor shopping mall in town - 3 floors! There is even an ice cream parlour. A new mobile phone network has been launched here and so there were dozens upon dozens of Cambodians all desperate to get this new phone in the mall today.
As I now have a helmet I could get a moto to town. A moto is basically a moped with a driver and they are used as taxis to get about - you just hop on the back of them. So today with this new found experience I was "moto-ing" all over town. The contact with people who may not speak English is also good as I got to practice my Khmer today quite a lot and even understood answers in Khmer too! - I came out of the shopping centre and had only a vague idea which way to go and my map reading skills are limited to say the least. Luckily the moto solves such problems. You just find one (or they find you) which takes about 3 seconds at most, and then you are zooming away to your destination of choice! Problem solved.
The afternoon was filled with beer and swimming - The latter being part of the new healthy living which is potentially incompatible with the first! I can see a pattern forming already so tomorrow new entertainment must be found!
Dinner was at amazing place run by students of an initiative called "Friends". This is a NGO for training street children and at this particular centre they are being trained to enter the restaurant industry as cooks/waiting staff etc. So the food is served and prepared by students learning the trade. Friends target group is homeless and vulnerable street children and adolescents and their families, who are at high risk of exploitation and physical and emotional abuse, especially through forced commercial sex and violence in the streets. So obviously a very worthwhile cause and also the food and service was really really excellent which adds to the "feel good" experience!