The Riverfront

Phnom Penh could be a city known for its watercourses, lakes, flood plains, and its relationship to water. Unfortunately the near-sighted government sees the lakes and flood plains mainly as prime real estate when they’re filled in, and of course guess who will benefit from selling public lands to private developers. Hint: not the people of Phnom Penh.

One asset the public still has access to is the waterfront along the Tonle Sap River in front of the royal palace. Recently when I was on the way to the Ash Wednesday service I passed the waterfront at sunset (a time when I normally am not near there) and was pleased to see the activities taking place.

The open area between the palace in the river is attractive
to all sorts of people in the evening.
The pigeons love it, too.
Families with children come to enjoy the openness and the grass.
The more well-to-do who can afford pets–and leashes!—
make a walk in the park part of their evening activity.
And not fully appreciated until you see them in action are these men enjoying a game in which they kick a ball or shuttlecock–but only with their feet when the ball is behind them!