A long way but not too far….

This is Sihanouk Blvd., a major east-west thoroughfare in Phnom Penh. When I came to Cambodia in 2000, there was only one store or shop on this street that had a closed front like this shop. All the others had iron gates with folding shuttered covers like the little shop on the right in the picture. Now almost every shop is enclosed with real doors and most even have air conditioning. Above this brightly-lit store front, though, you can still see the history of the street–a wooden-walled second floor with swinging wooden shutters, not glass windows. Sihanouk Blvd. has come a long way but it hasn’t escaped its past.

The revival is starting

As we were coming back from the Saturday evening mass tonight, we commented how the crowds are starting to reappear on the waterfront. For more than a year, the area along the river–the night time tourist center of Phnom Penh—was almost deserted because of Covid-19. Now people are out eating and enjoying themselves. This woman has her popcorn stand ready to go.


First there was the pharmacy. Then they added the coffee stand. And then, what the heck, let’s sell all kinds of drinks! And unless someone sleeps out in front every night, they set all this up in the morning and put it back in the shop every evening.