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Photographer's Note

.Take 6 (Click the number for info of entire trip)

This is the picture I took of Phsar Thmey or "New Market" in English, but for unknown reason, it has commonly been called "Central Market". I post this as part of my report of the trek toward Chong Kneas that will be a multi-day posting that we hope to be helpful to those who plan to follow our steps.

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Getting off the bus at Phsar Thmey, we walked straight to the hotel I stayed two years ago, just 3 blocks away. We went next to the nearby bank to exchange to donations from US dollars into local riel because tomorrow when I get off the speedboat, my destination is right by the boat station and I know it would be impossible to do such exchange over Tonle Sap where there is no bank, no market, and where people earn about a dollar per day to survive.

Do you remember the date and the day while on a trip to foreign country? — I didn’t. The only thing I paid attention is time of the day, since we have very limited of time for several projects (to be done, to be aborted, to be modified…). That’s the situation when we came to the bank and knocked on their closed door. To my question “Why you close at 2:00 PM?”, they simply smiled, “Sir, today is Saturday! We close whole day today!”

“What? Do I have to wait until Monday to exchange the money, and will depart to Chong Kneas on Tuesday? — No. I don’t have that much time to spend. My air-ticket to head home is next Sunday, and any change much be done in Saigon…”

That’s when my nephew stepped in. ”Uncle, jewelry stores always exchange currency, and they open seven days a week.”

We switched the direction and headed toward central market. Within minutes, we found one on “67 Street” or Sangkhak Street. Not only that lucky, we were offered the rate of 4,050r/dollar while the official rate at the banks is 4,000 even. Within a few more minutes, I became millionaire with nearly 4 million riels in my possession.

The next question is our own safety after we walked out of the jewelry store while anybody there knew exactly how much the two foreigners had in their pockets. I asked the store to use their phone, and called the Vietnamese taxi driver I met an hour earlier as we got off the bus. He came after 5 minutes. Before closing the door of his vehicle, I asked, “You know where Svay Pak is, right?— Let’s go.”

Accelerating his old Toyota, he replied with another question, “You meant K-Eleven, Sir?” Of course he wanted to confirm if we really want to go to the infamous red-light district. And he stole a glance at me in the mirror, as if I am a monster.

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 128 N: 2360] (8580)
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