Phnom Penh is changing at an incalculable rate. It is evolving so quickly that even from my last visit four years ago, I barely recognize the streets I once shuffled my well-worn sandals through. Now, the streets of my old neighborhood are proudly adorned with a new facade of artistic, stylish restaurants and a collection […]

Phnom Penh is changing at an incalculable rate. It is evolving so quickly that even from my last visit four years ago, I barely recognize the streets I once shuffled my well-worn sandals through. Now, the streets of my old neighborhood are proudly adorned with a new facade of artistic, stylish restaurants and a collection of boutique coffee shops. Bigger buildings and prime real estate positions are now occupied by logos of branded international chains. Indeed, the very apartment from which I am writing this letter is situated between Domino’s Pizza on one corner and Starbucks on the other, both institutions newly arriving since I was last here.
Walking through the streets was once a crazy game of avoiding high-speed motos and low-speed tuk-tuks that whiz on by, but now one has to avoid the multitude of 4×4 vehicles and saloon cars bumping and grinding into each other in the already minimal gaps left between the pedestrians and motorcycles. The cars are old and dusty, but rarely one may see an outrageous display of wealth when a Bentley, Hummer or Rolls Royce honks its way through the traffic, demanding attention and right of passage.
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