After a week of catching up with old friends, learning about the recent tragic history of Cambodia, and getting used to culture shock, we decided to go on an early evening river cruise to celebrate our last night in Phnom Penh.
After five days sweltering in the humidity, I was ready for a break from the weather. Even as the daily afternoon rains poured down, it did little to stop the sticky heat. Getting out on the water, away from the traffic and buildings, sounded like a nice way to escape to somewhere slightly cooler.
Our boat departed from Riverside, an area filled with markets, restaurants and hotels, right next to the Royal Palace complex. As the boat pulled away from its mooring, we slathered ourselves with mosquito repellant and headed to the back of the boat to take in the scenery.
Being on the water gave me a chance to look at Phnom Penh from a different angle than what we had seen zooming past us from the back of a tuk-tuk. We were out of the thick of the moto drivers, away from the constant beeping of horns and the random odd smells of the city itself.
We saw fishermen trawling for catches, local youths hanging out on the concrete river banks, and the grand Sokha Hotel on the eastern bank contrasting with the fishing boats that were clustered behind it.
As our boat slowly turned back once it had reached the confluence of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers, Phnom Penh put on a beautiful view for us – a double rainbow.