Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey


Gallery 2:  PHNOM PENH II
Cyclo Tour of the City
As our guide warned us, the country is poorer than the previous countries we visited over the last month. Many people cannot work and beggars gather around the tourists asking for money. We saw first signs of this as we drove to our hotel: The Angkor International. Right beside our stop was a man, all bones, injured, lying on a a rag with a tin cup. All along the street were "goods" for sale, and later, we noticed that they were all old -- used sandals, clothes, etc. The people were not dressed as neatly as in Vietnam - and many seemed to be struggling more to stay alive.

After a rest, started off on a tour of the downtown area that featured many heritage sites. The tour we took was on cyclos  (pronounced see-cloe). These three-wheeled conveyances were introduced to Phnom Penh streets in 1936 and are a very silent and graceful way to travel through the busy city streets. 

We sat in a bucket seat between two large bicycle wheels in front of a collapsible canopy. The driver perched behind on a high seat above the third wheel, which gave him good visibility of the road ahead. The cyclo was pedal powered and the brakes were operated by a hand-pulled lever behind the driver. The seat had a footrest which the driver tilted to help us get in and out, and which also provided some protection from other vehicles. 

We were told that the Cyclo drivers are among the poorest of the urban poor in Cambodia. They tend to be older, often from the countryside and they generally don't speak much English. Their curious cyclo vehicles provided a unique and exciting way for us to see the multitude of sights as the hectic activity of this bustling city whirled around and past us. 

Sadly, the cyclos are apparently dying out as the younger generations lean toward  faster motorcycles and tuk tuks for city transportation. The slower more romantic cyclo, however, is an ideal way to observe the city population, streets, trees, architecture, landmarks, and all the points of interest in this vibrant and densely populated city. 

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GALLERY 2: Cyclo Rickshaw Adventure
On the Streets of Phnom Penh

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Copyright 2015
Bill and Sue-On Hillman