Driving into Phnom Penh from the south coast was a shocker, compared to my previous visit in May, 2004. There's more traffic with many new cars and motorbikes, freshly paved streets, more new buildings, many newly remodeled and freshly painted buildings. This "sleepy" third world capital appears to be morphing into a modern, wealthy city.
The streets seem full of shiny new Toyota Land Cruisers.
The new Sydney Shopping Center / Escalators inside Sorya Mall (the only ones I've seen in Cambodia.)
Many new villas are rising right beside the shacks of yesterday.
The sumptuous Himawari Hotel / Golden Lion along Sisowath Quay.
But in reality Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, with average per capita income of only 450 US dollars.
Walk 100 feet from one of Phnom Penh's wide boulevards and you'll find deep poverty.
But poor doesn't have to mean miserable!
Return to Chris in Cambodia 2