Travel preparation

I talked with a guest a few days back, she was in Phnom Penh by coincidence, She had gone with friends to see Ankor Wat, and since she now had a 30 day visa to Cambodia, she decided to stay here and see the country, a country she did not even know by name before arriving. Now she was asking advise about what to see, where to go, where to stay and what to eat. At 6 AM. Just of the night bus from Siem Reap.

Another guest was buying a bus ticket, only he had not quite made up his mind where he wanted to go, SihanoukVille or Siem Reap, or perhaps Kampot. He went to Siem Reap, it turned out that was the next available bus.

Then we had a couple who arrived late in the evening, got up early, went to the killing fields, the genocide museum, the palace, the national museum and took the architecture walk in the early evening, they then took a morning tour of the city and left by bus to Siem Reap right after lunch. Their entire trip planned from home, including room bookings, all tours and bus tickets,

It is interesting to see how differently travel can be planned.





Speaking italian? Not at all, but we baked biscotti yesterday so that people can have something sweet with their coffee.

The plan is to have cake in the coffee stall,  we will try out many different cakes, and Lay is learning to bake them. Today I had to bake rye bread for the danish night, so no new cake. I’m thinking about making some sort of pineapple cake tomorrow, but we’ll see.  I don’t need to decide before 9 in the morning. And I might very well wke up with a new idea.

I’m open for input, but only if you’re actually coming by to eat some. Tell me ahead of time and I’ll try to have your favourite if you come here on your birthday.


A broken leg

We have had a few frantic days in the coffee bar, because one of our barristas broke his leg.

Luckily we had been searching for an assistant, and had just found one. She has now been tutored for 4 days and is flying solo today, she is doing really well, her coffee tastes just right. Her English is not very good, but she is picking up new words very fast, and she certainly knows the names of all our coffees.

Come by and meet Lay and ask her to make you a cup of coffee.

But do not use the “Break a leg” version of wishing us luck. Not this week!


Scrambled eggs

Never have I made so many portions of scrambled eggs in a row as this morning, it was the favourite breakfast today.

I’m getting better at juggling the reception with making breakfasts, so today all the ones I made turned out fluffy, and the toast was ready simultaneously with the eggs. Such are the small successes of a hostel owner.

All-day breakfast menu does lead to quite a lot of experience in the egg department. Many of our customers decide after a few hours of drinking, that if they don’t get their breakfast at 10 PM rather than 10 AM they may miss out all together, especially if they plan on nightclubbing after the bar closes.

The mystery of the unlocked door

One door lock suddenly cannot lock, the locksmith is on the way, but I am left wondering what on earth has happened.

It worked fine this morning, and this afternoon, the key looks undamaged, but the lock reacts as if the key had broken and half was inside the lock keeping it from locking. Weird.

I’m going to be looking the locksmith over the shoulder to see what on earth can have happened.

Thank heavens backpackers are resourceful people who take such things in their stride.

I wonder why things like this only happen when we are fully booked.

After closing time..

The bar here at Riverside Backpackers officially closes at 11 pm.

Last night it was about 12:15 before the last of the guys finished their “last call” drinks. It took so long because one of them kept falling asleep, and the other one had already reached his limit.

Tiredness and drunkenness aside they decided to go to another place and keep going, they shouldn’t have…

At the third bar (a girlie bar a couple of streets away, in the blue light district) the sleepy guy fell asleep again, while he was sleeping the other one got into an argument with one of the girls, so when they left the bar her friends were waiting outside, he got whacked over the head with something he insists was a sword. Head wounds bleed, they bleed a lot…

His tired friend woke up and got them out of there. Apparently just in time

Head wound or not he decided to just go home, so this morning when the alcoholic anesthesia wore off, he went to the hospital for stitches.

They are now sitting outside telling everyone about their adventure.

Running breakfasts

We have a breakfast menu, a fairly straightforward one, 5 versions of eggs, some combinations of fruit, yogurt, muesli, pancakes and juice, nothing too extraordinary, but it can get complicated enough when you are making breakfast for 7 people at 6:15 AM, naturally they don’t all want the same, but when the eggs suddenly run out, the bread turns out to be slices too large for the toaster, the butter has been left in the freezer and someone has stolen most of our spoons, it gets a little  bit stressful.

I have no idea why someone would steal our spoons, but there were only 3 left in the kitchen this morning. Luckily I just had time between customers to wash up.

Right now I’m thinking about ways to lock up the kitchen at night so no one runs off with the forks.


Yesterday was a good day for practicing language skills. We had guests from so many places that all of the languages any of us speak were in use.

My  own language skills don’t have much chance to stay rusty around here,  both Danish, Swedish, French, German and English got a bit of exercise.

And from the bar there was a lot of talk in Japanese and Chinese which I didn’t understand but it seemed to satisfy the customers.

None of the staff speak Spanish, but we could have used it yesterday.

It is interesting to hear so many languages spoken, and it always gives me a bit of thrill to find out how well we can communicate, even when many languages are spoken at once in one big mixture

Thursday, chess night

From Thursday 22/2 we will be hosting a weekly chess mini-tournament.

The tournament starts at 7 PM and we expect it to take about 3 hours.

We have 7 chess games ready, but if you play better with your own set you can bring it. The winner will have his (or her) name on the champions board for the coming week, there may also be a small prize.

So if you are in Phnom Penh and like playing chess, come on over and check it out.

Taking a side trip

After 7 months in Phnom Penh I decided to take a day off, to see a bit more of the country.

Checking out the places where I have not yet been the choise fell on Battambang.
I’d heard of the bamboo train and the bat caves and wanted to see what the hype was all about.

The town is quiet and charming, with some very nice buildings and an effort has been made to keep it clean. There are some very well kept park areas and a nice promenade along the river.

The trip from Battambang centre to the Phnom Sampeou, which sits on top of the mountain that holds the bat caves wasn’t very long and definitely worth it. We arrived at the mountain at about 4:30 PM, with just enough time to go up the 635 stair steps to the temple, and back down again before the bats started pouring out of the mountain. An amazing sight.

The next morning we went to the museum, we’d heard that it was a nice one. We were very disappointed. The museum was open, but the exhibits were all gone – it looked like the day after a very extensive looting. Half the room was filled with something that looked like scaffolding. It seems that the museum is being moved into a new building next door, I think they should have closed down when they too out all the exhibits. As it was it felt like a total rip-off.

After lunch we went out to see the new bamboo train, the same train and tracks as before, but moved out to the Banan temple area and reduced from a part of the infrastructure to a carnival ride, but it is still an interesting ride.

After that we went back to Phnom Penh.

Had we had more time I might have taken a cooking class, that seems to be the thing you do in Battambang, it was on offer all over the central town area.

All in all, Battambang was worth a visit, but it is nice to be back in the hustle and bustle of Riverside.