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Outside In, Inside Out

By: Erna Eiríksdóttir Posted: July-02-2008 in
Erna Eiríksdóttir

Now that the rainy season has started many of us just want to curl up on the sofa and read a good book or watch a movie. Erna Eiríksdóttir takes a look at the options for spending your days inside, outside of your home.

If bowling catches your fancy, head over to SuperBowl in Parkway Square at 113 Mao Tse Tung Boulevard. It is the only 10-pin bowling alley in town, and with 12 lanes it tends to get crowded, especially at weekends. Advanced reservations unfortunately cannot be made as SuperBowl doesn't have a phone, so be prepared for a wait.

According to a long time bowler in Cambodia, the middle lanes from 3-9 are the best, if you can swing it. The prices for the lanes vary depending on what time and day it is, but $3 buys you 30 minutes and $6 gets you a whole hour during the day (for the group, not per person). After 6pm the prices go up to $4.50 for a half hour and $9 for one hour. Bowling shoes are $1 all day, and you can fit up to five people per lane.

Parkway Square also has bumper cars available for the action thirsty; $1 for a five-minute ride is enough time to get the adrenaline pumping and the cars bumping. And the fun doesn't stop there; there are also video games in a noisy arcade, a gym with an indoor pool and sauna, not to mention foosball and billiards tables.

If you want to spread your wings, you can also play billiards at one of the thousands of billiard and snooker bars in Phnom Penh. You can usually find one on every street, so you won't need your investigative skills on this one. Nanjing Snooker and Karate hall (No.320 Kampuchea Krom Blvd.) also offers karate lessons, as the name subtly suggests. Obviously a winning combination.

Good family fun can be found in Sorya shopping center, near Central Market. There is something for everyone at Sorya, be it rollerblading, window shopping or ice cream and fast food. On the top floor is a big skating rink that attracts people from all walks of life. Bring your own blades or skates if you have them or rent for $1. If you fancy the nicer ones you'll have to bust the bank to pay the extortionate price of $2. While whizzing around, be sure to check out the street fashion of Khmer teenagers. Sorya houses a movie theatre, though unless your Khmer is pretty hot be warned that it only shows Khmer movies with no subtitles.

There are nine cinemas around town and all show Khmer movies with no subtitles. But a fun way of escaping the latest downpour or intense city heat is to catch the latest Khmer horror flick. The ticket price of 5000 riel is a bargain. Cine Lux, No. 44 Norodom Blvd. does show the odd film from Hong Kong.

For culture buffs looking for something more than a market to stroll around, why not check out Phnom Penh's numerous galleries. Street 178 is home to the Reyum Institute at No.47, displaying some of the best contemporary Cambodian arts from the Reyum Art School. The Two Fish Gallery café, at No.9 on Street 278, holds contemporary art shows by the owner, David Huang, and invited international artists. Two Fish doesn't stop there; they have art and Chinese calligraphy classes along with Asian cooking classes.

The CCF (Centre Culturel Français), at No.218 on Street 184, is perfect for a lazy day. Not only does CCF have art exhibitions, but there is also a library and a cinema showing mostly French movies with English subtitles every other Sunday. There is also a small garden café where you can sit for hours with a good book from the library. One can also brush up on ones French or study Khmer in the CCF language school, which is open to adults and children alike. A public celebration of music, Fete de la Musique, will run at the CCF from June 16 to 21. Traditional and popular Khmer musicians, professional and amateur alike, will take center stage in the CCF cinema and at various bars in town. Check expat-advisory.com for more details.

The Meta House, No. 6, Street, 264, is the only night gallery in Phnom Penh, open from 6pm to midnight. Meta holds art exhibitions, by both Cambodian and international artists, and shows documentaries and feature films either in English or with English subtitles from Tuesday to Sunday.

A pleasant way to spend a Wednesday evening is to go to wine and cheese sampling at Rubies Wine Bar, corner of Street 19 and Street 240. Every Wednesday Jordyan Edmiston, a former wine educator from California, hosts Flight Night @ Rubies from 6:30pm to 10pm. Three glasses will set you back $12, or $16 with cheese on top. Jordyan is happy to answer any questions about the wines and loves to help people find their favorite. If the cheese doesn't satisfy your hunger pains, pop across to Tamarind, the Mediterranean restaurant next door. You are welcome to bring your dinner back to Rubies to accompany your wine.

The rainy season is no excuse to stay at home. It may be miserable outside, but there is plenty to do in Phnom Penh outside in. Or is that inside out?

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