Walking down Road 6A to CSC

March 26, 2023

My walk down Road 6A to and from CSC is always an interesting one. The various shops and stalls, and the people that inhabit them, accompany me as I walk before and after a long day at CSC. They also serve as a reminder that the area around CSC and Phnom Penh as a whole is changing.

The first thing I see as I walk onto Road 6a from where I live is a small, covered stall selling a plethora of snacks, meals and refreshments. The stall is a welcome splash of colour to start the day, with the stacks of red instant noodle packets hanging from the stall contrasting with the light green shells of the coconuts sitting below them. Often, I see people having breakfast here before they rush off from their small plastic chairs to their motorbikes.

Further along my route, there’s a small allotment selling potted plants of various hues. The beautiful flowers and shrubbery surround three beautifully painted wooden birds; two large parrots and a peacock. As I walk by early in the morning, I wonder how these flowers survive in the heat of the Cambodian sun and also who painted these wooden avian statues with such painstaking detail. The allotment almost makes me think that I might be in a more rural part of Cambodia if not for the noise of the tuk tuks and motorbikes that speed past on my other side.

My walks down Road 6a cannot be complete without mentioning the confusing juxtaposition of the simple food stalls and the large new spacious stores selling mattresses or lawnmowers. These modern stores are always empty and uninhabited, unlike the food stalls. I see neat rows of shiny, bright coloured lawnmowers; completely untouched and unblemished unlike the big cooking pots resting outside the food stalls. I wonder if locals sitting outside in the food stalls ever venture inside these bright clinical-looking stores; who might be in need of an electric lawn mower in Phnom Penh?

One walk which stood out to me amongst others was the day two hornbills had perched on some electrical wires outside a gas station. I had wondered why so many locals had gathered around the wires but seeing these two magnificent birds I understood. This was a moment where it really hit me that I was no longer in a dreary UK town and was firmly in the tropics of Cambodia.

Author: Will Wong

Hi, my name's Will and I visited CSC as a final-year medical student from the UK, for 6 weeks between February and March 2023. My time at CSC has nourished my interest in surgery, global health and paediatrics. In my free time, I like to cook, listen to soul music, and read non-fiction books.

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