Arriving at the end of butcher's row we passed through the central heart of the market from which its branches spoked out. This section was well lit. It gleamed and sparkled with the gold and gems sold at the stalls in that area. We passed into another branch and arrived at the food court.
We were newly arrived in Phnom Penh and had not had a chance to sample Window Bench Guys, so we explored the section to see what sort of fare was being served. It seemed to be mostly a basis of noodle broth soup with several variations. Neither of us particularly wanted soup that morning. Luckily, in the far corner was a fried noodle and rice station. We sat down and had a familiar meal instead of getting too adventurous. I found a drink stand and somehow ordered an ice-coffee that was pure condensed milk and took it back to my noodles in a take-away bag with a straw.
We were just settling down to our food when a young lad approached us selling newspapers. Today was his lucky day. George Bush had just "won" the U.S. presidential election, making it impossible to refuse to buy a paper. There on the front of The Cambodia Daily the long reach of U.S. politics smiled triumphantly out at us in the form of George W. Bush. We glanced over the article and finished off our noodles, wondering what the next four years were going to bring.
We weaved our way out of the market's labyrinth, into the bright sunlight and headed off in the general direction of Tuol Sleng. Sweat was soon pouring out of our every pore so we hailed a passing siclo (three wheeled bicycle with a passenger chair in the front) and both piled in. The elderly wiry driver worked away at the pedals with amazing dexterity, gracefully maneuvering between cars and motorbikes which approached us from every direction. The slow, rhythmical movements of the peddling gave us a chance for a leisurely view of Phnom Penh city life. Soon we bumped and clattered down a small dirt road and unloaded ourselves at the gate of the prison.