1 February 2010

Going Up, Going Down, Going Shopping

The Sorya Centre in Phnom Penh is famous for its Cambodian first; the nation's first escalator was installed here. When the centre opened Cambodians flocked to be among the first to have a ride, and in 2006 I remember well going there with one of the girls from the centre. She was nervous, awed and excited all at the same time as she climbed onto the moving stairs.

Those numbers of adventurers have fallen now although you still see some first-timers taking rides up and down the floors. But Sorya has another attraction; the Lucky Supermarket on the ground floor. With shiny floors and spacious aisles crammed with amounts of food almost unimaginable to many rural Cambodians, a trip to Phnom Penh's 'Lucky' must be an adventure. Afterall the difference between a modern supermarket and a traditional market is stark.

In fact today there was an extended family there, taking in the sights, eyes agog as they slowly walked the store. And the sight of foreigners with bulging trolleys of groceries also caught the attention. For a while they just stopped and stared, carefully surveying the contents of our cart; pointing, talking, smiling and for a brief moment wheeling our trolley away!

I don't think that they bought anything though. And if they'd seen our bulging trolley and our final grocery bill, I'm sure that their eyes would have bulged some more!

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