When I was in Phnom Penh recently, I discovered in the guidebook that there was a cafe called the “Lazy Gecko Cafe”. I looked it up on the map and saw that it was quite far from where I was staying and also from most of the areas I would be visiting. However, the pull to seek out this lazy gecko was strong and on my final day, I decided to hunt it down and sink a coffee or two.
I tried to memorise the map so that I would be able to follow roughly where to go, wrote the address down on a scrap of paper and flagged down a tuk tuk to take me there. I explained the name of the street and off we headed. In the right direction too, according to my pre-departure map study. I love travelling in tuk tuks. I feel safe, and part of the surroundings as they are open. And much more comfortable than being inside a car.
I sat back and enjoyed the jaunt through the streets, along the riverside, through the bustling market area and past grand colonial buildings. We veered down side streets, a left here and a right there and finally along a little lane where the Lazy Gecko was located.
Except it wasn’t. My tuk tuk driver asked around and was told that it had moved. They gave him the new address and I tried to work out roughly where it was. Back in the direction where we had come from, unsurprisingly and not far from where I had set off!
Back we headed, weaving through the streets again, past the main temple, the markets and the Palace. Near the riverfront, we veered into a network of criss-crossing streets and before long we drew up at the Lazy Gecko Café!
I was quite delighted and settled into browsing in the shop and taking some photos before I settled down with a refreshing glass of lemon soda.
I was curious about where I was though, and from my seat near the pavement, I tried to figure out which direction the river, and therefore my hotel, lay. I pored over my map and realised that it must actually be rather close but having weaved so much through the streets I had completely lost my orientation. So I asked the waiter which direction led to the river. He pointed to my left. I leaned over and peered through the trees on the roadside trying to get my bearings. I almost blushed with embarrassment when I realised that the building just across the road was none other than my hotel! I had taken a wonderful scenic tour of Phnom Penh only to find that what I had been searching for was right under my nose all along!
And isn’t that just like the thing? So often in life we spend time and energy searching for things that are much closer than we realise. In this case, though I have to say that not knowing this at the outset took me on a wonderful detour and gentle escapade, which in itself was highly enjoyable, before delivering me where I wanted to be. Right back where I had started!