Rain, visas and more rain.

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
Trip End Dec 21, 2009

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Lucky no 11

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Sunday, September 27, 2009

We caught a bus right down the middle of Cambodia to Phnom Penh. Our main aim here was to sort out our visas for Vietnam - something we had left rather late. We weren’t expecting any problems but we only had 4 days to get to Vietnam to meet Nathan so couldn’t really afford any delays at the same time. We arrived however on a Saturday and so the embassy was closed which left us with the Monday and Tuesday to get it all sorted providing there were no unexpected surprises in store for us.

It rained a lot that weekend. And not just any old rain - Cambodian rain - which threatened to wash you away the second you felt the first drop! And Phnom Penh was crazy. We stayed down these tiny little back streets on the river bank. Well to be precise we more stayed over the river bank. Our room was basic but the best part about it was that the common area with the bar and restaurant and tv was on stilts sitting over the river. A perfect view point for the awesome thunder storms we were able to witness.

The problem with the city was everything was so far apart - instead of having a handy city centre with everything within walking distance, it turned into a tuk tuk ride to everywhere. Which became a little tiresome. We checked out a few markets, got caught in some thunder storms, tried to make it to the royal palace twice but ended up being rained out of it on both occasions. And ended up going to visit an old prison from the genocide times which is now a very informative if slightly depressing museum. The history of Cambodia which we picked up when there was fascinating but definitely not for the light hearted. For such a small country it’s hard to believe the bloodshed it has suffered especially in relatively recent years.

We got our visas sorted with little hassle - despite the requirement for a passport sized photo. Similar to the Cambodian border crossing - money always seems to sort these technicalities out without much hassle. Or photos.

We left a day earlier than planned as there wasn’t a huge amount there to do and the incessant rain became enough to drive anyone out of the city. The rain did however result in one of the best moments of Cambodia for me. On the first occasion we set out to visit the royal palace we got stuck in a torrential downpour and had to run for cover under the nearest shelter for fear of being swept away. We ended up however finding ourselves as the only two white people in a very popular shelter which over the course of the thunderstorm drew an interesting and most diverse mix of people to shelter under it. The attention was soon drawn from us by a couple of kids starting what kids do best - showing off. The rain was so heavy it had actually formed a layer of water a few inches deep and they thought it was the best idea EVER to just throw themselves onto the concrete and slide along it. Despite the un doubtful pain it must have caused and subsequent bruises the following day it was nevertheless causing unquestionable fun there and then. They then started to become cheeky and launch themselves into the crowd of 30-40 people who were also under the shelter causing us to get soaked which slightly detracted from the purpose of standing under the shelter. It was hilarious though - more and more kids joined in and you could also spot the ones who thought they were obviously too cool or too old to join in but the yearning on their faces was all too clear. It was just a snapshot of life in Cambodia. For 40 minutes or so we stood under this shelter in the torrential rain with people from all walks of life. Monks, street kids, professionals, tuk tuk drivers, victims of the war and subsequent land mines, old people, young people and for once we didn’t get harassed about buying postcards or giving money to someone in need or taking a tuk tuk or anything else someone’s imagination could think up of we were simply another two people sheltering from the rain in Cambodia and enjoying the children’s delight at the rain just as much as every other person standing under the shelter by the river that Sunday afternoon. It was a wonderful storm.
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pipparush on

The War
in just a few pics and a few words you seem to bring the war to life ..... what a picture of human suffering and despair. You should be a journalist.
Mum xxx

ciaradoonerush on

Re: Nice pics!
Thanks - its really an amazing country! Hope you enjoy your travels!

unknown on

i wish that could never happen it's so sad to know that so many people died because of some crazy guys " ")

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