Cambodia, four days to soak it up.
Trip Start Oct 01, 2007
99Trip End May 07, 2008
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We made good time until we got to this town where it took us 4.5 hours of sitting in traffic and moving at 0 miles an hour to get a mile up the road to get a ferry across the road. Hopefully someday they'll build a bridge and get over it...literally! We had no mun, barely any air con and another talkaholic 32kg backpacking danish dude behind us who told the poor unfortunate beside him his every shower, shit n shave he took since leaving home 5 MONTHS AGO! Painful.
This was all after the queueing at the border control. Most people in Vietnam have no clue how to queue. It was a mill up at the passport control of which the bus driver takes your passport and your $25pp for visa entry and then skips on ahead while everyone else grumbles and gets very tetchy with each other while waiting on the driver to call you up to pass through passport control. Why they dont just let you queue up yourself I dont know. Needless to say nobody copped on to what was happening for ages so anyone who was called out over the hundreds of people that were there and tried to move up the queue was moaned at as it was thought they were trying to skip the queue. On the Cambodian side its bus by bus and you queue up one by one and thats it done in 2 mins!
We got a good insight into how the Cambodian people live while sitting in the traffic. Poverty is one word. Lots of wooden shacks, women selling deepfried cockroaches and bugs on trays on their head, the smell of waffles and noodles and all sorts of cooking on the street, people sitting around on the mini plastic chairs drinking pure sugar cane juice. The dirt of the towns are amazing though, dust roads with tons of litter everywhere, beggars with scraps of clothes on, mostly children with no shoes. Hundreds of mopeds and jeeps with hundreds of people all piled into them. Lots of one person cars, namely Lexus and mercs so the money divide in this country is huge.
The first thing we noticed when we finally got to Phnom Penh is nobody hassles you about hotels or tuk tuks or anything when you get off the bus which is always a bonus when you are tired, hungry and somewhere new. Its a cute little place with huge restaurants and hotels with loads of lights all over them. This is where the money seemingly is. We seen a hummer the next day skimming around the beggars.
A tuk tuk next day out to Choeung Ek (Killing feilds) which we knew was going to be quite upsetting. Pol Pot and his murderous regime killed men, women and children, up to 300 a day very brutally at this spot. He wanted to cleanse the population and most 'prisoners' came from S21 a former school and were driven to their death here. Oddly enough this place was privatised and a Japanese company were paid an undisclosed sum to 'manage' this place as a tourist spot. Hence the $2 fare in. There is a huge monument displaying about 7000 skulls of those that suffered and some of their clothes. There is a very small amount of information though when there. We skipped the S-21 museum for obvious reasons though after seeing the killing feilds where I think there is more info what the regime did. The reason we put up the pictures on this site is to merely show people who read this at home who may not know about what happened in this beautiful country.
The royal palace is a must, there are quite a few temples and one with a gold buddha 90kg in weight with 2000 or so gems. Its in the silver pagoda where the floor is layed with silver tiles. Great food, nice town and the Cambodian people are very friendly. They are very welcoming and not as in your face or resentful towards you like in Vietnam. In our opinion we found some of the people in Vietnam a bit resentful to us because they seem to think if you are a traveller that you have endless amounts of money and that you should buy everything off them everyday. We are lucky we get to travel the world and support local causes and try to eat in local restaurants but that doesnt mean we have to buy every postcard off every street hawker. Nor does it mean that we have to listen to the locals bitching about us if we dont buy their braclets or paintings.
On to Angkor who..!