Trip Start Jul 20, 2006
37Trip End May 10, 2007
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So, we pull into the capital city of Phnom Penh, all is well in the land of inappropriate monks and utter road chaos. Thankfully we splurged for the $10 bus cause it had a bathroom, which I used 15 times in a matter of 6 hours. Safe to say, that peeing while trying not to touch the toilet (that means standing up) in a moving vehicle (worse off the back of a bus on a Cambodian road) was a challenge. But arrived in one piece, perhaps with pee on the back of my legs, and asked the tuk tuk driver to take us to stay somewhere by the river.
When we pulled into the street, I had that feeling like, "we're in the ghetto." Monica jumped out to check the place out and comes back with a "well it's clean." So, we disembark, pay our driver $1, and climb 5 flights of stairs into what I cannot even explain as a hotel room. Turns out, what we thought was the ghetto in the surrounding environs of our $10 hotel, turns out to be the posh part of town. EKK!
Currently Monica and I are sitting in an internet café. While Monica is next to me, she has a monk looking over her shoulder reading the e-mail she is writing to her boyfriend, Dave, that begins with "hey baby" which is basically porn literature as far as monks are meant to go. However, we've come to learn that monks here in Cambodia, are all too excited to see a western girl. Our initial reaction to the monk love was that they wanted to practice their English. Then, our trusted friend and tuk-tuk driver told us that at night, some monks ditch the robes and opt for a pair of Levi's and a pack of smokes to hit the clubs. We were in disbelief "no way," we thought. Well way, we are now firm believers that the monks are mischievous around these parts.
Yesterday, Monica and I were walking around the Royal Palace when we ran into a 20 year old monk walking with his brother. We started to chat and should have known better when his second question to us was, "are you married?" Well, Mr. Monk in red asked us back to his pagoda. "Come to my pagoda, I will give you a tour," he claimed.
We were excited to get a first hand look at his pagoda, but little did we known, that meant his room. I had flashbacks of college frat boys asking me to come see their lava lamps in their rooms as a cheesy, bullshit line to try and hook up with me. So, there we were, staring down the monks bedroom with another half clothed male monk inside.
We told him it was inappropriate for us to enter and asked him to show us the outside of the temple more. The rest of the time he kept asking, "how come you did not want to see my room" in such a sad tone.
Hey Lady! I'm not usually "lady like" but now I have no other choice than to be referred to as a "Lady". "Hey Lady" is shouted at me from every which direction at all moments in time.
"Hey Lady, you need tuk-tuk?"
"Hey Lady, you want to buy post card?"
"Hey Lady, do you want to come back to my pagoda to see my monastery?"
Hold your breath, honk your horn, and go. This seems to be the theory when it comes to driving around town. Wrong side of the road, seven way intersections with no traffic lights, something does not make sense, but it happens to all make sense. Crossing the street is tricky to say the least. That is, if you can manage to weave your body in, out, around, and through the bikes, motorcycles, tuk-tuk's, cars, trucks, and whatever else is grazing on these city streets.
After a chaotic day on the roadways, and a depressing visit to the killing fields and torture museums, we opted for a foot massage riverfront and we're ready to say, "spent one day, which was 5 days too many in the capital city." So, tomorrow we're off, heading south. Be careful when you cross the road, I hear my mother saying, "look both ways," which I am now beginning to think only works in western countries.