Trip Start Sep 03, 2006
50Trip End Jul 21, 2007
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Phnom Penh is a lot more modern and not as poor as what we were expecting. Patrick had been reading a book while in Cambodia,"Report from a stricken land" by Henry Kamm, and it depicted the city in a much worse state than what we found. Obviously things did change for the better since the publication of the book, 10 years ago. Even if the country is far from recovering as quickly as it could from the war that devastated it, due to a corrupted, careless of its people and incompetent regime, things got better recently, as confirmed by Saoyuth's parents.
Anything being built in the country is financed by Cambodians that fled abroad, typically schools in their hometown, homes for their relatives ,or for more costly infrastructures such as roads and bridges, foreign aid (people call them "Chinese road" or "Japanese bridge" depending on which country built it)... Nothing is done by the governement... except cut and sell the trees abroad, or any other business where they can pocket the money. Sad but true.
Scooter riding in Phnom Penh is fun
Back in Phnom Penh, and beside being ill and sorting out a few things (ie: Patrick going to the barber to get rid of 6 months of hair growth) we finally visited the city: the peaceful royal palace , the hill -topped with a pagoda- that gave its name to the city and the Tuol Sleng genocide museum.
The Khmer Rouge are free and live among the population
Our time in Cambodia is now over, and it has been a great experience to be part of a family, and see and understand the country a bit deeper than usual. It is likely we will come back in a few years to either visit Saoyuth's parents if they decide to retire in Cambodia or just show our future children (if any) the country of their mother, who knows? Our next destination is another politically troubled country, but with a lighter past: Myanmar, formerly know as Burma. We broke our piggy bank and bought two one way tickets to Yangon (Rangoon).