Tripping in Phnom Penh

Trip Start Nov 10, 2005
Trip End Apr 30, 2006

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Sunday, March 5, 2006

After arriving in the late evening to Phnom Penh, Cambodia I was famished and went looking for food. I was called into a local house by some guys drinking and eating their dinner. They gave me a drink and then told me to dig in. It was then I saw that the main dish was none other than...bugs! I didn't know what kind of bugs they were, but they looked much like something you'd find in your yard, only these were fried and extra crunchy. I didn't stay long and went searching for something that was closer to my favorable to my palate. I found a pizza place called "Oh, my Buddha" and the pun was too delicious to pass up. The menu gave me the option making my pizza "happy happy"; it came with a free beer so I was obliged to try this. After returning to my guesthouse on the water my mouth started to feel dry and my eyes seemed heavy. I sat down in front the TV where some other tourists had turned on "The Wedding Crashers". I had already seen this flick but couldn't stop laughing. Then it hit me: the happy pizza was code for marijuana. So, within 3 hours of arriving I had been giving drugs without even knowing. Welcome to Cambodia! The happy substance was baked right into the crust of the pizza. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the movie in tears of laughter and ate a lot of chips.
I spend some time in Kampot, on the southern coast of Cambodia where I toured Bokor National Park; an old French hill station. Abandoned long ago the buildings are in now in ruins giving the station the feel of a ghost town. Formerly, the hill station had included a post office, a Casino and a church, no doubt to repent the for all the gambling. Leave it to the French to build a Casino in the Cambodian jungle, on top of a mountain, two hours from the local town! Watching the mist pass through the abandoned buildings gave the town a Tim Burton movie set charm.
There's not much in Kampot, mostly people go there to visit Bokor park but I found a guesthouse (Bodhi guesthouse) run by an Aussie, Hue, and a Cambodian, Dee, who are the kind of characters you'd find in "Dazed and Confused." I spent two days there waterskiing on the river and even tried their vaporizer. (To find out what a vaporizer is you'll have building (see picture) where flowers have engulfed its small frame. Very rad, tubular, excellent and far out!
At Bundhi I was invited one evening (or ten if I was willing) to teach conversational English at a local school. One evening isn't much but I was eager to lend a hand or mouth which I've been known to do with some ease. The school is run by Mr. T, a local who funded the school for the very poorest in the town. The class was comprised of many young monks all too eager to try out their newest phrases with me. Despite the lack of supplies, desks, proper lighting and well...everything else you might want in a school these kids were very engaged and all to anxious to find out my marital status. It was an eye-opening evening.
As for my attire, I am now decked out in all kinds of fake brand name clothing. I even bought a Rolex and after two weeks it's still ticking.
As per special request, I have included some pictures of the ladies of Cambodia in all their beauty.
I'm off to tour Angkor Wat!
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