Pit stop in Phnom Penh again...

Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
Trip End Jul 22, 2008

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Where I stayed
New Lodge Guesthouse

Flag of Cambodia  , Phnom Penh,
Friday, May 2, 2008

Since I backtracked a wee bit, it was easiest and made most sense to head back to Phnom Penh. So i grabbed the same slowboat back from Rabbit Island to Kep, walked to the side of the main road and put down my backpack and waited for a ride. There is never a need to worry aboot a ride as they are always motorbike drivers wanting an extra dollar or two in their pocket and will always ask you for a ride. So i waited just a few mins, til this guy stopped and i said i needed a bus to Phnom Penh so he drove me not too far down the road to this family's restaurant/tour office and got myself a ticket. Had to wait 2 hours so just mooched around the wee town for a bit. The locals at the restaurant were laughing hysterically at me when i arrived, not sure why or what i did but nice to see smiles and laughing anyways even if it was at me.

So hop on the bus, picked a prime seat, the very front one with the best view. It was a full coach but i was the only tourist so that was nice...feel like i'm traveling again properly after Vietnam...yet i still feel a level of comfort in Cambodia, it's nice! A mother and young girl sat next to me, it was all good until the girl started blowing chunks...oh noo! It went all over my leg and foot and all over the mother as well obviously and it was pretty disgusting but hey shit happens..the mom apologizes and cleaned it up. I didn't switch seats as i didn't want to be rude but when the girl puked again.. i decided it was time to move to the back of the bus... no worries! I kept noticing all the minibuses drive by that are absolutely packed to the rim and way beyond. I thought Africa was bad...uh no. There are motorbikes tied to the back to the minibus along with many other things that makes the van at least half as long again and then aboot 15 people with their luggage sitting on top of the van...talk aboot efficiency! My guess is that the coach is too expensive (as it's not bad and air conditioned) for the less fortunate and these minibuses must be dirt cheap with how much they put on them.

So then it started pissing down with rain... i was thinking what a good day to be on a bus..there were huge pools of water everywhere. After 4-5 hrs, the bus arrived back in Phnom Penh, grabbed my backpack from the bottom of the bus to find it in a large pool of (nasty) water...a hole in the bottom of the bus i guess. So my whole pack was literally drenched from tail to toe (first for that eh?)...lifting it was a real struggle as i think the weight doubled to 30kg or so. What can ya do tho? I was only staying in Phnom Penh for one night so not enough time to dry everything (especially with the damp humid air) but did hang out most stuff to get a start. It was only til 2 days later when i could completely empty everything from my pack (alot of stuff to find after 5 yrs)...it was time for a good wash anyways so took Red Roger and Harry (my backpack and mascot) in da shower wit me! haha

Anyways so just stayed one night for a stopover before heading West to Battambang....so nothing too exciting to report except for my debacles. Oh last time i was in Phnom Penh i visited an orphanage which i think i forgot to mention....and i'm still keen on hopefully doing alittle bit of volunteer work while in Cambodia. I see a few postings here and there but like at the orphanage most places want a month of your time..i was thinking more of a week so haven't found the right place yet. Please hold!

So i am enjoying Cambodia as i find it very easy to talk to people, they are very personable for the most part and friendly and easy to build rapport with i find. Everyone keeps saying how corrupt this country is still but i don't really see it even though i know it's true. The locals say that no one trusts anyone and they only look out for themselves which i can understand in a way after being deceived and held as prisoners for years. But as a tourist i don't experience that.. the locals are ever so friendly and helpful to me anyways and they seem to be appreciative of tourism so it's nice in that way. I'm reading a book about alittle girl and her family's experience during the Pol Pot Regime and it's heartbreaking but puts into perspective while being here what people acutally go through (and still are today in certain countries)... apparently 1/4 of Cambodia's population, 2 million people were killed by 1979..crazy!

It's also weird that they use the US dollar here. Out of the ATM you get $US and then when you get change smaller than a dollar, they use their own currency, the Riel (4000 Riel = 1 dollar). It's easier apparently....

Phew...wow that's a lot of info for not doing anything in Phnom Penh...hope it was at least interesting...cheers!
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