Published: July 14th 2012July 14th 2012
To follow on from my last blog this trip is going to be the single best move i've made in a long time, i had the oppotunity to not come due to circumstances at home. i could have taken that option without issue however i like to think of myself as an individual, i am not deined by the fact that i was married therefore the only option i wanted to take was to continue as planned and travel.
The last time i wrote i had just arrived in Bangkok, since that point i took a flight to Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia, the flight was memorable as it was through a thunder storm, i've never really felt like a yo-yo before but i guess there is a first time for everything, it was kind of cool and frightening in equal measure, i used to suffer from a HUGE fear of flying and now don't, why? The ability to read i guess, i educated myself on flying ad therefore now feel no fear . within it there were issues of control, i didn't like not being in control, yet the question still remained if it were me at the controls could i do it better? Answer, definitely not.
Upon arrival in Phnom Penh i was met with an easy visa process which has been made difficult by the authorities, the process sounds simple, queue to hand in documents (entry form, visa application, customs form, passport) with a passport photograph (if you don't have one its $2) then join another queue. Behind the desk there are loads of people in a kind of conveyor belt approach i guess. A guy then shouts your name or shows your picture depending on if your name is simple or not. You pay them $20 for thirty days, which is pretty reasonable all told. So far so good, then the fun starts. You queue for passport control and for me, i backed the wrong horse. My guy was twice as slow as everyone else, so much so a flight that landed after my own was pretty much all through before me and a French guy from my plane.
I opted to get a taxi to my accommodation rather than a tuk tuk as it was raining pretty heavily, it was interesting though as it kind of felt as though i was directing the driver, he didn't have a clue really. I opted to stay at the Star Wood Inn based on some reviews I had read, this was an error on my part, not because it was bad accommodation it was ok, but because it was so far out of the riverside area. This became apparent when i got a tuk tuk down to the area later that evening to get some food and some drinks, i'm not sure what it was but i just didn't really feel that safe walking the streets on the night, its not very often i get that sort of feeling but it was on my mind the whole time, the other thing which surprised me a little was the numbers of people begging, specifically those with their children in their arms whilst you were trying to eat dinner. I understand that Cambodia is a pretty poor country and the issues that brings but it just took me aback a little. So after a few drinks and some food i headed back to the hotel and got some sleep, in all honesty though i wasn't looking forward to the next day that much, and when you consider Phnom Penh was my first stop, it wasn't the greatest night sleep i've had.
The next morning I was up and out by 7am in order to go to S-21 and the killing fields before catching an afternoon bus to Siem Reap. It was certainly a memorable experience, not something i really want to blog about because i feel its a fairly personal experience and whenever i read something where someone starts on those sorts of topics i tend to stop reading. This point also explains the lack of photos to date, this will be remedied from Siem Reap onwards.
I had opted to travel with Giant Ibis to Siem Reap ($13), so the most expensive option currently, but it had wifi, massive seats, loads of leg room, a TV, free food and water and was really quiet so you could get stretched out and rest up a bit. They also offer a free pick up service (which never materialised) so with about ten minutes before the bus left i asked one of the in house tuk tuk drivers to speed me down towards the night market where the bus leaves from. He did as asked and for large parts of the ride there were only two wheels in contact with the road! Add into it that a huge rainstorm had descended onto the city and it makes for a really great experience and one to remember.
So i left Phnom Penh with mixed feelings, I had achieved my aim of learning more about the Khmer Rouge and their terrible actions but hadn't really enjoyed my experience, i was hoping Siem Reap and Angkor would sort that out for me, lets hope it does.........