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Published: June 15th 2011
June 4th - 12th, 2011
We finally made it into Cambodia and I loved the people right away. Everybody you pass, they are always waving and happy to see tourist. After a few more hours on a fast boat down the Mekong River, we reached the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Instantly you can see how nice the Cambodian people are, they were always waving and always willing to help. I also loved the fact that they use the American dollar as their main currency so it was a nice break not having to always due the math on everything I bought. For dinner, I might up with everyone that was on the boat in at another “happy” restaurant and then out for some drinks but everybody was so “happy” that nobody said a word for over an hour. Thats some good “happy.”
The next day brought on the opposite feeling as we visited the killing fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (aka S-21 Prison). For those that don’t know the sad history of Cambodia since the Vietnam War should look it up. Basically, their leader committed genocide against his own people killing between 2-5 million
people, mostly by brutal execution, torture, and starvation. The S-21 Prison was a former high school which he turned into the main prison and torture chambers. The Khmer Rouge (the old communist government) first tortured and killed anyone associated with the former government, any professionals and students, any religious people, and the list goes on. Basically, they wanted only the uneducated farmers to remain to start a new class system and country. Just being and seeing that the rulers since have not changed or moved much in that prison to show the world the crimes that took place really makes you feel how brutal it must have been. If the prisoner hadn’t died, they were secretly shipped to the Killing Fields, which is where they killed and buried hundreds of thousands of people and covered it up only to be discovered 20+ years later. All of this made me think about the Holocaust and what did the world really learn from it. Growing up, the main lesson I learned was “Never Again” but these things are happening today and since then but what can we do? This also led to several deeper discussions I don’t want to go into on
a travel blog but it was a pretty sobering day, but an amazing experience none the less.
The next morning Nicci and I booked an early bus to the southern coastal city of Kampot. The only problem was that one of us, not going to mention names, forgot HER passport and iphone (in case the earlier hint wasn’t enough, I didn’t bring a cell) at the hotel so we jumped off and decided to take another bus that was leaving three hours later. After I fell asleep in the lobby, we took a walk along the river and ate a place that served some of the best tacos I have ever had. Words can’t really describe these crunchy pieces of heaven. After it was back on another bus for six hours. When we got there, we wondered around for a place to stay until we found something that seemed kinda similar to Jungle Beach (the place we enjoyed in ‘Nam). The only problem was we were so tired we just ate dinner and fell asleep. We had talked about renting a motorbike the next day and checking out a small town that was nearby, but after we woke
up the next morning, we just fell back to sleep again till late afternoon. Oh, well. When we did finally wake up, Nicci and I played a mean game of badminton, which she likes to think she won but really it was closer to a tie.
Once again, we had to be up early to catch a two hour cab ride back to Phnom Penh and then right onto a bus to Siem Reap for another five hours. Since we didn’t arrive till late, we just had a meal in town and headed to a pretty good night market. Since I have to send another package home soon, there was a few things I wanted to get but it had started to rain and we had to be up early the next day, so we decided that we would come back the next night to do some buying.
Today we went to see Angkor Wat and the other temples in the complex. Everyone we talked to suggested we get there by sunrise so we got up at 4:30am and were out the door by 5am. When we got there though there were still a good number
of people that had the same idea and in the end, I was very disappointed with the sunrise there since it doesn’t actually rise near the main temple. We took a few photos as it started but decided to beat the crowd inside the temple which was nice to see without people everywhere. We then continued on to the next complex which was the Bayon Temple. This was my favorite temple of them all cause there were hundreds of faces carved into all these stones and you could walk anywhere you wanted and saw cool stuff. By this time though it was getting really hot so the rest of the temples were kinda a drag. We did also see the Temple, otherwise known as the Tomb Raider Temple since they filmed the movie Lora Croft: Tomb Raider there. This was also pretty cool since the buildings are so old that trees nearby started to grow around them. This was one of the coolest places that I have ever seen despite the heat.
We were back to our hotel by 1pm and used the afternoon relaxing by the pool and resting. While showering to go out, it started to
rain and it just kept getting harder and harder, so we had to wait awhile before going into town for dinner and back to the night market. We also decided to stay at the market and drink at a bar that had some real fun bartenders. In the middle of our drinks, Nicci and I decided to get our ears cleaned at some massage parlor that stuck these sticks in our ears, set the sticks on fire which then smokes out any ear wax all while getting your face massaged which was absolutely wonderful. I tried to send the package, well actually a full book bag, home but didn’t have time to since the post office closed by noon that day. We also took a cooking class which I made fried spring rolls and some other dishes that I forgot the name of. Nicci was a natural in the kitchen, I didn’t even know how to chop the food up and the teaching staff were laughing at me the whole time.
Now we are heading back to Bangkok, Thailand where I will catch a flight to Delhi, India and Nicci heads south through Thailand. We took a bus
that left at 2am cause we heard so many horror stories about crossing the boarder between these two countries and how busy it can get. This way we got to the boarder just as it was opening and got through pretty quick (within an hour). This also would give me a chance to finally send this bag home but just my luck, the post office was closed that day, now I have to take it on my flight and to India. For our last night together, I figured I would take her on our first official date to a nicer Japanese restaurant and to see Hangover 2 (in Bangkok where the movie was shot). The theater was pretty cool, and when you buy tickets you see a map of the available seats, you buy specific seat numbers, and depending on the location and size of the seat you want, you get the price. Also, right after the previews, they play their national anthem with photographs of their king doing charity work and such. Unfortunately, we were so tired from the night before, we both were nodding off during the film, but the parts I remember were funny.
those that are curious, Nicci and I did NOT get married, the whole marriage annulment was with a Cambodian girl I met. Just kidding, no marriage took place at all, i just thought it would be funny to post that on Facebook. After saying my goodbyes to Nicci and giving her a farewell handshake, hopefully I will be meeting up with her again on this trip, I had to leave for the airport around 5:30am to catch a 7:30 flight. Since I was still stuck with that bag I have been trying to send, the total weight of my bag this time was 17.4kg (compared to my first to flights which were 14.6kg and 15.7kg).
Tot: 1.1s; Tpl: 0.077s; cc: 13; qc: 31; dbt: 0.0226s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb