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Published: September 2nd 2010
Well after almost a month its time to say goodbye to Cambodia. I have definitely enjoyed my stay. After finally leaving Siem Reap I headed to Phnom Penh for a couple of days. I did my duty and voted in the Federal Election (not sure what good it has done) and FINALLY secured the refund from Bangkok Airways for my Singapore-Samui flight. I have to say it was nice to see my credit card balance back at a big fat ZERO!
Phnom Penh is a fairly big city and coming from Siem Reap it was a hard to get used to having to pay a tuk tuk to get anywhere but for what it is I enjoyed it.
I visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and then headed out to the Killing Fields. These were both fairly full on, I didnt expect the Killing Fields so be so just open (it's hard to explain). I think the statistic was that in Cambodia they found 197 mass graves but only 60 something have been excavated. Therefore many of the graves still contain the bones and clothes of Khmer Rouge victims. This is very hard for me to understand, I think
perhaps the government doesnt have the money or doesnt want to spend it but really these are people we are talking about, people who deserve to be buried. The worst thing is that each rainy season the water causes bone fragments and items of clothing to work their way to the surface. So you could literally be walking over or amongst the remains. I'm sorry if this is disturbing but the fact is, it IS disturbing! And it only happened 30 odd years ago.
But onto brighter things, from PP I headed south to Sihanoukville which is acclaimed to be Cambodia's premier beach town. Well it was on the beach yes, but for me it seemed like a massive party town. Don't get me wrong I like a good night out as much as the next guy (ie hippie club night) but this place seemed full of westerners who were spending months and I mean months just partying every night. They all seem to get 'work' in the bars and in exchange for accommodation, food and alcohol they pour a few drinks and hand out some flyers. I did have a good time, but I was only there 3
nights which was defo enough.
From Sihanoukville it was on to Kampot which is a sleepy little village on the banks of a river. Coming from Sihanoukville it seemed rather dead but I didn't mind, my room had a TV! So I spent my two nights there relaxing and enjoying some english movies. I did a day trip out to Bokor Hill Station which is a deserted town on the top of a hill. Its pretty cool, the French built it in the early 1900's as a place to get away from the heat of PP but when the civil war started they abandoned it. It was amazing to watch the clouds, yes clouds - not fog roll up and over the mountain. We had to trek up the mountain for about an hour and half which despite wearing thongs I managed to accomplish with a minimum of fuss. Our group was accompanied by our guide 'Tree' (he was given this name by some UN soldiers due to his tree climbing abilities) as well as a Park Ranger. The Ranger walked ahead of us brandishing a very old and slightly rusty looking Russian automatic weapon, I believe it was
a Kalishnikov! ha ha. I asked Tree what the ranger was going to shoot (hoping he didn't say foreigners who annoy him) and turns out there is a minuscule risk of large monkeys or bears attacking tourists. To be honest I think I would have felt safer with the bears than that old thing, there's no telling where the bullets would go flying! The most interesting thing was that while the ranger accompanied us on the way UP the mountain, on the way back we were to fend for ourselves, perhaps they didn't think bears liked going down hill?
After Kampot I headed just down the road to Kep, an even smaller town on the beach. I arrived in the afternoon and intended to head to the beach. Unfortunately the beach wasn't really of swimming standard an the sand was certainly not white so I opted for a walk around town instead. The following day I spent on Rabbit Island, a small island only 30 minutes by longtail. The sun was out (first time in a few days) so I had a glorious morning sunbathing and swimming and spent the afternoon relaxing in the shade whilst swinging in a
hammock. That my friends is the LIFE!
Today I took an early bus back up to PP and tomorrow I'm heading to Lao. I have enjoyed Cambodia a lot but I am ready for something new I think. I meet Courtney in Vientiene on Thursday so I have until then to make my way from the 4000 Islands in the south to Vientiene in the middle.
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