Hello Moto?

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March 7th 2007
Published: March 16th 2007
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Chau Doc (Vietnam), Phnom Pehn, Siem Reap, Sihnoukville, (Phnom Pehn), Saigon (Vietnam)

Boeng Kak Lake, Phnom PenhBoeng Kak Lake, Phnom PenhBoeng Kak Lake, Phnom Penh

seen from our hostel room window
Phnom Penh (PP) 6 o'clock at night, when we arrived, is hot and sticky. At noon the heat is suffocating, even though midday temperature is "only" around 35 celsius. It has to be experienced, can't be explained. Can we please go back to Singapore (Hot & sticky) for some cool air? ;-) Some snow would be even better. Thank whoever for cold showers - and there's nothing else to be found, at least in budget accommodation.

Hello, moto? is the first thing you hear as soon as you step out of your guest house in Lakeside, the backpacker district in PP. Now we know where Motorola picked up its slogan! In this case, the Khmers (Cambodian people) want to provide a "taxi" service though, on the back of a small motorbike or scooter, preferably for the whole day. However, we opted for a Tuk Tuk, a small wagon, usually for 4 people, dragged by a small motorbike, to take us around to the main attractions in PP.

On recommendation from a couple of English girls we met our first night in PP, we headed off early, in "our" Tuk Tuk, to see the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, 15 km south
Everyone in Cambodia...Everyone in Cambodia...Everyone in Cambodia...

seemed happy to see us. This lot ran into the Mekong river, cheered and waved as we passed on the way to Phnom Penh.
of PP. In this part of the world, you better do like the locals, get up early, get the work done, rest during the day and come back to life in the evening. With this schedule you'll be just about OK with three showers a day.

- What is that, looks like a tree root?
- Wait, what's this, a tooth, surely it can't be?
You don't see it at first, but once you spot the first you see bone fragments, teeth and pieces of old clothes everywhere on the ground. Choeung Ek is a very grim experience, if you just stop for a second and look at what you're actually seeing. Otherwise, it actually looks rather peaceful.

Choeung Ek is where the Khmer Rouge executed thousands of people during their 3-4 years in power. It is the most well-known killing field, but there are about 19,400 killing fields throughout Cambodia. Towards the end, to save expensive bullets, they used to murder their victims with a bamboo stick, cut their throats slowly with palm leaves and other ways we don't even want to think about.

Whilst walking around the field, accompanied by our guide, looking at the
The river is the lifeline...The river is the lifeline...The river is the lifeline...

in this part of the Cambodian lowlands. Everything is done in or next to the river. Even the cows get a well deserved bath.
mass graves, we started talking about some of the terrible crimes against humanity throughout history. Nazi Germany's concentration camps came up and we started comparing. At least Hitler had an objective, if a grossly flawed one, to make life better for the Arians. But, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge seemed to want to make things worse, a lot worse, for everyone. It doesn't make any sense at all!

Teachers, doctors, monks, educated people, pretty much anyone who were against the Khmer Rouge, got killed. In Choeung Ek, the Khmer Rouge didn't even bother to use them as labour in the same way as the Nazis did - although they had to do some work, like digging their own mass graves. As soon as the victims got of transportation, they were lead to a ditch and executed. At one point they had to build a small shed, to keep the people awaiting execution in, as they brought more people to this place than they had time to kill. Remember, they didn't want to use expensive bullets.

The Khmer Rouge wanted to take the country back to almost the stone age, and create a society with only peasants. In
Choeung Ek memorial...Choeung Ek memorial...Choeung Ek memorial...

housing 8,000 skulls of victims in this killing field.
their 3-4 years in power between 1975 and 1979, they were very successful in doing that. Estimations vary, but between one and three million Cambodians (Khmers) were killed during the Khmer Rouge rule. That was a very large proportion of the population, some say almost half of it, at the time. With few people actually left in the country and the ones who survived with little or no education the country regressed quickly, and is now on a slow recovery.

S-21, back in PP, was even worse than Choeung Ek. A school was taken over by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and with a few modifications they turned it into a prison. This was our next stop after Choeung Ek. We walked around the huge area (900x600m?) that used to be S-21, with all the buildings intact, the double outer walls and razor barb wire still in place.

20,000 people passed through the prison over a couple of years, until 1979. 6,000 of them were sent to Choeung Ek. 14,000 died in the prison, from what we understand. Seven (7!) were still alive when the Vietnamese troups liberated the prison in 1979, after taking Phnom Penh from
The dug out mass gravesThe dug out mass gravesThe dug out mass graves

A couple of hundred people in each of them.
the Khmer Rouge.

As many other crazy rulers the Khmer Rouge documented all their victims properly, before tourturing and killing them, and sometimes afterwards as well. We found ourselves walking silently through S-21, horrified by the pictures of its victims. Some of the beds in the torture, sorry interrogation, rooms were still there, pretty much intact. The pictures on these walls were taken by the Vietnamese when they arrived and showed the last victims as they were found - dead.

Another section of the prison had photographs and short biographies of people working there under the Khmer Rouge. Whilst their stories were often very different, one thing they all had in common; they were all saying that they had to support and work for Khmer Rouge or they would have been killed. Even higher ranked comrades (Khmer Rouge word for soldier, the enemy side had soldiers) gave the same explanation.

It's very hard to describe what you think and feel after a morning visiting Choeung Ek and S-21. Why didn't anyone do anything a bit sooner? The same question as we asked ourselves about the holocaust. Surely, if they all claim they had to work for the
To save bullets...To save bullets...To save bullets...

the Khmer Rouge used a lot of different techniques to kill, cutting throughts slowly with palm leaves like these for instance.
Khmer Rouge or be killed, why didn't they all stand up and say NO. Is the human will to stay alive whatever the cost so much stronger than the will to defeat oppressors? As with the German people and large parts of Europe during the 1930s and 1940s, you can't blame the Khmers. When manipulative and crazy people get to power it is usually too late. How do we spot them beforehand? The global community missed it again in former Jugoslavia, Rwanda, and other modern day atrocities, and sadly we will miss it again and again in the future. That's why it's so important to remember these events, talk about them and learn about them, so we may be able to stop the next nutcase.

The afternoon was spent in a sofa at the Lazy Gecko, a restaurant at Lakeside in PP, talking through what we had experienced with our newfound travel friends, an English guy and three Swedes. All our energy was lost. Suddenly our lives seemed so pointless. How do you deal with something so unthinkable? All we could do was to have a silent dinner and go to bed.

Early start again, to get to the Royal Palace before it got blazingly hot out there. A stark contrast to the day before, a magnificent temple with all the trimmings you expect. The Silver Pagoda, next to the Palace, is very special as well, with a floor made of 5,000 silver plates, weighing one kilogram each. That's 5 tonnes of silver! We finished the morning at the Central Market, which is well worth a visit. Copied DVDs, CDs, Rolex watches and books are staple goods in this part of the world, but iPods and cameras? We'd never seen that before. We wonder how anyone could be fooled into buying them though, as they did not seem very well made.

Next day it was time to get moving again, to Siem Reap. A six hour bus ride in a well airconditioned bus. It's interesting how different the scenery is here from the Mekong Delta (Motos rule!). There, the it felt like travelling through one very long village, a never ending stream of small houses and shops. Cambodian roads feels a lot more rural. The odd farm house here and there, fields and once in a while a village. Still flat as a pancake though, just like the Mekong Delta.

PP is a pulsating city, with loads of traffic and people everywhere, covering a huge area. In contrast, Siem Reap has much more of a small town feel to it. We checked into a small family-run guest house, Kohinoor, near Bar Street in Siem Reap. The longer we stayed, the more we liked it. Wonderful, helpful, smily people were running it, providing a level of service you expect at a 3-4 star hotel, for the price of a shack. Everyone in the famliy was helping out in the guest house. The 10-12 year old boy in the family took care of his little sister, helped out in the guest house, went to school six days a week and was always smiling.

D was sitting on the porch one afternoon, sorting out hundreds of photos from the temples, when the little boy turned up, very interested in what D was doing with the Epson (a portable hard drive with a 4" LCD screen). D and the boy spent the next couple of hours looking at photos from our trip, only interrupted briefly when his mother wanted his attention. As soon the boy had a free second he
...and some bones...and some bones...and some bones

When you start looking, the ground is full of these things. Horrifying!
was straight back next to D. With big eyes he got a glimps of places like New York, Los Angeles, Lima, Santiago, Sydney, etc. He didn't know a lot of English and of course D doesn't speak Khmer, but they still managed to communicate very well. It's these types of moments that really makes travelling worth while. You can visit as many sights as you want, but to get real contact with the locals is priceless.

After four nights (three days' temple-"hunting", see - Properly templed-out) in Siem Reap, we spent much of our last day visiting the Landmine Museum.

It seems that wherever you go in Cambodia, war is still very present. Fact is, it's still there. Landmines doesn't care if the fighting sides sides sign a peace agreement, they will still take one of your limbs as soon as they get a chance.

The museum is run by Aki Ra, who was a child soldier under the Khmer Rouge and used to place land mines. After being captured by the Vietnamese he fought with them against the Khmer Rouge. Now he spends most of his time trying to remember where he placed them and recover them, and
Photo of a photoPhoto of a photoPhoto of a photo

of Khmer Rouge victims, still with their blindfolds on.
the rest running the museum. The museum also serves as a refuge for young landmine victims, one of whom gave us a guided tour. Most of the victims in the refuge and a lot volunteers are helping out to recover mines or working as teachers in the camp for the benefit of landmine victims. It's a moving and in a way a more horrifying experience than S-21 and Choeung Ek, as people still get serverely handicapped by landmines, every day.

Estimations vary, but somewhere between three and six million landmines are still there to be discovered in the Cambodian soil. Even though they've cleared an area one year they can't be sure the area is safe the next year. The floods during the rainy season may have brought with it new land mines from uncleared areas. The riverbed next to the museum has been cleared several times. Just 12 months ago they found more mines only meters from the museum. Some say it'll take 50-100 years to make Cambodia reasonably safe again.

The next morning it was time to go south, for some sand and sea. So, we booked an eleven-hour bus ride, via PP, to Sihanoukville, on the south coast.

Travelling by bus in Cambodia is an interesting experience. They have a totally different understanding of what air condition is. On some of the buses you're lucky, but most of the time the a/c is just a normal fan, like you find in any old car. This doesn't really work in the Cambodian heat, and was the case on this trip. They also have a different concept of privacy and safety. 35 people in a minibus is no problem. Blasting music from the speakers is totally normal. In fact, most long distance buses provide karaoke, with folk music or domestic pop artists doing "western" music, with random English words and phrases thrown into the Khmer lyrics. Not what we're used to, but interesting. We can't complain though, when travelling is so cheap. A six-hour ride from PP to Siem Reap is around $4, for example. A steal!

Sihanoukville is again very different from PP and Siem Reap. A beach resort, Cambodia-style, it's built around something that looks like a very nice beach. It's less clean than what you would like though. Not as bad as Pulau Besar (Happy New Year - of the Pig!), but still enough for us not to spend too much time in the water. The moto drivers are considerably more agressive in their sales technique and the town has a feeling of a great project that has never been completed. We lacked the spirit and the proudness in the people here that we'd found elsewhere in Cambodia. The Sihanoukville residents provide a beach for rich people from PP and foreigners, without a lot of soul put into it. That's it. Needless to say, we didn't spend too much time there. A couple of days later we were on the bus again, back to Saigon.

Final thoughts on Cambodia
Two weeks is not nearly enough (have we said this before? probably...) to really get to know Cambodia, but it serves as a good introduction. We like most of the things we've seen. Some of the quirkiness you just have to learn to accept. So far, we've found four main reasons to go to Cambodia: the people, the food (try the Chicken Amok!), Angkor Wat (and all the other temples) and to remember the hardship the Khmers have gone through, with everything from ordinary disgusting war and landmines to genocide Khmer Rouge-style.

Poverty is not very visible,
A five-headed snake at the Royal PalaceA five-headed snake at the Royal PalaceA five-headed snake at the Royal Palace

The temples around Siem Reap were littered with these, but in a lot worse shape of course.
compared to Bolivia (La Paz), but still very present. Despite this, people seemed genuinely happy, clean, hard working and very interested in us westerners and inquisitive about our country, the cold and snow.

Cambodia is definitely a country that deserves another trip, in a not to distant future.

Phnom Penh (PP) klockan sex pa kvallen, nar vi anlander, ar varmt och kladdigt. Mitt pa dagen ar hettan kvavande, aven om temperaturen "bara" ar runt 35 grader. Det maste upplevas, det kan inte beskrivas. Kan vi fa aka tillbaka till Singapore (Hot & sticky) for lite kalluft? ;-) Lite sno vore annu battre. Tack vemsomhelst for kalla duschar - och det finns inget annat att tillga, atminstone inte i budgetboenden.

Hello, moto? ar det forsta man hor nar man kliver ut fran vandrarhemmet i Lakeside, backpackerdistriktet i PP. Nu vet vi var Motorola hittat sin slogan! Khmererna (Kambodjaner) vill i det har fallet dock erbjuda en "taxiservice", bakpa en liten motorcykel eller moped, helst for en hel dag. Vi valde dock en Tuk Tuk, en liten vagn, oftast for fyra personer, dragen av en liten motorcykel, for att aka runt huvudattraktionerna i PP.

Enligt rekommendation fran ett par engelska tjejer
Interrogation bedInterrogation bedInterrogation bed

complete with shackles and bullet box. The last victims were found on beds like this.
vi traffat forsta kvallen i PP satte vi av tidigt, i "var" Tuk Tuk, for att se Choeung Ek - Killing Fields - 15 km soder om PP. I den har delen av varlden ar det bast att gora som lokalbefolkningen, ga upp tidigt och gora det man ska, vila under dagen och vakna till liv igen pa kvallen. Pa detta vis klarar man sig bra precis med tre duschar per dag.

- Vad ar det, ser ut som en tradrot??
- Vanta, vad ar det har, en tand, det kan det val inte vara?
Man ser det inte till en borjan, men sa snart man sett den forsta ser man tander, benbitar och bitar av gamla klader overallt pa marken. Choeung Ek ar en fruktansvard upplevlelse om man stannar upp och verkligen tittar sig omkring. Annars ser det faktiskt ratt fridfullt ut.

Choeung Ek ar platsen dar Roda Khmererna avrattade tusentals manniskor under de 3-4 ar de hade makten. Det ar det mest kanda, men det finns ungefar 19400 killing fields i Kambodja. Mot slutet, for att spara pa ammunitionen, mordade de sina offer genom att sla dem med bambukappar, langsamt skara halsen av dem med palmblad,
One of the last victims of S-21...One of the last victims of S-21...One of the last victims of S-21...

...as he was found when the prison was liberated.
och andra hemska satt vi inte ens vill tanka pa.

Nar vi gick runt pa omradet i sallskap av var guide, och tittade pa massgravarna, borjade vi prata om nagra av de hemska brott mot manskligheten genom historien. Nazitysklands koncentrationslager kom pa tal och vi borjade jamfora. Hitler hade atminstone en, om an sjuk, plan att gora livet battre for arierna. Men Pol Pot och Roda Khmererna verkade vilja gora livet samre, mycket samre, for alla. Det ar inte logiskt alls!

Larare, lakare, munkar, utbildade manniskor, i stort sett alla som var emot Roda Khmererna, dodades. I Choeung Ek brydde Roda Khmererna sig inte ens om att anvanda dem som arbetskraft pa samma satt som nazisterna gjorde - aven om de fick gora vissa jobb, som att grava sina egna massgravar. Sa fort offren klev av transporten leddes de till ett dike och avrattades. Efter ett tag blev de tvungna att bygga ett skjul for att forvara manniskorna som vantade pa att bli avrattade, eftersom de forslade dit mer manniskor an de hade tid att doda. Kom i hag att de inte ville slosa pa dyr ammunition!

Roda Khmererna ville fora landet tillbaka nastan till stenaldern, och skapa ett samhalle med enbart smabonder. Under deras 3-4 ar vid makten, 1975-1979, lyckades de nastan med det. Enligt olika uppskattningar dodades mellan en och tre miljoner Kambodjaner (Khmerer) under de Roda Khmerernas styre. Det var en stor del av den totala befolkningsmangden, vissa sager att det var ungefar halften, pa den tiden. Men fa manniskor kvar i landet, och de som overlevt saknade hel eller delvis utbildning, gick utvecklingen baklanges, men ar nu sakta pa vag framat.

S-21, i PP, var annu hemskare an Choeung Ek. Roda Khmererna tog over en skola pa 1970-talet och med nagra andringar forvandlades den till ett fangelse. Detta var vart nasta stopp efter Choeung Ek. Vi vandrade runt det stora (900x600m?) omradet som utgjorde S-21, med alla byggnader fortfarande intakta, de dubbla yttermurarna och taggtraden fortfarande pa plats.

20000 manniskor passerade genom fangelset pa nagra ar, fram till 1979. 6000 av dem skickades till Choeung Ek. 14000 dog i fangelset, enligt vad vi kunde se av informationen pa plats. Sju (7!) levde fortfarande nar de vietnamesiska trupperna befriade fangelset 1979, efter att ha tagit PP fran de Roda Khmererna.

Som sa manga andra galna ledare dokumenterade de Roda Khmererna noggrant
Leg shackles, slave ship styleLeg shackles, slave ship styleLeg shackles, slave ship style

Prisoners were made to lie side by side all over the floor, and couldn't move (even in their sleep), twitch or make noises without permission from the guards...
alla sina offer innan de torterade och dodade dem, och ofta aven efterat. Vi gick tysta genom S-21s salar, forskrackta av bilderna pa offren. Nagra av sangarna i forhors-, forlat, tortyrrummen, var fortfarande stod fortfarande kvar. Bilder pa vaggarna, tagna av de vietnamesiska trupperna, visade de sista offren som de hittats - doda.

I en annan del av fangelset fanns foton pa och korta biografier over manniskor som arbetat dar under de Roda Khmererna. Deras historier var ofta valdigt olika, de hade en sak gemensamt: de sa alla att de var tvungna att stodja och arbeta for de Roda Khmererna for att inte sjalva bli dodade. Aven hogre kamrater pa hogre niva (Roda Khmererna bestod av kamrater, fiendesidan hade soldater) uppgav samma forklaring.

Det ar valding svart at beskriva vad man tanker och kanner efter en morgon pa Choeung Ek och S-21. Varfor gjorde ingen nagonting tidigare? Samma fraga som vi stallde oss sjalva om forintelsen. Om de alla hade varit tvungna att antingen arbeta for Roda Khmererna eller bli dodade, varfor protesterade de inte och sa NEJ? Ligger det i den manskliga naturen att vilja overleva till varje pris hellre an att bekampa plagoandar? Precis som med
S-21 photo lab...S-21 photo lab...S-21 photo lab...

where the Khmer Rouge developed the pictures of their crimes.
det tyska folket och stora delar av Europa pa 1930- och 1940-talen kan man inte skylla pa khmererna. Nar manipulativa galningar kommer till makten ar det vanligtvis for sent. Hur upptacker man dem i forvag? Det globala samhallet missade det igen i forna Jugoslavien, Rwanda, och andra moderna tiders hemskheter, och tyvarr kommer vi inte hinna upptacka det igen och igen i framtiden. Det ar darfor det ar sa viktigt att komma ihag dessa handelser, prata om dem och lara for framtiden, sa vi kanske kommer att kunna stoppa nasta galning.

Eftermiddagen spenderade vi i en soffa pa Lazy Gecko, en restaurang pa Lakeside i PP, och pratade om vad vi upplevt med vara nyfunna resekompisar, en engelsk kille och tre svenskar. All var energi var borta. Plotsligt kandes vara liv sa meningslosa. Hur kommer man over nagot sa otankbart? Allt vi kunde gora var att ata en tyst middag och ga och lagga oss.

Tidig start igen, for att aka till det kungliga palatset innan det blev alltfor varmt ute. En enorm kontrast mot dagen innan, ett mangifikt tempel med alla tillbehor man kan onska. Silver-pagodan (silver-templet), ar ocksa ratt speciell, med et golv belagt med 5000
Single cells...Single cells...Single cells...

Barely space to lie down - luxury ones had windows. Or didn't, we don't know what would've been best, view over the yard, or not...
silverplattor som vager ett kilo styck. Det ar fem ton silver! Vi avslutade morgonen pa Centralmarknaden, som ar val vard et besok. Kopierade CD, DVD, Rolexklockor och bocker at stapelvaror i den har delen av varlden, men iPods och kameror? Det hade vi inte sett forut. Vi undrar hur nagon kan luras att kopa dem, for de sag inte speciellt valgjorda ut.

Nasta dag var det aterigen dags att rora pa oss, till Siem Reap. En sextimmars resa i en val luftkonditionerad buss. Det ar intressant hur olika naturen ar har mot i Mekongdeltat(Motos rule!). Dar kandes det som om ma reste genom en enda lang by, en andlos strom av sma hus och butiker. Vagarna i Kambodja kanns mycket mera lantliga. Enstaka lantgardshus har och dar, och ibland en by. Fortfarande platt som en pannkaka dock, precis som i Mekongdeltat.

PP ar en pulserande stad, med mycket trafik och manniskor overallt, som tacker ett stort omrade. Siem Reap a andra sidan kanns mycket mer som en smastad. Vi tog in pa ett litet familjeagt vandrarhem, Kohinoor, nara Bar Street i Siem Reap. Ju langre vi stannade, desto mer trivdes vi. Underbara, leende, hjalpsamma manniskor drev det, och gav
The last S-21 victims The last S-21 victims The last S-21 victims

are buried here.
en 3-4-stjarnig service for priset av ett skjul. Hela familjen hjalpte till med driften av vandrarhemmet. En 10-12-arig pojke tog hand om sin lillasyster, hjalpte till med vandrarhemssysslor, gick i skolan sex dagar i vecka och log hela tiden.

D satt pa verandan en eftermiddag och gick igenom hundratals foton fran templen nar pojken dok upp och blev intresserad av vad D gjorde med Epson (en barbar harddisk med en 4-tums LCD-skarm). D och pojken tillbringade de foljande timmarna med att titta pa bilder fran var resa, da och da avbrutna nar mamma ville ha hjalp med nagot. Sa fort pojken hade en ledig sekund var han pa plats igen hos D. Med stora ogon fick han en glimt av plaster som New York, Los Angeles, Lima, Santiago, Sydney, mm. Han kunde inte mycket engelska och D pratar forstas inte khmer, men de lyckades anda kommunicera ganska bra. Det ar stunder som dessa som verkligen gor resandet. Man kan besoka sa manga sevardheter man vill, men att fa riktig kontakt med lokalbefolkningen ar obetalbart.

Efter fyra natter (tre dagars tempel"jakt" - se Properly templed-out) i Siem Reap, spenderade vi var sista dag pa Landminemuseet.

Vart man an aker i Kambodja ar kriget fortfarande narvarande. Bokstavligen. Landminor bryr sig inte om att de stridande sidorna har slutit fredsavtal, de vill fortfarande ta en av dina kroppsdelar sa fort de far en chans.

Museet drivs av Aki Ra, som var barnsoldat under Roda Khmererna, och placerade ut landminor. Efter att ha infangats av vietnamesiska trupper slogs han istallet med dem mot de Roda. Nu forsoker han komma ihag var han placerat minor, oskadliggora dem, och resten av tiden gar at till museet. Museet tjanar ocksa som tillflyktsort for unga landmineoffer, och en av dem gav oss en guidad rundtur. De flesta offren har och en massa frivilliga hjalper till att hitta minor eller arbetar som larare i lagret for att utbilda minoffren. Det ar en rorande och pa manga satt en hemskare upplevelse an S-21 och Choeung Ek, eftersom manniskor fortrafande skadas svart av landminor, varje dag.

Siffrorna varierar, men nagonstans mellan tre och sex miljoner landminor vantar fortfarande pa att hittas i Kambodja. Aven om ett omrade rensats pa minor ett ar kan man inte vara saker pa att det fortfarande ar sakert aret efter. Regnperiodernas oversvamningar kan ha fort med sig nya minor fran angransande, osakrade, omraden. Flodbadden bredvid museet har sakrats flera ganger. For bara ett ar sedan hittades flera minor bara nagra meter fran museet. Vissa menar att det kommer att ta 50-100 ar innan Kambodja ar hyfsat sakert igen.

Nasta morgon var det hog tid att aka soderut for lite strand och hav, sa vi bokade en 11-timmars bussresa via PP till Sihanoukville, pa sydkusten.

Att resa med buss i Kambodja ar en intressant upplevelse. De har en totalt annorlunda uppfattning om vad luftkonditionering ar. Pa vissa bussar har man tur, men ofta ar det bara en vanlig flakt, som i en gammal bil. Detta fungerar inte riktigt i den Kambodjanska varmen, och var fallet pa den har turen. Sakerhet och privatliv ar ocksa av helt olika natur. 35 manniskor i en minibuss ar inga problem. Hogljudd musik som valler ur hogtalarna ar helt normalt. De flesta bussarna spelade faktiskt karaoke, med folkmusik eller inhemska popstjarnor som sjunger "vasterlandska" sanger, med spridda engelska ord och fraser instuckna i texterna som i ovrigt var pa khmer. Inte vad vi var vana vid, men intressant. Vi kan inte klaga dock, inte nar resandet ar sa billigt! En sextimmarsresa fran PP till Siem Reap
Lakeside, Phnom PenhLakeside, Phnom PenhLakeside, Phnom Penh

View from our hostel window - on the top floor. This area will be bulldozed in a year to make room for...a golf course!
kostar exempelvis $4. Nastan gratis!

Sihanokville ar aterigen valdigt olikt PP och Siem Reap. En badort, i Kambodjansk tolkning, uppbyggd runt vad som ser ut som en valdigt fin strand. Den ar dock inte sa ren som man skulle onska. Inte lika illa som Pulau Besar (Happy New Year - of the Pig!), men anda inte ren nog for att vi skulle vilja tillbringa nagon langre stund i vattnet. Moto-forarna ar betydligt mer aggressiva i sin forsaljningsjargong och staden kanns lite som ett stort projekt som inte riktigt blivit fardigt. Vi saknade kanslan och stoltheten hos folket som vi mott hittills i Kambodja. Sihanoukvilleborna star till tjanst med en strand for rika PP-bor och utlanningar, men lagger inte ner nagon sjal i det hela. Det ar allt. Vi behover knappast saga att vi inte spenderade alltfor mycket tid har. Nagra dagar senare satt vi pa bussen igen, pa vag tillbaka till Saigon.

Tankar om Kambodja
Tva veckor ar inte ens i narheten av nog (har vi sagt det har forut? formodligen...) for att lara kanna Kambodja, men det funkar bra som introduktion. Vi tycker om det mesta vi sett. Nagra av konstigheterna far man helt enkelt lara sig att leva med. Sa har langt
Duck taxiDuck taxiDuck taxi

Amazingly, the ducks were alive. Must have been dozens of them on that bike.
kan vi rakna upp fyra huvudanledningar att aka till Kambodja: manniskorna, maten (prova Chicken Amok!), Angkor Wat (och alla de andra templen) och att komma ihag de svarigheter som khmererna har tagit sig igenom, allt ifran vanliga hemska krig och landminor till folkmord pa Roda Khmer-vis.

Fattigdomen ar inte sa varst synlig, jamfort med i Bolivia (La Paz), men anda valdigt narvarande. Trots detta verkade manniskorna genuint lyckliga, rena, hart arbetande och valdigt intresserade av oss vasterlanningar och nyfikna pa vart land, kylan och snon.

Kambojda ar definitivt ett land som fortjanar en resa till inom en inte alltfor lang tid.

Additional photos below
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Rest stop on the way from PP to Siem ReapRest stop on the way from PP to Siem Reap
Rest stop on the way from PP to Siem Reap

Not quite the same facilities as the service stations along the M5...
Apsara dancer in a restaurant in Siem ReapApsara dancer in a restaurant in Siem Reap
Apsara dancer in a restaurant in Siem Reap

Performed along with her colleagues as we were having dinner.
Fruit or nut?Fruit or nut?
Fruit or nut?

Apparently the cashew is both... The nut grows on the end of the fruit!
How many mines or other weapons can you see?How many mines or other weapons can you see?
How many mines or other weapons can you see?

Plot of land at the landmine museum, made to look like it's been prepared during war times. (the chicken isn't dangerous though ;)
Fried spider anyone?Fried spider anyone?
Fried spider anyone?

At a rest stop on the way from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh (on the way to Sihanoukville).
Sihanoukville beachSihanoukville beach
Sihanoukville beach

Minus the 4000+ massage/pedicure ladies, fruit/seafood sellers, and kids flogging postcards and bracelets...

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