What are my first thoughts of Cambodia? Well, the country STINKS. As in, every direction I turn my head I am overwhelmed by a stench similar to rotting meat. On my third day I came face to face with the culprit- inside of my spring roll. It is a vegetable that is very prominent in Cambodia. I immediately caught the waiter's attention, had him write the name of the vegetable down in the Khmer language, and now use it to make sure I never encounter the smelly thing again in a meal.
Other than that, Cambodia is a culture-enriched country, dusting itself off after a dark era of war and terror (which some may argue that the US is slightly to blame for). I roamed the streets of the country's capital, Phnom Penh, learning much about the country's history in the National Museum as well as the grim S-21 prison where they tortured and killed thousands of Khmer people. On the way back to my $2 a night hostel, I stopped at an air conditioned shopping center for some fro-yo and alas! Bubble Tea! The bubbles were 1/3 the size of American bubble tea but then again it was 1/3 the price...
Yesterday I arrived in Siem Reap, where the infamous Angkor Wat is located. Angkor is an ancient kingdom that produced some extremely impressive temples that are still standing today. I caught the sunset on time on top of the oldest temple (along with a gazillion number of other tourists), and then woke up at 4:30 AM to catch the sunrise today. The sunrise was absolutely stunning, and the three main temples I saw today were just as beautiful. By noon I was dragging my feet and felt pretty templed out.
I have a mission tonight: get back the $50 the keniving sales lady at the night market last night took from me. Cambodia finds it is more beneficial to use American dollars, so naturally the ATM spits out $50 dollar bills. Unfortunately for me, 2 of the bills stuck together when I was shopping last night. The lady spent a long time looking at the bill(s), where I thought she was examining to see if it was real. Then without a word she gave me change for 1 $50 bill without mentioning the other one. I am 98% sure that I gave her 2 because it was the only time I took my money out and according to my budget I am missing $50. The lady who works at my hostel said that she would go with me to the market together to see if the lady will be sympathetic with a native explaining the situation. Cross your fingers, cuz $50 can take me a long way in my trip.
Either way, tomorrow I am heading to a beach town (again) called Sihanoukville. I am not looking forward to the bus ride if it was anything like the one from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Every 2 miles we stopped, picked someone up, stopped, dropped someone off, all the while non stop honking the horn for 6 incredible hours. Not to mention the rock star baby screaming its head off behind me.
2 1/2 more weeks to go. Happy Father's day!