Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Kingdom of Cambodia

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!


  1. I'm so glad you found bubble tea! Yum!
    I'm so unhappy that the lady (more or less) stole $50 from you!

    I hope the hostel owner helped you get it back.
    Miss you!

  2. It happens to the best of us! But, in the grand scheme of things, the $50 means a lot more to her in Cambodia than it does to you. Don't press too hard...

  3. Lewis is does mean a lot to her, she may not have the conscience that you do either. I would not expect to get the $ returned.
    Same beautiful sun and moon that we enjoy! That feeling will stay with you always.
    Do all countries have museums? Are you able to read the inscriptions?
    What does this yucky vegetable look like? Maybe it was a delicacy, or maybe it was a bug.
    What kind of clothing are people wearing? Joelle had to wear a t-shirt as a skirt and another t-shirt as a shirt to get in the Vatican. They do not allow shorts or sleeveless. What kind of bathrooms do they have? You may be smelling that kind of stuff.
    Learn all you can, it's like no other place.