On a lighter note...

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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What's in the bag?

We thought you'd enjoy some things we've experienced along the way that have made us look differently about how we've grown up, or simply made us say ''Huh?"

In Thailand, soda's aren't worth a whole lot.  As a matter of fact, the soda in a glass bottle is worth less than the glass bottle itself.  If you buy a glass bottle of Coke, you can rarely leave the establishment with it.  So you have a couple of options.  1) you can bring your own container for it, or 2) they will pour it into a plastic bag and give you a straw!  The latter is the more commonly accepted option.

We were driving in a taxi somewhere in Thailand and on our right was a mutant, 1/2 motorcycle, 1/2 fruit cart.  The front end of the motorcycle had been sheared off and attached, via some kind of hitch, to the back of the fruit cart.

Countdown to Doomsday?
The handle bars were gone and the throtle, clutch and other key motorcyle devices were attached to the cart's push-bar.  As a rear-view mirror, a large house mirror was attached to the top of the cart.  The inovation here continually astounds me.  The vehicle was in heavy traffic. 

Street lights in both Thailand and Cambodia have large timers attached to them which countdown the time left until the light changes.  In Cambodia, this timer as well as the street light are ignored completely.

In Bangkok there is an electronics mall called Pantip Plaza.  There you can get all kinds of electronic gear and supplies, but mostly you get programs, games and DVDs.  We wandered into one of the computer gaming places to peruse the wares.

There must be a geek-gene which demands certain physical characteristics. No matter where we went, my people were there.
  Behind me I heard a Thai-accented 'Hello, can I help you?'  Megan and I both turned and were completely shocked.  It was hard not to laugh.  Three young Thai men were standing there and...well...all I can say is, no matter what country you are in, Gamer Geeks look exactly the same.  I wish I'd gotten a photo.

Near the Elephants and Friends refuge in Kanchanaburi there is an Elephant Crossing sign.  It's no joke, wild elephants do live in the area, but as you can understand it looked a little funny.  Our friend Gary also thought it was strange because it was so unlike the Kangaroo Crossing signs back home!?

In both Thailand and Cambodia it is customary for your dinner host to give you a lot of food.  If you clean your plate, they will give you more.

Cambodian Life Savers. These sugary treats are made of concentrated palm sugar. They tasted fabulous, but you could only nibble on one at a time.
  It is polite to leave some food on your plate when you are finished.  To clean your plate is an insult, implying they didn't give you enough food.  Remember when your parents told you to eat everything on your plate because there were kids starving in Asia?

In Kanchanaburi we actually had to have a woman from the street help us dial a public telephone.  Before dialing, you must apparently push 1234 then your number.  We've rarely felt more like foreigners than at that moment.

It is of social importance here to cover yourself from the sun.  Both men and women can be seen in the boiling heat of the day with full head and face wrappings, long pants and long sleave shirts.  If you have dark skin it tells others that you do manual labor.

Both Thais and Cambodians have an aversion to handrails (note Megan). It takes a little getting used to if you come from the over-insulated States, but in general it's not a big issue...
  If you have lighter skin you must have a cush office job where you can spend the day out of the sun.  Tan is bad.  Pale is good.  In the States, being tan tells people you have enough free time to spend away from the office to get some sun.  Crazy.  Both women and men often wear white cake make-up for the same reason.  Men with long fingernails accomplish a similar effect.

There is a bird in Thailand who's call exactly mimics the series of beeps uttered by the Imperial Probe Droid that landed on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.

Roosters in Thailand have accents.  Cocka doodle doooooo, becomes cocka doodle d.  It's very unsettling.

Craig, the owner of Suan-Nanachaat, told us this story.  Imagine it being told with dry, English humor.

...unless you have a PIT FULL OF CROCODILES in your multi-level bar. Yes, this 4-story bar, serving lots of alcohol, had an open pit of live crocodiles. Only in Asia.
  He was driving his motorcycle down the road in Kanchanaburi, when he looked in his side-view mirror to see an old woman on a scooter barreling up on him with a bucket on her head.  Couldn't see a thing.

The old woman hit him, glanced off and crashed.  In Thailand, he says, if you're in a car accident it's always the farang's (foreigner's) fault, but he couldn't help but stop to make sure she was ok.

A crowd of people gathered around the woman, who was apparently fine. When they asked what happened the woman said, in Thai, "Oh, it wasn't the farang's fault.  I had my bucket on my head.  Couldn't see a thing," to which everyone nodded as if that was obviously the most logical explaination and the crowd began to dispurse. 

Craig said that the woman's bike was a little scratched, she was a little scratched but the bucket was fine.  "Good bucket that!"  The woman had apparently purchased the bucket and groceries but had no hands left to carry the bucket.  On her head seemed the best idea.

bobvanbeers says:
Awesome story, can't wait to go to cambodia next january.
Posted on: Oct 02, 2007
umbralwalker says:
Thanks. I may be adding more as I get through more of our photos.
Posted on: Jun 11, 2006
X_Drive says:
Those are definitely some strange and silly things you've noticed. I enjoyed reading this entry.
Posted on: May 29, 2006
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Whats in the bag?
What's in the bag?
Countdown to Doomsday?
Countdown to Doomsday?
There must be a geek-gene which de…
There must be a geek-gene which d…
Cambodian Life Savers.  These suga…
Cambodian Life Savers. These sug…
Both Thais and Cambodians have an …
Both Thais and Cambodians have an…
...unless you have a PIT FULL OF C…
...unless you have a PIT FULL OF …
The Lifesavers were wrapped in ban…
The Lifesavers were wrapped in ba…
This was common; incredibly well-d…
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Barang (Khmer for foreigners) can…
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My last day in Kanchanaburi, some …
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Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk