Cambodia - 4
Cambodia Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
August 17th, 2007 – by: rodzphotos
The alarm goes off. I wake to hear skuttling around outside my room. I look outside to see a few of the girls from the hotel check-in and bar outside my window. I notice they are in front of a washer. Just my luck. The washroom is right outside one of my windows. They notice me and I realize I'm standing in the window in my underwear with morning glory. I close the curtain and hear giggling and talking in Khmer. The too small curtains do not close all the way. Funny, I didn't notice that the night before. I take a shower that was an experience in itself trying to get the water to flow right. It's one of those cool ass shower heads that have several different spouts for the water streams. I get splashed in the eye a few times before I get it right but it was a damn good shower. I get dressed to meet my fellow partners in crime at the upstairs Bar/Restaurant/Reception desk. I found out later that this type of set up is quite normal for Cambodia. The girls from outside my window are there. I choose a barstool and take a seat. I get treated well all morning. All good. One good thing I notice about the people in cambodia is that you will seldom see an ounce of fat on any of them. I smile, make small talk, flirt a little and start eating when my food arrives. As close to a bacon and egg sandwich as I will get here in Cambodia. They have great food there by the way. It was actually quite good. My friends Wayne and Tash show up and ask how I slept. I leave it simple and say "good". Then we plan the day. We decide on the local museum and hire a tuk tuk driver and take video of the locals as we ride along. We get there and it's a really cool place. Our excursion officially begins here. The museum is filled with authentic pieces from the temples of the Northern region where we are headed the next day. We get some great shots and I notice a woman pretending to stare at a buddah statue from behind her sunglasses. I play the game and look elsewhere and ignore her. She finds her way near me and I say hello. Elise is her name. She is a french teacher (she would be) on a one month paid holiday by herself. They get much better benefits than the teachers in the U.S. She seems nice enough and nice on my eyes so I introduce her to my friends. We all chat and decide to go to Metro Cafe for lunch. She has hired a motorbike driver for the day. He is waiting for her so she chooses to ride with him. We chat about her on the ride there. My friends are needling me but I brush it off. We get to the cafe and the food was great. The locals are cool and the scene was interesting with the business travelers on their computers networking with others. We talk of the state of injustice in this country's past, present, possible future and how it affects what's going on there today. I notice the more we talk about it the more she whispers. I don't want to make her uncomfortable so I change the subject. Who knows who is listening. Members of Pol Pot's ex-Khmer Rouge Regime are high ranking officials in the government today and are known to be corrupt. Metro is probably the most popular upscale internet hotspot in Phnom Pehn so its best to cool the political correctness. I find out that she is going north to the same place we are -Siem Reap-. She is down in Phnom Pehn for a few days before going back there and on to the sandy beaches of Malaysia and Thailand. She jots down her hotel info and when she will be back there. I make no promises, pay for her lunch and we all walk out. As we get in our tuk tuk a teen carrying a infant comes up to us out of no where and asks for a hand out. We don't respond as she surprises us then suddenly she lashes out as if to scare us or make us jump. We are both stunned at her actions and I look at the young girl as if she is nuts. And that changes the mood. I look to my right to see Elise on the back of the motorbike. As she rides off she smiles as if to make a lasting impression. I smile back. Vive le France. I have her info if I need it later. We move on. We go back to the hotel to drop Tash off. She is not feeling well. She thinks it's the Malaria pills we have to take. Funny, I felt like I was gonna die when I took my first one the night before. Man, you talk about side effects. Headaches, increased heart rate and shortness of breath are common. I felt like I was suffocating and my head would explode. But Tash isn't taking it as well as myself and Wayne did. She is in a bad way. Wayne and I leave her to rest and go to the open air market and then to the Palace to take some pics. It's hot and we are tired but we only have today here before flying out tomorrow. We finish and go back to the hotel to get rest and check on Tash before going out tonight. "Martinis" is our chosen playground for the night. We hope Tash will feel better. FYI: -The French had once colonized Cambodia during Napoleons era. Today there are still major visual, cultural and social influences from the French throughout the country that still exist. -Cambodia still struggles with educating their children as the government seemingly does not invest much in educating their people and are careful not to teach of their recent history with the Khmer Rouge Regime (Research Pol Pot's ethnic cleansing of it's own Khmer people). -Lots of NGO's (Non-Governmental Organizations or Non-Profits) are there to help but some have corrupt administrators. They rely heavily on foreign volunteers both paid and those who pay them for room and board and the experience of volunteer work to operate.
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