0048 Rainy Season in Cambodia (Cambodia 001—new)

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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The market (video clip still is too dark)

Day 036: 14 hours 11.6 kms

 It’s time to head back west, across yet another intriguing country with a dark recent history:  Cambodia.

I figure that after 4 very distinct South Asian countries, Cambodia might feel a bit redundant.  But I’m dead wrong.  Cambodia has a completely different feel from the others.

Actually, I’ll have to say that each of these countries is my favourite--  just in a different way.  Malaysia, as an inspiring “Cosmopolitan Melting Pot First World Country in the Jungle”… Thailand for it’s temples and monuments… Laos for its stunning mountain scenery and peaceful truly Buddhist vibe… Vietnam for its people and hospitality…

… And Cambodia for its travel-back-in-time countryside…

It’s rainy season in Cambodia, and it seems that the entire country is under water.

  Miles and miles of flooded fields as far as the eye can see… And yet, no one seems the least bit troubled by it.  People all lived neatly perched in thatch bamboo houses him above the water… Children ride water buffalo through the rice fields-turned-lakes… It’s an amazing, surreal experience just to cross through here.

For the first time, I’m travelling on dirt roads and taking ferries across the rivers rather than bridges, and we go for miles and miles through regions that look completely untouched by modern civilization…

Finally we reach Phnom Penh. 

Phnom Penh

 Cambodia’s capital has the mix of a big city feel and raw frontier town.  The bus drops me off on a scrappy market area lined with shabby little jewelry shops/money changers…  I continue on, until a huge yellow dome catches my eye… it turns out to be a big, uniquely shaped market.

  Across the street I find a hotel that’s reasonably priced.

First I need to get some money… Hopefully there are working ATMs in this country…

I go to a bank and find, not only does it have an ATM, but the ATM spits out American dollars! What a pleasant surprise!

It’s starts pouring down rain as I head out to explore the city and take my video clip… I find shelter at a ferry port along the river… it looks like I won’t be able to take any good video clips before it gets dark.

There are some impressive temples and sights around the city… but when a fellow approaches me and tells me he can bring me a “small girl”, I’m quickly reminded of the darker side to this city…

I start seeing things differently… Those children that approached me playfully--  was that more than childish innocence?   Those creepy old white men that trapse the streets alone, with cold distant looks in their eyes--  clearly not here to enjoy the sights…

Something is definitely not right about this place.

 

The rain has stopped, so I head to the walkway along the river where locals amble up and down enjoying the evening.  I pull out my guitar and strum a few songs--  but no one seems to notice… Finally I head on back to my hotel and decide to call it a day.

I know there’s a lot more to discover and experience here--  that might be able to take away the bad taste I’ve gotten of this city.  But I decide to keep on going. 

Tomorrow it’s Angkor Wat.

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The market (video clip still is to…
The market (video clip still is t…
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk