You Like Genocide? You Want Shoot AK47?
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 5 of 15 › view all entries
Update: Yay! Staples fixed my memory card, I finally got Youtube working, so the video of me shooting the AK47 is now up!
Everyone in Cambodia thinks I'm Japanese. Nay, are convinced I'm Japanese. I'll walk down the street and they'll be all "Konichiwa!" to which I smile and respond "No, no, USA". They'll nod and say "Ohhh, USA, hello", then pause and add sweetly, "I think you Japanese."
It's pretty easy to get around without speaking the language in Cambodia, because tourism-oriented locals seem to know a little of every language known to man. No English? They switch to German, or French, or Chinese. I wouldn't be surprised if they knew how to say "stay at my hostel" in Hungarian and Swahili as well.
The big business for the tuk tuk and moto drivers in Phnom Phen are the rides out to tourist attractions on the far edges of town, so you'll constantly hear them asking you into their vehicles to see the killing fields and the genocide museum.
So after I visited the killing fields, I hear from the driver's seat "You want shoot AK?" I'm used to at least pretending to say no to all things offered to me, but to this I could only pause and shallowly admit, "Yes. Yes, I want shoot AK." So off we go to this dusty little backyard where some dudes are hanging out. They sit me down in a little chair and put the most awesome menu in front of me. It reads:
AK47 ................... $30
Colt 45 ................. $15
Rocket launcher.... $200
Tea ...................... $0.25
Coke .................... $0.25
I'm debating over this over, because I toootally want-shoot-AK, but $30 is a lot of money in Cambodia. They're all very nice and ask me if I'm Japanese. I say no, and they point to one of the guys and tell me he's a Japanese tourist. I should have known he was different, as the kid was 4 shades paler than everyone else and looked as giddy as I was.
I finally shell out $30 for what is one of the most awesome expriences of my life. I know. I'm awful. I'm an awful, shallow, trashy American, but I have to admit it: I love shoot AK! They put a little honorary camo jacket on you, lead you into this dark dank brick shooting range and let you videotape while you mow down a target you can barely see, first one shot at a time, and then in automatic mode with shell cases flying, red sparks igniting and smoke everywhere.
They let you keep the target paper too. It's this hilarious drawing of a white (maybe latino??) guy in a wife beater pointing his gun at you and grinning, with a target on his chest.
Now, this all happened on December 27. But my memory card died, so I lost all my awesome pictures and my video. So the next day, I asked to go back to the same range (combined with a trip to the Genocide Museum) to see if they would just let me take pictures with the gun wall again. They were nice and would have let me for free, but I got all trashy American again and wanted to take another round with a Chinese pistol anyway.
I was taking pictures with the gun wall for the second time when a random puppy wandered up to me, so I scooped it up in my arms and took pictures with it while posing with the AK.
Next, I went to S21 and Wat Phnom (details in reviews below), before heading back to the hostel and then to the airport for my flight to Siem Reap. The bus to Siem Reap is only 6 hours, but due to schedules and possible bus delays, I had decided to save myself a day by flying. Bangkok Air (aka Siem Reap Air) is really nice. They feed you even on short flights. They offer you a choice of Moslem, Hindu, Vegetarian and regular meals. I chose the Moslem meal just to see what it was like, which caused quite a few "Did I get the right passenger?" look from the flight attendants.