Phnom Penh: Head down, full throttle, keep her lit

Trip Start Aug 19, 2011
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Trip End Feb 23, 2012


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Where I stayed
Emerald Maroket Hotel

Flag of Cambodia  , Krŏng Phnum Pénh,
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

So after a tiny little flight from Bangkok, we bumped ground in Cambodia, Phnom Penh to be exact. We were ushered through to immigration to be met with a cantankerous little shithead, whom we got our Cambodia visas processed through. We queued for 10 minutes or so and they snapped $20 off each of us and we were enroute to "the city" ...............or a gathering of derelict buildings, most of which look like they were held together with sticky tape.

Anyway, our taxi driver was relatively useful, although he did bring us to "good guest house for you"...aka, Hellhole, which we graciously declined. We ended up at a good little spot right beside the central market in the town, air con, hot shower and most importantly a tv, so we could catch up on a bit of CSI which seems to be played incessently over here!!

A quick change into our glad rags; more haggling with the outrageous number and tenacious tuk tuk drivers (They refuse to be ignored, WILL follow you up the road and very quickly become the biggest irriation of any trip), we headed for the riverside part of the city. Like most nightlife and "food" places detailed in the Lonely Planet book, the riverside restaurants and scene in general was exaggerated 10 fold. After half an hour shaking off kids, tuk tuk drivers and restaurant owners, we settled on an Italian(y) place that claimed to donate profits to local kids in the area so we chanced it.....turned out to be as good as anything either of us has ever eaten.....can't remember the name, but it's around st. 160 and has a funny spelling (there's a v and an l in the first part) for anyone who plans on being there anytime soon.

The next day we hit up the killing fields and Tsul Seng, and got filled in on the frankly unbelievable things that happened the whole nation of Cambodia, it's worth reading up about....Pol Pot, S-21, Cheoung Ek Killing fields.....Cambodians torturing and killing Cambodians, bayonetting babies, burying people alive, endless inventive ways of torturing & killing. The photos are in a seperate entry.

I forgot to mention earlier, the first thing that came to my attention as soon as we were on the road into town from the airport...........was the evil kinevil, one family and the kitchen sink style of driving that goes on here. Everyone's often heard about it, but it's not till there's 2000 moped/tuk tuk and suv drivers converging at an intersection each with a different direction to go in, not giving one f%&k who's in their way, what colour the light is or the possible catastrophy of their (much too heavy for the the kinda vehicle they have underneath them) cargo hitting the tarmac, that it hits home to you, that your final few minutes in Asia, could quite likely be spent lying on the ground with a tyre mark across your face...............with everyone goin about they're business around ya.

The other seemingly "must see" thing in Phnom Penh is the Market place!! And, yeah it's grand....there's all sorts of dead and half dead, and soon to be dead animals lying, hanging and walking (for now) all over the place. There's plenty of fresh produce, not so much fresh smells and plenty of cooking goin on. This leads us on to the second thing we've noticed in Cambodia....we...i.e any traveller/tourist are subject to the "you're white, so everything is 400% more expensive" tax. Granted we've only been in one other asian country but we're definately getting FLEECED for everything over here, I managed to negociate a price of 1500 riels for a bowl of...eh something?? in this very market......just as I handed over this wad of cash, a young Cambodian dude gave 200 for the exact same thing. This seems to be modis operandi for everything....food, beer, clothes etc. etc. etc.

Day 3 was an early start, breakfast in hotel and off to the bus station for Sihanoukville...........
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Comments

john.j.sudano@ieee.org on

In life here are gracious people who are poor and annoying ones. Do not let the annoying ones keep you from enjoying the trip. You can minimize your time there and spent more time where you are appreciated. Godspeed on your adventure.

anne sweeney on

take care, hope you have a great time. God bless

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