Eating bugs in Cambodia!

Trip Start Aug 08, 2011
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Trip End Jul 22, 2013


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Flag of Cambodia  , Phnom Penh,
Thursday, May 2, 2013

So after a peaceful week spent sailing it was off to chaos of Bangkok! I managed to get sorted with a DSLR on my way to the airport - here the taxi drivers wait for you when you go shopping! I arrived at the airport in good time despite my panicking that it was not feasible! However I was not expecting the shambles of air Asia - they managed to check in only 2 people in over an hour! And there was no sense of urgency when I told them my flight was actually boarding! Somehow I made it and arrived at the hotel for my next tour with about 10 minutes to go!

My group are great - I really have been lucky so far! Our tour leader is Ninh who's from Vietnam and he's great - up for a laugh but also very organised and knowledgable! There are 14 people on tour ranging between 18 and mid 30s. Lots of Brits this time, a few Aussies a few Germans and my roommate Eva is finish. Everyone gets on really well and after a few cheap cocktails we were all good friends! I'm so relieved as this is my longest tour - almost 3 weeks!

The first night I got to experience the craziness that is Bangkok nightlife! It's very hectic - tuk tuks and motorbikes everywhere, street hawkers even outdoor massage centres! Every few seconds someone is in your face "tuk tuk? Ping pong?!" Ping pong is the rather bizarre and gross shows where women fire ping pings from their genitalia amongst other things! Tuk tuk drivers seem to think us tourists can't wait to see that - umm no thanks!

It was an early start the next day and a long drive to siem reap in Cambodia. The border crossing was hassle free but it looked very complicated to do yourself! We even had porters to carry our bags across the border ! That evening after a quick dip in the hotel pool (surprisingly a good standard of accomodation!) we went to a local village where we were cooked an amazing meal by the locals. They charge a small fee and proceeds go towards a school for the poor. We ate the local way sat on a cushion on the floor in a big circle! The food was really delicious - a lot less spicey than Thai food which I am relieved about! It was a lovely evening despite making the very frustrating discovery that my brand new DSLR was not working! It occasionally took a shot but rarely - it was so upsetting as they are not cheap and again although it can be fixed this will take months! Anyway trying to put this behind me, we went out for drinks and to the night market and had a really good night!

The next day was Angkor Wat - boy did I miss my camera here!! (Fortunately it worked a bit for the sunrise shots albeit only on auto mode so the skies are overexposed!) Angkor wat is a very very old temple in Cambodia made famous by the film tomb raider with Lara croft. It was such a spectacular temple and there were elephants roaming around nd some monks in their orange robes. It was however so hot that by lunchtime we were exhausted! We recovered in the pool for a bit and then that evening we wet for a sunset boat trip to Tonle Sap lake where there is a village on stilts. It was interesting to see how people can live like that. The sunset was also so beautiful. After our boat trip we went out fr dinner where we watched some traditional Cambodian dancing so it was a pretty jam packed day!

The next day was a travelling day but we fit in a visit to the new hope school - a project supported by g adventures. It was really inspiring to see what a great job they are doing! The centre provides English lessons for children and young adults and also ensures they get enrolled in a local school for other lessons. They also teach 5 older students at a time skills to work in a restaurants and these students are later emoloyed by an affiliated 5* hotel! what a great idea! They also have a health clinic which is free to all as well as an out reach clinic. The clinic is ran by only 2 local doctors yet there are over 100 patients to see each day! They rely on volunteers to help out in the clinic and school - I'm very tempted to go back sometime to help in the clinic! After a tour we spent a bit of time in the nursery class. The little ones English is more limited but they really enjoyed the novelty of having us there - a few spoke some basic English with me but mostly they hung off my neck and climbed on my lap! The rest of the day was taken up by driving to phnom penh the Capitol. Dinner was a another non profit restaurant and then it was off to bed - I was shattered!

The next day was emotionally draining - we visited the killing fields. It was not some thing any of us looked forward to but we were glad we went as it was educational - I knew only a little about the pol pot regime. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the genocide happened only 34 years ago. All educated Cambodians were persecuted by pol pot. He rounded them up in torture camps which were just horrific before sending the to the killing fields where they were inhumanely killed and buried in mass graves - up to 300 people died each night and 2 million in total! In the end it was the Vietnamese who intervened - I was deeply saddened to realise the United Nations never got involved! Only 7 people survived the camps 2 whom survive and they were both there that day - I can't imagine being subjected to such monstrosities and then to come back to the p,ace it happened and relive it every day! One of them men was an artist and he had painted some shocking images of the ways in which he was tortured! It was the saddest thing I have ever seen. It was a difficult morning hearing and seeing evidence of what happened including seeing bit of bones and teeth coming up from the soil in the mass graves. But the evidence was not only obvious at the museum it is everywhere. Cambodia was a relatively prosperous Asian country before this happened - it is now one of the poorest! There is poverty everywhere you look! I am glad we went but I'm also very glad it's behind us now!

In pnomh penh I also got sorted with my 3rd DSLR - this time at a very good price thank god. It may seem bonkers to buy a 3rd but I felt lost without t and would have regretted not doing it otherwise. I hope to make back more than half when they're fixed and I can sell them on but I will still be about £300-400 out of pocket - still it's definitely worth it and I feel much happier with a working camera around my neck! Now I just have to work out how best to get the others home as my rucksack now weighs a tonne!

We had a really good night out in Phnom Penh. Started with drinking beer in the swimming pool followed by cocktail happy hour and a delicious Khmer curry. However desert was not so pleasant - someone went and bought a bag full of fried bugs and crickets for us to try. They tasted pretty disgusting! Salty and crunchy! We then ended up in a club called 'heart of darkness' ! It was a brilliant night! Then a few of us ended up in the pool when we got back - fortunately we didn't get caught as swimming is banned after 9.30!

It's off to sihanoukville now for more beach time and snorkelling! Then we are bound for Vietnam starting with a home stay on the Mekong river! Photos to come soon!
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Comments

Anne Scott on

Wonderful, what an experience! Glad you replaced your camera.

Anne Thwaites on

Sounds like your having a great time, can't wait to do Vietnam and Cambodia next year travel safely and enjoy. xxxx

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