Cambodia

Trip Start Jul 01, 2006
1
11
14
Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We entered Cambodia at the land border with Thailand (Poipet) on the 14th of November making Thailand the favourite country so far. Within 100m of the border crossing the road changed from level tarmac to rutted mud shaking us around really hard & making me wish for a sports bra! Our first stop was Siem Reap, a small town which has boomed from tourism over the last few years because it's the site of the world famous Angkor Wat temple complex. Which according to our guide is well know as one of the 7 wonders of the world! (Every guide for every attraction has said this, which by my calculation works out at 873 7wonders of the world)The temples were fantastic though, especially Ta Prohm which is choked by jungle roots and creepers and is apparently one of the places where tomb raider was filmed. We walked around for hours being begged to buy postcards & photocopied lonely planet guide books. It's so hot and humid that our air-con makes us shiver when it's set below 25'c!!

So far we have seen the Angkor temples, a floating village(complete with floating crocodile farm) on Tonle Sap Lake and some freshwater dolphins in the Mekong river(which are supposedly only number 90-100)

Everybody outside of the big cities, which means Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville, lives surprisingly traditionally, fishing with round cast nets or farming rice (they really do wear those pointy straw hats!)

We have been riding on top of a mini-bus and everybody smiles and waves and is friendly without trying to rip you off (a refreshing change!) I thought that with such recent problems and atrocities everyone would be suspicious but they're not at all. It's so good to constantly get smiled at and waved to or to have people approach you to practise their english. Especially when smiling at anyone at home just earns you the finger!

There's also the usual contradiction of everyone having a mobile phone but nobody having plumbing or a fridge that seems to occur in every poor country we've been. There's always a stall selling blocks of ice which is cut with a hand saw and loads of people walk around with deadly looking sickles or ride scooters with extra suspension bolted on and 2live pigs or 50chickens struggling on the back!
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