Roam Cambodia Trip
For the last 10 days we have been on a group trip that took us through Cambodia and into Vietnam! Yet again we have done some random stuff that you would only experience in South East Asia such as; eating crickets and getting constantly felt up by street chilldren. On this trip we have also done our life time share of culture (I am cultured to the brim now).
Anyway here is what we've been up to for those who can be bothered to read the appallingly grammared essay that is about to follow!
1. Getting in to Cambodia - This was a bit of a mission.......firstly we had to set of at radonculous 'o' clock (6.30am), when we finally got to the Cambodian border we had to fill in what felt like thousands of forms (in reality only about 3), then we had to pass through about 3 very corrupt "immigration rooms" picking up various stamps on the way, next we had to pass through quarantine (that was weird). Then when we actually were allowed into Cambodia the first thing we were greeted with was a sign saying "Non-Thai Pick pockets".........love the fact they are proud that their pick pockets are fully fledged Cambodians!
2. Cambodian School + Cricket Munching - Our first night in Cambodia was pretty cool we got to go to a Cambodian school, which was in the red light district up the most pot hole infested road in the world (standard Cambodia)! We all got to help out in an English lesson and meet the kids who were all suprisingly good at English. After the lessons we went next door for food. This was an interesting experiences we had to sit cross-legged (which neither of our knees enjoyed), we were then served course upon course starting with fried crickets and fish soup and finishing with some weird bannana bally soup conncogtion....all in all it was suprisingly yummy!
3. Angkor Who?! along with every other temple in Cambodia - On the day we like to call Temlple day we had to be ready to leave by 5am (yes that's before even the sun can be bothered to get up!), the reason for this was so we could see the sun rise behind the spectacular (the guides words not ours) Angkor Wat (or Angkor Who as I have renamed it)! To be fair Angkor Who did look quite impressive, but it wasn't as amazing as everyone said it was going to be, it was more like oooo there's the sun and ther's Angkor who lets all take 1000 pictures because everyone elsei is. They couldn't even be bothered to take the scaffolding down for us..bit rude!
We proceeded to spend the next 2 hours looking around Angkor Who climbing many a steep temple step, being shown many a temple wall and staring at alot of budha statues! By this point we felt that we had seen enough temples, but our guide had other ideas! The next temple we went to was called Angkor Thomm it wa pretty much the same same as Angkor who.....more ruined temple stuff plus alot of heat!
After spending about an hour in Angkor Thomm we walked through the jungle to a Jungle Temple, on the way we were greted by singing jungle children asking for money and alot of dust! The jungle temple was probably the most impressive as it had a tree growing out of the top of it, plus it was where part of Tomb Raider was filmed, it also had a bottom tree......so there was pretty much something for everyone!
Although the last Jungle Temple as pretty impressive we were all well and truly templed out (as we had already been templing for over 10 hours). However, as the young people were pushing for all temples to be destroyed, our tour guide and the old people of the group had other ideas.....so we were all dragged to another temple which was definately same same as all the others, some of our group even stayed in the bus because it was that same same! However we obediently followed our guide as he told us that when Cambodians relatives die they drink their ashes..........i thinking i will definately be passing on the ancestor brew!
Finally temple time was over and our feet now resembled dust!
4. Floating village - After temple time we were taken to see a foating village on the biggest lake/the dirtiest lake in Asia. The floating lake was something else........there was floating houses, floating pig pens, a floating school, a floating basket ball court and a floating bar equipped with its own crocodile pen and fish farm! There was also floating children in washing up bowls, and kids holding dead snakes asking for dollar.............it was very random! We also got to sit on top of the most unstable boat roof and have a beer while we watched the sun set which was pretty awesome!
5. Pnomh Penh - After an interesting 7 hour bus journey in which 6 of the 7 hours Jonny was busily squatting mosquitos and for half of the journey we were driving in the pitch black (due to our bus having no head lights) we arrived in Pnomh Penh (Cambodia capital). The following day we were taken to S21 and the killing fields. This was interesting but I would not consider stories of mass genocide holiday material! It is definately not a place I would recommend visiting if you wanted a light hearted relaxing day trip. We first got shown round S21 which used be a school but was converted innto a prison during Paul Pot's regime....our guide merrily showed us round each room. Each room seemed to be more depressing that the last. For example the first room had a bed and a picture of tortured man (suprisingly probably the nicest room), the final room had drawing of all the different types of tortue used there (including nipple wrenching) and a casually placed box of skulls and bones! On the way out Jonny bought a book from and had a picture with one of the 7 survivors from the prison.....which was nice but if I was him I would not want to go back to that place ever let alone everyday!
If S21 wasn't happy enough we were then taken to one of the killing fields where the people who hadn't already been tortured to death at the prisons were taken to be beaten to death and put in a mass grave. We didn't only have to see the mass graves and a killing tree (the guide tolld us it was called this becaue the guards used to hold babies by there legs and fling them against the tree.....disgusting), we also had to walk over people bones to get there! Once we had been shown every harrowing detail the guide then told us that the guards who killed and tortured over 3 million people have now been given amnesty and our allowed to live freely amongst everyonelse, and that many of the government involved our still in positions of power...............shocking!
6. Sahanoukville (beach time :))
Our next stop through Cambodia was less depressing as Sahanoukville = beach town = TAN time! Our hotel was pretty awesome it had the standard 2 double beds, a pool table, a Wii and a pool with its own current generator...pretty impressive! On the first day we ventured to the beach about 3 in search of the sun, Jonny tried his best to delay the sun search and unfortunately he suceeded as the sun didn't want to show its face. Instead we went into the sea (which was suprisingly warm) and got harrassed by people and beggers trying to sell anything and everything!
That night we had a bbq on the beach and then went to some bars, we had a fair few vodka buckets (well they called them buckets they were actually water bottles cut in half that were probably found on the beach by the street children earlier that day), and introduced the aussies to 21. We later moved to Utopia (the islands club) which was equipped with its own pool, flamming strip pole, an array of prstitutes and some very strong tequilla! We decided not to risk red eye in Utopia's pool, and instead risked it in the hotel pool........a well calculated risk i think!
Our 2nd day in Sahanoukville was boat trip day. The boat was definately a bit shabbier than we were epecting but it did the job (just very slowly, it would of probably been quicker to swim)! I also made i schoolboy error of siting in the front on the way to the island which meant I got of the boat wetter than if I had swum there! Our first stop was snorkelling time.....we didn't see any fish but we didn't mind! Next stop was Bamboo island (an uninhabited paradise), it was beautiful an we pretty much had it all to ourselves. We spent the day playing football, volleyball, eating bbq'd barracuda, and tanning it up..........suncream may have been a good idea though as we both came back pretty crispy!
That evening was valentines day so we went for another bbq on the beach which was lovely, but Jonny did nearly get in a fight with a child ladyboy who was trying to sell him a bracelet after he said that he hoped our plane crashed and we died...he must of had a bad day! That nigh we also witnessed kids no older that 8 selling fireworks to tourists and then promptly setting them off while still holding them........only in Cambodia!
7. Bye Bye Cambodia, hello Vietnam - Vietnams border crossing was another odd and very corrupt expereince we were ushered through a number of different barriers, filled in numerous forms, crossed no mans land (blatantly where alot of drug deals take place), then stood in front of heat sensor before we were finally allowed into Vietnam! We spent the night in Chau Doc, a weird little place with nothing much to do. Dec (our trip leader) told us we were eating in the hotel restaurant as places outside couldn't be trusted (always reassuring). Hoever, the hotels restaurant was more like a insect farm........there were bugs that looked like nits everywhere; in the air, in our hair, on our food and by the end of the evening the table looked like a bug graveyard as we had spent the whole meal busily squatting them all!
The next day we had a 7 hour bus ride to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam's capital). Dec warned us that crossing the road there was an experience, he told us you have to first look left and right (standard road crossing procedure), but then regardless of traffic just walk accross the road........don't run, don't jump, don't stop, just walk and the traffic will know how to avoid you apparently! When we got to Ho Chi Minh we experienced the road crossings alot, but if we had followed Dec's advice of never stop just keep walking we would of died about 3 times, the best way to cross the roads is to latch on to a local (preferably have one and each side for protection) and don't let them go!
That night was the last supper (with the group) me and Jonny both made a schoolboy error on the grub choices though. Jonny chose i raw steak (his own fault for trying to get English food), and eye ended up with a meal that consisted of rice paper (basically plastic sheets), some raw egg plant and noodles, and a bit of meat (my fault for trying to be too cultured)!
The next morning we went to the tunnels! The tunnels are the equivalent of a 3 tier London tube station, but without the trains and alot less spacious. They were built by the locals to hide from the Americans during the war and they were pretty impressive. We went down a tunnel that has been expanded just for the fatty tourists, but it was still pretty tight! We also saw all the home made traps they set for the Americans, including the s*** trap, and we tried their local grub tapeeoka (deffo not how you spell it)!
After the tunnels our time in Vietnam was pretty much over, just had a few more road crossings, and a mild case of the runs to contend with then it was time to fly back to Bangkok which now felt pretty much like home!
Right I think that is enough for today, I'm currently writing this from somewhere on the East Coast of Thailand which is pretty much paradise, but I doubt many people will have got this far and if they have they will probably be losing the will to live if they have to read anymore so I will leave the tales from paradise for another day!
Thanks for reading...........peace out! xxxx