Ok i would just like to point out that this photo is not relevant at all to Phnom Penh which is our location at the moment, but it was the only one under 'Cambodia' on STA and don't have time to upload our own ones at the mo!
Since Nush wrote on our blog, we have arrived in the capital at a fairly basic guesthouse in the backpacker part of the city. It's a bit dingy but nice and cheap and the people that work here are really friendly. We did have another problematic bus on our journey here, as the air con broke for quite a while! But all was sorted out and we got here at lunchtime on Sunday. We spent that afternoon wandering round the centre and had a drink at a cafe where these really sweet boys who must have been about 7 or 8, and seemed to be homeless, came over and asked to finish Nush's drink?! Then they started laying some cards out on the table and played some weird sort of game with us that we did not understand, but they found it all very amusing so we did too.
We did have a bit of a trauma that afternoon though, as Vietnam is the only country we're going to where you must get the visa in advance, and when we asked our guesthouse to sort it out for us, they said we wouldn't get it till Saturday because of the Khmer New Year, which lasts from last Sunday to this Thursday! So that really worried us as we couldn't afford to lose those days, and after asking around at other places it did seem like we would be stuck there! Then we thought of flying to Ho Chi Minh City, and trying to get a visa at the airport, but then some people said you can't get one there anyway. Luckily, on Tues morn we got up early and found a travel agent who said he could get visas for us for 5pm today but it would cost $45 instead of $33, so we agreed to do that and booked a bus for tomorrow for 6.30am.
After that dilemma, we spent the day sightseeing, and hired a tuktuk through our hostel for the day, who firstly was late, and then left us stranded for a total of 3 hours at various places as the tuktuk kept breaking down! It was a really interesting day though as we got to see the killing fields, where there was a huge tower full of thousands of skulls of people that were executed there by the Knmer Rouge, and the Tuol Sleng S21 museum, a primary school that was turned into a prison with torture chambers, and still looks the same as it did thirty years ago. It was so shoking to think how recently all of it happened, and how many people in Cambodia were affected by it.
We then went to the Grand Palace, where the Silver Pagoda is, but because of the stupid New Year, it was closed! The Pagoda was open but it was so expensive to get in that we decided to leave it and go to the National Museum ... but that was a bit of a waste of time as it was not very interesting at all, although it did have a lovely courtyard garden bit (that you would have liked, Dad).
That night we had dinner at a restaurant where we met a couple of guys in their twenties who went to Oxford together, and we spent most of the eve chatting with them.
Today we had a bit of a quiet day, just reading and taking a boat trip out to the Mekong River (the first time we've seen it!) which was nice. We just finished watching a film called "The Killing Fields" about Dith Pran and the Khmer Rouge, which was interesting, after having gone to the killing fields and Tuol Sleng museum.
So that's about it, next blog entry will be from Vietnam! ... hopefully ...
Oh and look at our photos!!
Lots of love
Kat and Nush