Cambodia Rocks!!! Three weary travellers turned up tired and hungry in search of a few home comforts and were nourished back to health by one particular lively cafe - the saviour that is BoJangles!!! A cheap little cafe that served great western food, and boy did we need it!!! After that first night arriving in Phnom Penh and having a few bevvies to cheer ourselves up, BoJangles became our regular. Alex was happy with his 2.75 dollar beer jugs, and Dan was particularly pleased to just see food!!!
We spent 5 days in Phonm Penh, and it has become our fav destination so far. Visiting the Killing Fields and The Genocide Museum was certainly an eye opener and gave us a greater understanding and appreciation of a country that has only been out of war for 30 years. Mass graves, where over 20,000 women, children and men were shot, blundered, stabbed to death for no good reason due to one sadistic man with too much power. Fabric from their clothes still poking out between the soil in the ground, this was nothing like England where all of this would have been behind glass - we were walking in the exact places thousands were kneeling before their lives were brutally taken. The Museum, which once was a high school and then turned into a prison to interrogate the thousands before their execution, also sent a chill up me. Standing between the hundred odd wooden and brick cells, barely big enough to stretch my arms out in, was all a little to real for me and I quickly had to escape outside.
The next day we went to the Orphange, we were all a little unsure what to expect and bundled into a tuk tuk with our 30 dollar bag of rice as an offering. What I thought may be quite a difficult experience turned out to be one of the most rewarding afternoons. Dan and Alex kept some of the kids entertained playing games like Thumb Wars and Rock Paper Scissors whilst I had an appointment with a 10 year old who was intent on giving me a new hair style! 29 kids in total live at the Orphanage and it costs $17,000 a year to run.
After 5 days in Phenom Penh we headed up North to Siem Reep ready to see one of the wonders of the world - Angkor Wat. We arrived Thursday (12th) evening, settled in and went to explore the town, heading to a spot with the original name of - Pub Street!!! Walking down here you had to remind yourself where in the world you actually were, as this could easily have been an european haven for a binge drinking holiday!!
Valentines Day, we woke up at 3.55am - much to the guys dislike - and headed off on our tuk tuk towards Angkor Wat. I had been told we needed to get there for 5am when the site opened, however on arrival we were told we were the first there and the sun wasn't due to rise for another hr and half!! None of us had even thought about the fact there possibly wouldn't be any lights around the temple, and luckily Dan has his trusty torch in the bag so heading towards a black nothingness we walked towards where we hoped the temple would be!! We had to walk through part of the ruins to get to the other side and this is where you would think,"I'm on holiday with two strapping men, surely this is where they take the lead, do the manly thing show some balls!!!" - NO who takes the lead when suddenly they think they hear bats inside, and I have to head in first with the torch just to check it all out and make sure it's safe for the wee fellas!!!!! Baring in mind it couldn't have been more than 15 feet to walk across to the other side!!! AH BLESS!!!
Anyway taking charge (as always) I lead the way and the boys scurry after when they see I have made it alive to the other side with out disturbing any "bats"!!!! We walked up the long aisle and for about half an hr we were quite confused on where an earth to go as there was no one to ask where you stand for the famous picture with the water infront and all I could see was a small pond area. Eventually once more people arrived and it got lighter we realised that the small pond was indeed the correct place, but the photos we had always seen had given the illusion the pond was MUCH bigger. Even though it was quite a hazy morning and consequently the sunrise wasn't as amazing as I had hoped, it was still a sight when the sun finally rose behind the temple.
After spending a few hours exploring some of the other temples we headed back to the hostel, and went to ly by the pool for the remainder of the day - a treat that we had only had once back in Chang Mai. The boys had a little nap later that afternoon, whilst I sang along to Aretha Franklin whilst doing some laundry in the sink - my little ready made family!!
The day finished off with us hitting the Pub Street where we had our first famous - Bucket!!! A Thailand (ok we were in Cambodia) tradition - a choice of spirit, mixer and their red bull in a small sandcastle bucket with a handful of straws! Needless to say we had a very good evening!!
After a few more days relaxing, Tuesday 17th, morning we left Siem Reep at 7.30am to head back to Bangkok and we were in for another memorable journey!! Health and Safety is not a priority here, so whilst your perched on a seat on the bus, everyone's luggage is on the floor in the gang way - heaven help if we all had to exit the bus quickly! As usal the drivers like to make several stops along the way, and we had been told we would reach thr border within 4-5 hrs. After stopping for the 3rd time, naturally we were not happy but a few foreigners on the bus decided to take matters into their own hands, and rudely started shouting and pushing the driver saying they didn't want to stop here. It all got totally out of hand, they were going to stop and thats just the way this country is. If we had thought the Laos/Cambodia border was bad the Cambodia/Thailand was the worse ever - it took over 2hrs for us to clear through and the fact we had brought our visas back home didn't seem to really matter! Having finally crossed the border at 4pm and packed into a mini bus to take us back to Bangkok, we got pulled over half way by teh milatary who were obviously searching for someone as we all had to hand over our passports for check - I suddenly had the feeling of being an illegal immigrant stuffed in the back of a truck!
Safe, sound but flipping tired we arrived back in Bangkok ready to meet Chris who was arriving to spend the next 10 days with us as we head south to the islands.