I had 2 nights in bangkok, then moved onto the thailand cambodia border crossing, the flooding was geting a bit of a worry in bangkok so thought it best to move on. The border crossing was interesting to say the least! Visas easy to get but sooo many scams as you entered Cambodia and you really didnt know who to trust. I had read up and had warnings from my mum that often people try to scam you there so I knew to be on the look out. We got quite hassled by some taxi drivers who followed us for around 1/2 mile up a road (while carrying our big rucksacks in the sweltering heat) and we ended up getting escorted away by the 'tourist police' who at the time we didnt know if they really were genuine police or not, so was a litle scary! But they were genuine and so it all worked out okay in the end.
After entering cambodia I spent 3 nights in a place called Seim Reap in Cambodia, its near the famous angkor wat ruins and really really enjoyed it there. The cambodian people are so so friendly and helpful and literally ALWAYS smiling. The hostel there was amazing, 4 pounds a night for a double ensuite room to myself with a wee balcony etc, so so good. The owner 'Mr Why Not' and his brother 'Ha' (tourist friendly names I think!!) were so lovely and I felt very safe and looked after there, quite different from my 22 bed dorm in bangkok haha!! Also went to some floating villages which were just beautiful. Spent a few hours out on wee boats going around all these little villages. The children swim to school there every day. The women and children there were fascinated by my very white skin, and kept pointing and smiling. Over here the cambodians love white skin and if they can afford it they use a whitening cream on their body to try and lighten their colour. Crazy that over with us we do the exact opposite!!
Have noticed that the Cambodians often drop the last consonants in words so for eg my name 'nat' they will say 'na'. So had been training my last hostel owners 'mr why not' and 'ha' & by the time I left they were starting to use their final consonants in english words, haha, who said I wouldnt be doing some SLT work while away eh??!!
The last 3 days I have been travelling with 2 radiographers from cardiff, Clare and Dot, they work in Velindre hospital, they are friends of friends who happenned to be going my way for a few days so thats been really nice to join up with them.
After Siem Reap we got a 6 hour bus ride to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The bus cost 6 us dollars and we were given water and a little bun/cake thing. was quite comfy with air con so that was a comfy trip. The hostel we are staying in here in Phnom Penh is called 'me mates place' - we have a 6 bed drom, it is really spacious and nice, perhaps a little out of the town but absolutely fine. Great big bathroom, 7 us dollars per night so again good value. Not quite the same as our last wee place but still great.
Today 4 of us hired a tuk tuk for the day and went to the S21 Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh and then to Cambodia's killing fields at Choeung Ek, about 25-30 mins tuk tuk ride from the centre of town, Was a somber experience really, similar in some ways to what you feel when visiting Auschwitz in Poland. It is shocking that all this happenned in the 1970's, not that long ago at all. In the S21 Genocide Museum it was very sad and shocking and blood could still be seen in some of the torture cells. It used to be a school and then was converted into the prison and torture area in the capital by the cruel 'Khmer Rouge' Regime. The prisioners were then often sent to the killing fields to be executed and then mass buried. The killing fields were not what I expected. I had expected a large vast area of fields but instead it was quite a qaint peaceful little place with paths and some ponds etc. There was a building which housed all the skulls which had been found are they had been analysed and ordered in male and females age groups. There are still teeth and clothes that can be seen in the ground and paths as you walk along and when it rains and dust is washed away the staff there collect new remains that are still often found and brought to the surface.
After a sad morning we went to see the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh which is very grand indeed! This is what the photo is attached to this blog. The heat was intense at this point so we spent some time stood under the plant sprinklers in the palace!! The silver pagoda is also there, with the entire floor made out of pure silver tiles, weighing 1kg each. The amount of value in this palace is unbelivable , especially when you consider that right outside the palace gates there are so so many people begging and living in awful conditions.
After the next 3 nights in Phnom Penh said Pom Pen - (the capital of cambodia) I will probably head off on my own again, the girls I have been with are moving to vietnam but I want to spend another few days in Cambodia as I just love the country and the people, plus I have the time so I might as well. It is so affordable here too, around 2 pounds for an evening meal and their local beer is 40p ish - so you can imagine that the bargain queen is in her element!!. All their wine is imported so unfort I am having to resit the white wine as its so expensive, never thought I would be drinking local beer! Its nice and light though so quite refreshing in the 30 degrees heat. The heat is quite powerful here, not the kind of weather where you would burn badly (although am wearing factor 40 anyay haha, but a dead humid heat where you just sweat - yuk!!). There are a lot of children and adults begging here in Cambdoia, it is quite hard to get used to as they often follow you or stand begging for some time and its so hard to not just give them all your money.