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Holiday In Cambodia

The Sex Pistols said that…

Well, here we are in Phnom Penh, and the feeling is… dodgy. There are no ATMs in the entire country, and most of the streets in the city don’t seem to be paved. It reminds me of Vietnam in a way, complete with hassling by moto/cyclo drivers and vigorous tootling aplenty. The only thing that’s missing is the ominous feeling of Government everywhere. In Cambodia, it feels as though there is no system of anything. Almost lawless. We’re safe though, so don’t all start freaking out.

I just discovered that I have only 2 weeks until I depart. :( But we’ve still got a few big things on the agenda, namely a visit to the huge Khmer temples around Siem Riep. There are a few things around Phnom Penh we’ll look at first, things I think will fully smash me around. I’ll try and write about those if it’s possible.

So far we’ve had an interesting time of it. Bus ride at the crack of dawn from Trat (Thailand) to Koh Kong (sort of limbo between Thailand and Cambodia). The border crossing was the most chaotic yet, with about 20 Westerners trying to cross the border and three billion taxi and bus drivers competing for their business. We filled out a declaration stating that we didn’t have SARS and paid a 100 baht processing fee, got 17 different stamps on the passport, a cab to the ferry. The ferry was due to leave at 8:00am and there’s only one a day. We left the border checkpoint at 7:53. The driver stopped and said we could get money changed, baht to riel, but the ferry won’t leave for another twenty minutes, I promise. Jen changed US$100 into riel and got a block of cash back which made her look like the perpatrator of a bank heist.

Picture 127

True to his word, the ferry hadn’t left. About 4 hours later we were in Sihanoukville and battled another 16 million tuk-tuk/moto/cyclo drivers at the wharf, had passports checked again and got another cab to the New Paris Hotel. A grand old big clean cheap place. This country has a reputation for having a heavily armed citizenry, so Jen and I decided to start taking a “gunshots heard” tally that night. The score so far: a rather surprising 0.

Tonight we’re staying at the No. 9 Sister guesthouse at the lakeside on the recommendation of Liam and Cerri who I met in Vietnam. I’ve managed to locate all the places Liam mentioned to me so far and they’re all as wikkid as he suggested.

Cambodia feels very much like a dodgy place. Phnom Penh is the capitol of dodge. Brett, you should be mayor of this town. They have a music shop here which will rip, mix and burn CDs for you. They’ll also do MP3 format, mini-disc, whatever. DVDs too, I think. All for about US$1.50 a disc. Or you can swap your tunes with them.

That’s about it for right now y’all. Have a good Australia Day for those in .au, I’ll catch you later.

Take care ey!

– Paul C./Karsoe

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