Phnom Penh round two!

I circled back to Phnom Penh because the weather was bad in Sihanouckville and I wanted to catch a flight to Malaysia next.

I stayed at the newly opened Same Same guesthouse. It was only $4 for a bed in the air conditioned dorm. It is owned and run by Coco and his cousins, who are a super fun, friendly young group.

The dorm consisted of all British people with the exception of me. We met a Belgian couple that was staying in a room and we all went out.

I really liked the Belgian couple (Vicky and Demetri) and they were more than happy to have me tag along with them the next day to the river and to the central and Russian market.

Demetri tried the chicken embryo from a street vendor by the river. It is basically what it sounds like, a developing chicken egg that has an embryo. This is a pretty popular snack in Southeast Asia.

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I wanted to try, but I lost my appetite after he pointed out there were feathers are ready developing in it. Gross!!  I made up for it later by trying a maggot from a street vendor in the central market. Tasted like buttery potatoes. Check out all the bugs and frogs she had..

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We ran into several playful Cambodian children. They are by far the cutest kids in Southeast Asia.

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We walked by a smaller street market that had live chickens pinned down on a table and the chopping block was on the same table right next to them. It is like before and after!!

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The next day I volunteered my time and some money with Choice Cambodia school in the poverty stricken outskirts of Phnom Penh.  An Irish girl, Claudia, that I recruited the night before came with. We helped in the kindergarten class which had 42 in attendance. The teacher was overwhelmed with the children and kept saying thank you to us. Right after roll call, it was drawing time. All the kids pushed and shoved and hung all over me, so that I would draw them a bird that they could color in. Coloring books would be a good thing to donate.

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The bell rang and it was recess. One kid wanted to be picked up so I took his arms and swung him in a circle. Bad idea, every kid wanted to be swung around. I got so dizzy and sweaty I decided ring around the rosy would be better to do with more than one kid. They loved it.

We watched a cartoon which was very violent and in my opinion inappropriate for children their age. Then they practiced Khmer letters on the whiteboard. Only a few got to do it. Lined paper would be another good thing to donate.

After only 4 hours school was over. They lined up and sang Khmer songs. The best part was going on the ‘school bus’ and seeing where these children live. As squatters, they own next to nothing. Tattered, one roomed shacks lined the streets.

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According to the director of choice Cambodia, the people in Phnom Penh are not poor, even the dirty ragged beggars, who pay the police $10 a month to be able to beg, make good money off tourist. The children that are selling items should usually be in school. Do not give money to children or beggars it only encourages it. When the children grow up they have no education and the boys likely become thieves and the girls usually become prostitutes at a very young age.  Sex tourism disgusts me. The poorest people in Phnom Penh are he glue sniffers. They sniff glue out of a bag. They usually don’t have money to pay off the cops, so they are detained a lot.

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On the way back to Phnom Penh we stopped off at another squatter village which had shacks raised above disgusting littered water.

On the way to bed I got roped into a free beer with the owners. They insisted I have one because it was my last night there. Lol. One beer turned into 5 then we went to a locals club and danced it all off! A girl from Iceland joined us as well. We ended the night at Platoon.

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The next day I took a flight to kuala lumpor, Malaysia.

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Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Sihanoukville is south of Siem Reap on the coast. The weather isn’t so great right now, but at least I got a beautiful day in on Serendipity Beach.

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I checked out Otres beach the day before and it was raining so hard and there were no rooms/beds available, so that’s why I stayed in Serendipity.  I booked a boat to Koh Rong, a beautiful island off the coast, the next day. Unfortunately, the boat ride was canceled due to the heavy rain. The weather won’t clear up for another week, so I’m off back to Phnom Penh to catch a flight to Malaysia.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

We stayed at a place called Green Town Guesthouse which is about 1 mile from the night market. The room was hotter then heck, but it was cheap!

We walked to the night market and got a Cambodian dish platter so we could try it all. The amok fish was my favorite. Then we did some shopping and watched a drag queen show that was happening on a the night market stage. They lip synched and did skits. They weren’t even trying to hide that they were men. One drag queen lip synched a Whitney Houston song, the music purposely cut out and she/he was singing at the top of his male lungs and he started laughing.

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At sun rise the next day we went to Angkor Wat. We got there at about 6 am to find a huge crowd. But we still enjoyed it.

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The Bayon Temple, which is in the center of Angkor Thom, has 216 smiling faces around the complex. The inside was well lit by sunlight and had beautiful hallways. It was the surreal state temple of king Jayavarman VII. This was my second favorite one.

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Attempting a forearm stand but scared to fall down the stairs

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There we go!

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Beautiful detail

Ta Prohm was my favorite because century old tree’s roots are wrapped around the temple.  There are two types of trees; silk-cotton (which have huge trunks) and ficus (which strangle a tree with its multiple roots) Tomb Raider and Two Brothers were filmed there.

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Ficus that took over

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Base of silk cotton tree

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Golden dragon lizard in between old stones

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Ta Keo is a huge mountain of temple. It is believed that it was the first built out of sand stone.

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Super steep stairs

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Catherine is off to Thailand and I’m off to Sihanoukville, which is down south on the coast. I’m taking a night bus, so I save on a hotel 😉

While I wait for my bus, I decided to go to blue pumpkin. Upstairs has a cool lounge with beds,AC and WiFi.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Crossed the border from Vietnam with no problems.

There is definitely a different feel to Cambodia. There’s more poverty.
The people are beautiful and always smile genuinely, such a nice change from the feisty Vietnamese.

Catherine and I met a German named Carson while going to the royal palace, so he tagged along.

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Silver pagoda

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Unrestored mural

Then we went to the street market.

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There is pig tongue, pig ears and chicken heads in the bottom

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His feet are inches away from the meat gross!!

Carson talked us into going to Platoon night club. We got bottle service for pretty cheap and danced our feet off! Catherine and I got home at 3:30 am. Carson left a couple hours before us, which was funny because we originally planned on coming home early because we were exhausted, but we were having so much fun we out lasted Carson. We danced with some local girls who would go off and dance with gross old white guys. Catherine gave one of the girls a 20 to not dance with this creepy old white guy. Lol it was so funny!!

Election time. Party Number 4 (rescue party) and 7 (people’s party). Locals parade around and with their party’s flag. A teenager on a motorbike shouted to me, “Number 4 Miss, vote number 4!” Well I would vote for number 4, but I’m not a citizen. Lol. According to a local, Number 4 is a new party, which are more like the freedom party with no corruption.  It is believed that they will gain more freedom.

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Time to be serious. Cambodia has endured a genocide in pretty recent history. We wanted to learn more, so we took a tuk tuk, which was pretty cheap, to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Feilds.

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My mask because it was so dusty

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There are a ton of families on motor bikes even babies

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge, tried to completely change society structure to a agricultural peasant society. Pol Pot was the leader of the mass genocide of the Cambodian people. He is a Cambodian, so he was killing his own people. He gathered an army of country workers and arrested anyone that was educated or in his eyes fallen to western ways.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – The S21 Prison, formerly a high school, was transformed by Pol Pots security forces to include holding cells (0.8 x 2 meters) and torture chambers. About 100 people were killed a day to be punished for false accusations. The Khmer Leaders kept detail records of all the inmates including photographs of the dead tortured bodies, which were displayed. There were only 7 survivors left alive when Vietnam army liberated Phnom Penh in 1979. The surviving 7 were painters, drawers or photographers which were needed skills.

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Holding cells

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Children prisoners

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Killing fields of Choeung Ek-Most of the 17k S-21 detainees were executed in the killing Fields. Detainees included children. In fact, there is a tree that was used to kill small children by slamming them into the tree. Visitors leave their bracelets on the tree to show their sympathies to the victims. 

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There is a display of over 8k skulls of the victims and their clothes. Each level hands different sized bones.

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This was a pretty emotional day, this tragedy happened so recently in history.  Seeing the way the prisoners were tortured and to see their photographed dead bodies was the hardest. I will never forget this memorial.

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After the long depressing day, we tried out a Cambodian restaurant called Sleuk Chark where you sit on the floor. Our waiter was adorable and helped us decide on what to order. We didn’t realize that with one of the dishes we were eating had insects until we saw the contrast of their bodies against the white rice. There were big ants and big wasps. Great protein.

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Fish dish came out with a burner under it keeping it hot. Then we got Dried beef with sesame seeds that tasted kinda like a thick  beef jerky.

Next stop Siem Reap for some Angkor action!