Friday, October 3, 2014

Cambodia

It has been a while since I crossed the border from Vietnam to Cambodia. I did it by bus and all went smooth. I chose Phnom Penh as a place for getting my Indian visa as I googled it should be nice and easy here, but, there is always a but when getting visa. Apparently here they don't issue visa earlier then 2 weeks before your journey, so they told me to come back later. And also the procedure takes only few days, not two weeks like in EU. I was highly disappointed, packed and went to Siem Reap to do some volunteering teaching English in a small village. This was definitely a good decision and great experience. I never did this before and I have to say it's not so difficult. Kids are eager to learn and wild. The school is very basic and chickens often take over the classrooms during breaks. It's very organic and follows the pace of the village. I stayed for 10 days and visited some of the Angkor temples at weekend. (Did you know that Angkor is run by Vietnamese and all the profit goes to Vietnam?)
I had bad diarrhoea followed by a flu while there, it had spoiled the experience a bit. I was tired and at the end loosing my voice, so it was good that more volunteers arrived and we could split the day. How did I find it? On workaway.info. There are many schools and organisations listed, just choose the one for you. I was lucky to meet some great people there.
Cambodia is very poor and people live simply. I thing that it's the highest number of tuk-tuk and motorbike drivers per head here. And I have not seen expensive motorbikes elsewhere but here, which is a bit bizarre. Dukes are especially popular. It is definitely a land of smiles, grieve, eating, flat landscape, lots of water and pretty people. Phnom Penh as any capital is a place of many possibilities, dirt and traffic. It has large French community and some fine bars, restaurants and one Costa coffee shop. Everyone warns tourists to be very careful with handbags as lots of bag snatching apparently happens here. Otherwise it feels safe during daylight. Moto ride through town and day is just one dollar.. tuk-tuk ride should not be more then 5$. Me and my friend Mel went to a cinema last night to watch The killing fields and that was a nice experience. Good movie, it was only us there so we could talk and enjoy it well.
There is lots of beggars here as well and many of them are children, or children selling things at night on streets, sad picture, but not much we can do, apart from not buying and not giving them money and hope this businesses will disaapear. Cambodia is also a land of pretty ladies and lots of prostitution can be noted. High risk of HIV is present. And Lady boys!! Yes it's somehow normal social thing and very popular.



On the other hand, people in the countryside are still growing their own rice, cook on fire, sleep in stilt houses and rely on natural resources. Cambodians eat almost everthing, frogs, snakes, crickets, you name it. Homes are simple and traditional. Rubbish is a huge issue, there is no education about it, so it's either everywhere, or burnt.

I am currently waiting for my Indian visa to be issued, so stuck in Phnom Penh, but with very nice couch surfers. As this visa process takes so long, mainly due to holidays, I will have to change my plan, skip Laos and go to Thailand instead. I still hope that I can visit Myanmar for 2 weeks. Wish me luck!