Banh Mi, Tour Giuides, Bus rides and Two legged sharks
Jan 26, 2005
|Cambodia- The land of dust, pollution, mangy dogs and temples.
We left Vietnam after a pretty good night in Ho Chi Minh city on the piss for a farewell to our Vietnamese tour guide. So off to the border we went for the crossing into Cambodia. Our tour guide took the plunge and did a little bribing of the border guards so we all got through rather fast. We walked through a veritable no mans land until we got to the Cambodian side. Immigration was a walk in the park and I can see Australian fruit inspectors going mental over how easy we crossed the border.
We got on a bus for the five hour trip to the Cambodian capital Pnomh Pen. We had to perform a ferry crossing on the bus so I got off to stretch my legs. Bad move. Beggars came from everywhere trying to sell me shit. I had a bright Idea and thought that I would give them some chewing gum. BAd move. Afetr handing my chewing gum to one kid I was surrounded by others. I tried to make it plainly clear that i had no more but this irritating little f*&K kept grabbing my arm and whinging. I was just about ready to backhand him. It was hot, I had a hangover and the whole place smells like stale piss.
We got to our flash digs and then got told by the tour guide we would have to tip the driver.
Lesson one- Cambodians want a tip if they show you how to crack a beer. Lesson for cambodians. Australians don't tip unless they think it was worth it.
It led to a few uncomfortable moments with the tour guide and us. Then he had the hide to take us out to a restaurant that costs four times as much as Vietnam. Cambodia has a porrer standard of living but higher prices for stuff. Go figure.
We had a very quiet Australia day as we are still feeling pretty unwell.
The next day we did three tours we did not ask for and had to pay tips to four guides in three hours. My blood was boiling by this stage. We had to pay money if we wanted to take photographs but we could not photograph inside the buildings. We all had a really loud bitch to the tour guide at this point and he seemed to take notice. We have uni students on the trip who can't afford getting ripped at every opportunity by some dodgy used car salesmen. Begging is not just for the amateurs.
The policy in SEA at the moment is that if you are white you are enourmously wealthy and we should screw you at every opportunity.
The hardest thing here are the beggers. The litle kids come up and ask for stuff all the time. We give them nothing as it just spurs on the next one and it get's chaotic. Heartless you may think but necesary.
We got back to the hotel and had a quiet night at a local restaurant. Steamed fish cambodian style is a great dish and one you should try if you are ever unfortunate enough to end up in this shithole.
We left Pnom Pen the next day and travelled up to Siem Reap where we are today. Last night was spent walking up a seriously steep mountain temple with four thousand japanese tourist to watch a sunset blocked by the continual atmospheric pollution that inhabits this whole region. We went to a buffet that the tour guide organised and had a bit of a moment when we sat there and refused to pay $12 per person. We talked them down to 8 which was good because the food was shit.
We watched some traditional dancing which was great and had another early night due to the flu.
Today we went to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.
I will write about it tommorrow.
Thanks for the messages and we hope you are safe and your limbs remain unbroken (stop teaching her WWF manouvers Gareth!!)
Love you all