Friday, April 23, 2010


oh, hello cambodia.

so, for the past 5 days, we have been exploring thailand's neighbour to the east, and basking in her glorious heat. no, seriously, it is REALLY hot here. and maybe it feels hotter because we're no longer soaked by songkran, and instead with our own sweat ... but 42°C and sunny is the hottest place i've been in my life.

not that i'm complaining, of course :)

we spent our first three cambodian days in the country's capital, phnom penh. phnom penh is a bustling city, with a million motor bikes. there's more to it, but that's the best way to describe it. our hostel was a short jaunt away from the tonle sap river, and about 15 minute walk to the touristy riverside strip. we spent our first day with a sombre visit to the killing fields and genocide museum, and got thorough insight into cambodia's all too recent terrible and violent history.

as an aside ...

it's reassuring to see that this country is taking steps to move forward from its past, but it's heartbreaking to watch how slowly these changes are unfolding. there is serious poverty here; many women and children are begging in the street. and while tourism is contributing a lot to cambodia's economy and prosperous future - it's clearly not enough. and doesn't do much to make me feel like less of a privileged westerner on a fancy vacation while children are asking for food from my patio lunch. even if we give in to each request, a dollar or two doesn't give these children an education or a proper meal. it's heartbreaking.

please check these out:

we left phnom penh on wednesday and took a 6 hour bus ride north to siem reap, where we are now. siem reap is the home to the temples of angkor, which was #1 on my must-do list when planning our trip to southeast asia. we've bought a 3-day pass to visit the sites, and have already spent our first day exploring. truly breathtaking and amazing and awe-inspiring. and HOT. i'm pretty sure i sweat all of my sunscreen off, and consequently burned one shoulder. and there's two more days to come ...

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