Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Road trip to Cambodia

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Our visa run to Cambodia, which we ended up extending to also include Vietnam (pictures to come in the next blog post) because we have to wait for rigging parts, was a nice break from boat work. In Cambodia we spent our time in more citified and touristy areas than we normally visit with the boat. There was no ocean or beaches, though we did end up on a couple boats on the Mekong when we were in Vietnam.

The Killing Fields (Choeung
Ek Genocide Center)

We visited many of the places that our cruiser friends have gone to before us, which made them seem familiar but no less interesting.

Cambodia's history is heartbreaking. The Khmer Rouge massacred nearly a quarter of their own civilians, including brutally murdering children and babies. It wasn't that long ago and the evidence has been preserved to make sure no one forgets.  Nowadays, the capital Phnom Penh is like many bustling cities around the world, with some differences. 

Angkor Wat
Crossing the street through the never-ending streams of traffic is the most challenging we have experienced (even worse than India). You can't wait for traffic to stop because it never will (at least not all the way). You have to pick a less busy section, take a leap of faith, and then just start walking--waves of motorbikes will kind of flow around you. 

And once you have made it across the street, your adventure isn't over. Sidewalks are not for walking.  The serve primarily as motorcycle parking, extensions of storefronts and an alternative to the street whenever a motorcyclist feels they can get to their destination a bit faster by zipping along the sidewalk (which is almost always).
Naga bridge
From a base in Siem Reap, we spent a couple days visiting the famous Angkor Wat, Ta Phrom (of Tomb Raider fame), and other temples. We spent a lot of time and money to see these temples, so you're going to see them (wait, sorry--you're not the kids complaining about being dragged around; but still, here are a bunch of pictures).

Selfie proving we were at Angkor Wat.

Can you see the reclining person
in the stones?

Ta Phrom--no Angelina Jolie, sorry

We tried some new foods.

Lotus fruit. Labor intensive
snack; sort of like a bland nut.
Piles of spiders and bugs
(mostly fried--proving that
frying makes everything better)
Peeling a beetle to get
to the 'good' part

We don't have a shot of the 'after'
but the beetle was 'not his favorite'

Bamboo rice - coconut flavored
rice cooked over a fire in bamboo.
We also ate some familiar food and played tourist. There is an excellent Boston-style pizza restaurant and gourmet gelato.

Virtual reality sky diving
Phare Circus, a sort of Cambodian
Cirque du Soleil that helps disadvantaged youths
Apopo Visitor Center - Rats
trained to find land mines
Our ride on the tours

We also spent a couple days in Battambang. On a full-day tuk-tuk tour, we took a ride on the Bamboo Train and watched an endless stream of bats leaving a cave at dusk.

Baby croc
Croc farm - Overcrowded
crocs that are statue-still most
of the time
Bamboo train
There is only one track so when
two trains meet, they need to be
disassembled and put back together
These trains can move and the
rickety track makes it feel like an old-fashioned
wooden roller coast
Bat Cave (Phnom Sampeau)
at dusk. Watch a video here
(it just goes on and on).

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