Phnom Penh, Siam Reap, Angkor Wat
10.12.2010 34 °C
getting there now. Kyokos a bit sick so shes having a kip and I can write in secret
We took a "night bus" from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, which is a bit stupid since you get to the border about 4 hours before it opens so your left trying to sleep on a shitty bus seat. but to be fair it was a proper coach only complaint was the headrest was set too far back - i noticed it on almost every bus ive been on actually - so if you lean back you looking at the ceiling at get a stiff neck, if you dont lean back you end up getting whiplash every time you nod off, fall foward and jerk awake.
Anyway Phnom Penh is basically shit. its dirty, it stinks and its not all that cheap, about the same as bangkok maybe even more. we took a tuktuk to our hotel (which was crap) who kept telling us what we'd do tomorrow and asking what tme we wanna start tomorrow. S-21 prison museum was a bit ok, but disappointing, photos of inmates are ok but there was no really gory "after" pictures, there was a few but theyre not good quality so you cant really get a good feel. Theres no information really on how they tortured people and what information they were after, not even much information on what actually happened at the time or wh. To be honest most of what I know about Khmer Rouge comes from the Dead Kennedys "holiday in Cambdoia" and I didnt really know what that was about until I skimmed through the lonely planet. At the end of the day it was just an old prison and a room with some skulls in. The film wasnt showing when we were there dont know how long hat will go on for, but theres no discount on a ticket price for it.
The bus to siam reap was actually pretty ok, it had a toilet, and I stil lhad diarrhea, so we got on well. but going for a dump on a moving bus is bad at the best of times, on Cambodian roads, with retard at the wheel, (I still swear no one in south east asia can actually drive) and we got water and a face wipe and a sweet which was a bonus
Siam Reap was pretty uninteresting too. Probably would have enjoyed it my diarrhea had gone but still I think 3 days is too much for angkor wat. Our hotel was good though, I cant remember the name but we payed US$32 for 4 nights (fan/hot shower) including breakfast, which I ate once and regretted cos I spent most of the day with stomach cramps and looking for toilets, but it was good simple food, baguettes, eggs, sausage, etc. Green park guest house, they had a website and picked us up for free from bus terminal, arranged a tuktuk man for us, free bike hire and were actually ncie people. Its a bit out of town to so nice and quiet. I recommend it
What I dont recommend is 3 days at Angkor Wat. 3 day ticket was US$40, each, which is pretty steep to see what is basically ruins. Especially since all the restoration is done by donations from abroad. It feels like what your paying for is the wages for the millions of people to check you've paid. To top it off theres souvenier shops (all selling the same stuff, beggers, kids selling shit (all the same as each other) who wouldnt leave me alone - one actually asked to see the postcards I told him I'd already bought cheeky fuck - and over-priced restaurants. restaurants I can understand, and I guess one or 2 souvenier shops. But if I have to paid that much to get in somewhere I shouldnt have to fight off beggers and shit-sellers with a stick. Have they paid to get in? Have they fuck. Before your even out of the tuktuk theier practically fighting to be the first one to accost you with their shit, and theres no peaceful temple atmosphere just "SIR YOU WANT COLD DRINK? WATER? COCNUT?" Doesnt matter if your carrying a drink already. if someone reads this and heads that way can you find a kid you like the look of, and recommend to him he buys a bottle of sunscreen and sells one application 2000riel or something, something people actually need, but most of all tell him to keep quiet about it so he's selling something you cant buy from a million other people
My advice to best enjoy it is go by motorbike taxi, get a one day ticket the day before and start early if you wanna see a lot (but they are all the same anyway). start in the middle, work toward the start and then go from the end to the middle to avoid crowds (everyone does the same route either forwards or backwards). take a packed lunch and plenty of water save you having to deal with the shit sellers, remember your motorbike man can keep hold of your backpack so you just need to carry one bottle water and your valuables around with you. Take some earplugs so you dont have to listen to people selling all the time, and dont have any high expectations. Its just ruins at th eend of the day. And most of its covered in scaffolding.
The most interesting thing I saw was the landmine museum.
There looks to be some really good food in Cambodia though. I was trying to help my shits by eating sensible food (bread, rice, yogurt) so I didnt enjoy so much but Kyoko had some really tasty curries and noodles in Siam Reap, and in Phnom Penh there was like a massive "outdoor food court" I guess, outside the big market I think it was.
oh ps dont bother with the "waterfall" temple, its a fucking long drive to see a small waterfall. Lonely planet talk about "the river flow over a thousand linga" or something. I thought great that sounds hilarious. But its not a linga like the typical looks like a big cock linga, there just little stubs under the water, like thick CD's.