Cambodian first impressions

Cambodia, so far, has been a refreshing change from Thailand. Many things are the same (the climate, the prices (more or less), and the disregard of traffic "laws"), but many things are different, both for good and bad.

On the good side, things are less touristy here. I hate to say that, because it sounds so elitist, but it truly enhances my experience of the place. It is easy to find places that are like I imagine they would be if Sihanoukville wasn't a main tourist destination for Cambodia (which isn't saying much, as Cambodia isn't quite the tourist destination). Take for example this: Ryan and I were walking back from the beach, me with my juggling clubs in hand. Street kids are always pointing to the clubs with a questioning look on their face, and when I toss them up a time or two, their faces light up. Anyway, this time, I was doing just that when a rather jolly (read:drunk) looking fellow comes out of a back yard and beckons (read:drags) us into his back yard to put on a show for his friends. We oblige, naturally (for what juggler can turn down a captive, appreciative audience). Needless to say, they are extremely excited. The main guy comes out with drinks for us, which we beg off, but we do position him between us while we pass clubs around him. So fun. Things like this seem like it would happen less frequently in Thailand, or at least the touristy parts.

On the downside, Cambodia, or at least the parts I have seen so far, are poor. There are beggers everywhere, and the business people are a bit more aggressive, esp. the moto drivers. It is sad to come out of a store to 10 kids with their hands outstrecthed and a desperate look on their face. We had dinner the other evening at an outdoor place, and there was a kid that sat watching us eat the whole time. We've had many a discussion on this topic. We can never come to conclusions on what to do, how to feel, etc. etc. But whatever the case, it sure is a bring down.

Both the good and the bad is what makes it the experience that it is, and for that I am greatful. I'm looking forward to much more of each in the coming weeks.
Monday November 27 2006File under: Cambodia, travel

Toggle Comments (5)comment?
on Tue 28th Nov, 2006 05:57 pm UTC Saxtor said:
See, Wren, this is why the average traveller "vacations" versus actual travels. They are consumed by a manufactured version of the place they visit where they are sheltered from the reality of the place. This is why your version of travelling will be infinitely more rewarding in the end. Along with seeing amazing locales, by exposing yourself to the "bads," and processing those things, you are shaping your view of the world and gathering fodder to communicate this to others.
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on Tue 28th Nov, 2006 11:05 pm UTC amanda_pyle said:
hey wren, jule gave me your link and i've read almost the whole thing, except for the archives that you haven't archived. i must say that the pictures, anecdotes and your back and front ends have made me feel that i have also been travelling/vacationing in asia. i haven't been to many places outside of the states because most of my time and $$ has been spent on community causes, which i have yet to come to terms with. :) remember my hands smelling like tunafish at your bday party from trapping alley cats? haha! so thank you so much for your posts! and ironically enough, when i went to your birthday party with the local food theme the last thing i expected was for you to take a trip to asia! weren't you just in the mindset of celebrating anacortes? and yes, you should be ashamed of all of the money you spent to spend money on National Buy Nothing Day. i'd love a postcard 1117 16th St, Anacortes, WA 98221.
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on Tue 28th Nov, 2006 11:07 pm UTC amanda_pyle said:
hey wren, jule gave me your link and i've read almost the whole thing, except for the archives that you haven't archived. i must say that the pictures, anecdotes and your back and front ends have made me feel that i have also been travelling/vacationing in asia. i haven't been to many places outside of the states because most of my time and $$ has been spent on community causes, which i have yet to come to terms with. :) remember my hands smelling like tunafish at your bday party from trapping alley cats? haha! so thank you so much for your posts! and ironically enough, when i went to your birthday party with the local food theme the last thing i expected was for you to take a trip to asia! weren't you just in the mindset of celebrating anacortes? and yes, you should be ashamed of all of the money you spent to spend money on National Buy Nothing Day. i'd love a postcard 1117 16th St, Anacortes, WA 98221.
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on Tue 28th Nov, 2006 11:12 pm UTC amanda_pyle said:
ok, now i have to say a few more things. i wish i could delete the double comment and i'm not sure how it happened in the first place except i clicked on a link and then clicked on the back button in my browser to get back to your blog. your Mom has permission to make fun of me since she was gracious enough to make fur of herself for doing it. :) second, you missed Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving, but Jule and Baila showed so hooray for them. you can see their pictures on my myspace (it's linked to my user name here) and i sent a couple Baila pics to Jule which he should then forward to you since you are both so technically savvy. how refreshing. finally, i'm dying to know the books that you've read. i personally hate when i pick up a novel that turns out to be trash so i usually stick to the classics. current read: Catch 22. absolutely love it.
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on Wed 29th Nov, 2006 01:12 am UTC Mom said:
Ahh Wren, the cruelest cut--shirtless, hatless, swimming trunks--while we have been stuck at 16 degrees F all day and taking our lives in our hands just crossing these icy streets. Have mercy!
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