The # 40 country logged in…….ladies and gentlemen…
C A M B O D I A
Here I am. Mmmmmm…Smell the hot humid air…Feel the tropical scents….incense comes in spurts somewhere…..a bug brushes past your skin… You’re getting escorted in an open air Tuk Tuk taxi at three in the morning. All is quiet, some groups of people are socializing outside on small plastic colorful chairs around some street food carts….some are sleeping…on an canvas bed, a motorcycle….couple thin alley cats….wow it’s warm for three in the morning…looking forward to the daytime…and sleeping. 🙂
I recognize it immediately. I am in another country. A non-industrial nation that has all kinds of living expression going on. There are many types of ways to be transported, such as motorcycles, bamboo juice motor carts, mopeds, autos, bike rickshaws. The buildings don’t really go over 50 meters high. Many stay around the 4-5 story height, another sign of not being in an industrial city. Little Buddhist shrines sprinkle the myriad of businesses as we drive past…This is Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city in the country.
I haven’t even been here 24 hours, but I am excited to be here. As I was entering the city from the Tuk Tuk, I realized it had been some time since I was in a nation such as Cambodia. The closest similarity was India and that was 2004. Asian, hot, somewhat chaotic as compared to the states and Europe. Life bubbling…Being in a hotter climate changes lifestyle. More relaxed, fairly friendly, business as usual.
I’m paying $7 a night for a room with a pool, restaurant and lounge, laundry, security, and personal TukTuk driver at my pleasure. Renting a bike, $3, renting a motorcycle, $7. “I’ll take the motorcycle please…” Soon, but for now, I’m not here for tourist reasons as much as I am here to learn and connect to the unjust things that happen here in country. Trafficking and child prostitution happen here in Phnom Penh, and people tell me PP is the new Bangkok, as Bangkok is currently getting more political pressure to enforce the laws against it. I will assess the situation here and what efforts are being made currently to limit it. Meeting with people engaged in the issue is in the works. Tomorrow I will go to World Vision Cambodia to see our fieldwork and connect with my colleagues here. We have quite a big presence here in the area and are respected. Already my Tuk Tuk driver spoke highly of our NGO (non-governmental organization).
I just had a nice fish and rice lunch, with a soup and an iced sweet coffee. Grand total: $1.75. Ahhh, it’s good to be in Cambodia.
In the hotel I’m at, there are reminders of the types of travelers one can encounter in a country like this. My roommates are 3 Latino long-haired tied bun in the back yoga hippies, a sort of typical type one may find in the sub-tropical areas of SE Asia and India, then we have our expats who came here and never left, and they look thin, toned, and like they have seen a thing or two since being here and maybe smoked opium at one point. Then there’s the British students on their gap years, have fun kids. And then there’s the people who come here to escape some predicaments they may have had in their own country. It’s not hard to come here as a foreigner and live an escaped sweet life.
Just to give you an example…I’ve met a guy who lives in a three-story four bedroom house alone, has his own security guard, his personal Tuk Tuk driver and runs a movie house in the city that shows western movies every night. Totally freelance, 34 years old, writer on the side, part-time actor on the side…He’s not spending a lot of money..He’s making money, and having a blast while living. Hey as long as you don’t mind the environment, it’s all good. And the environment is so far, so good, in my eyes. Off to continue resting today, then onto work for the week~~
Ciao for now, Thanks for reading and responding. Good to have friends~