A Travellerspoint blog

on to cambodia

just when i,d learned 3 words in vietnamese

semi-overcast 78 °F

got up early, went down the street for breakfast at our new favorite spot run by the wife of a man who now lives in houston. he told us he visits, but doesn't bring his wife to the US. cannot afford to, and seems to have had a whole new family in texas... he's been gone for 28 years, everyone seems fine with the arrangement. across the street is a high school, all the kids coming to school on their bikes, the girls wearing white ao dao, long split side tunic over loose white pants. each one has a method to keep the skirt tails out of the spokes. the boys are in dark pants, white shirts. all very serious...

after breakfast, we trot back to the hotel, finish packing, and come down to go to the boat to cambodia... our ticket man is there with 2 cyclo drivers - throw the suitcase on the cyclo, climb on, and we are whisked 5 blocks down to the pier. very strange to ride on the cyclo - felt rather like a sack of rice. tossed in the back.. about 20 of us are on the boat- a fairly fast motorboat that goes up the mekong, stopping to check passports when we cross from vietnam to cambodia... the boat is basical transport, a water bus. and 5 hours later, we are in phnom penh, 2 million people, a city with half built skyscrapers, a city with the population of new mexico...

first day impression: cambodians are frindly helpful, and want to overcharge for taxi and tuk tuk rides. agoin, lots of young people. a country with a horrifying recent past. tomorrow we are to go look at monuments to that past.

tonight went out to a beer place, drinking is the main event, but eating khmer (cambodian) food is also part of it. we sit down at a toable shared with 3 young men.. dan asks for a menu. the waitress looks puzzled. no menu. one of the three men helps us order - soup i say, and he tells the waitress. no soup, finished. oh, ok how about fried fish. ok, and beef with vegetable. and a beer each. ok. 4 beers appear in a plastic basket. drink what you like, pay for what you drink. a plate of rare beef strips and a plate of strange raw vegetables, with lots and lots of little condiment dishes shows up.. what about the fish? no fish. one of the vegetables is slices of green banana, cottony, but good. other vegetables do not seem to be identifiable. all tastes good. the 3 cambodians are nice, i can understand about every 3rd word, but the more i drink, the less it matters... really lovely to meet people so easily, then move on.

Posted by danydena 07:04 Archived in Cambodia

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