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Jan
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Jan 8-11: Siem Reap to Sihanoukville

Hello Civilization!

It feels like it’s been forever since my last post, and it feels like I’ve been gone from Toronto for weeks, even though in reality we have only been gone seven days.

Inside Angkor Wat

We have been busy little tourists over the past four days. My last post was from Siem Reap, where we saw the Angkor Wat and other temples in the Angkor complex. On Friday, we took a boat trip to the floating villages on (Lake) Tonle Sap. The villages are made up of Vietnamese immigrants, who live in squalor which is apparently preferable to their homes in Vietnam.

Floating Village at Sunset

We then visited a hammock bar, where we were served food and drinks while hanging out (literally!) in hammocks! My official snack was spring rolls, but I did get to try out two local delicacies – fried prawn with the shell ON and snake eggs! Both were really good!

On Saturday we began the first of three days of long bus rides and one-night stays in Guesthouses, which is exhausting. First, we headed out for Kompong Cham, which is on the Mekong River, where we had lunch with a Cambodian family. The food was typical Khmer, curry soup with beef and veggies, noodles, rice, pork and fish. Desert was a real treat – fried spider! And yes, I can report, that I did try a bite of a salty, crispy spider leg! Those house spiders don’t scare me any more… I’ll just eat them! (NOT)

After lunch we did a bike ride across the Mekong River on a bamboo bridge to an island village, where we visited a monastery and got a chance to speak english with Cambodian schoolchildren. The kids in the villages are so happy to see western tourists, they are always smiling and waving and saying “hello!” and “bye bye!”. Our hotel was great, we had a room with an amazing view of the Mekong River!

On Sunday we boarded our non-airconditioned private bus and headed for Chambok, where we had our homestay in an eco-tourist village. We learned over the last three days that public busses are actually preferable to a private bus, since our bus has usually been devoid of air conditioning (meaning we drive with the windows open) and has been cramped full of packs and snacks. The public busses have airconditioning and comfy, roomy seats, with packs stowed safely below.

Our Homestay

At the homestay we had dinner made for us by the local people, and had a chance to speak English with some of the leaders. I did a hike to a beautiful jungle waterfall, so I was really hungry by the time we ate. We then spent the night in a typical Cambodian home, where we could hear the villagers partying all night. Seriously. Apparently Cambodians love “I Know You Want Me” by Pitbull, and they play it at all times of the day, night, whenever.

In the morning, we had breakfast prepared by the locals, before heading out to Sihanoukville, which is where we are now. Right now we are getting ready to head out for dinner, which I’m hoping will involve seafood. I’ve already had a taste of beach life, and although it isn’t the cleanest beach I’ve ever seen.

We will be in Sihanoukville until Thursday morning, when we will leave for Phnom Penh. We had a stop in Phnom Pehn yesterday on the way to the homestay, but they experience will have to wait for my next post (read: interesting…)

Until next time,

Lexi

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