Bye Bye, Cambodia

Tomorrow will be day 12 of the tour, even though it seems like we have done twice that many. Tomorrow will also mark our journey out of Cambodia and into Vietnam, which I am very much looking forward to. Since it is my last day in this country, I thought I would reflect a little bit on the experience of travelling through a developing nation for the first time.

When I left for this trip my only expectation was to have a good time and see as much and do as much as I could. I tried not to think about the bugs, the accommodations or the food, because I wasn’t sure what to expect, and while the experiences were definitely new and different, I’m not as shocked by everything as I thought I would be.

Sure, using a squat toilet for the first time was a bit strange, but it’s really not so bad, and while the food has wreaked havoc on my body, meals have been tasty and filling. I haven’t seen a cockroach in my room yet, knock on wood, and the accommodation has been comfortable, although in varying degrees of cleanliness (seriously though, it’s not bad at all). The only comfort I really miss from home is my soft bed and a warm shower – somehow Court and I have gotten stuck with the broken water heater twice!

It is hot, dirty, busy, loud, and all around chaotic, however, the Cambodian people are friendly and for the most part non-threatening. Although it’s a simpler life here, with less rules and regulations than the west (just look at their driving!), it’s not an easy life. Cambodia is still recovering economically and socially, and there are many who are still suffering. There are many people who have been injured by land mines, and many children are forced by their families to sell things to tourists. I have seen many western men with Cambodian women on their arms, listening and watching and just being  a silent companion, and I wonder about the situation that forces these women to sell themselves to foreign men just to feed themselves and their families. Foreign people are targets for people selling all manner of things along the road, as well as moto and tuk-tuk drivers, restauranteurs, and even beggars.

The landscape is marred by piles and piles of garbage along the sides of roads, on sidewalks, and in the gutters, especially in cities. Even in rural areas you will see plastic bags, bottles, and other garbage half buried under the dust. It is clear that Cambodia has a long was to go towards developing, but it has the beginnings of a beautiful and thriving nation.

It’s been a great visit, but I’m happy to leave tomorrow to continue my journey and the great adventure of a lifetime. Thank you all for continuing to read my blog and support Courtney and myself as we make our way through Asia. Being able to share this little part of the world with everyone back home has helped stave off the homesickness a little bit, knowing that all of you are with me every step of the way.

Until Ho Chi Minh,



1 Response to “Bye Bye, Cambodia”

  1. 1 natasha
    January 16, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    I seriously cant believe that you ate snake eggs and fried spider…..!!! I’m still tryin to wrap my mind around that! It seems like a great adventure so far! sandy beaches, temples, bbq…what’s not to love…ohhh yeah the hose toilet….and to think the people making your food use these toilets too…lol IM ONLY JOKIN! well i can’r say it enough…have loads of fun girls…!

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