Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, second only to Laos, with half of
it's government income coming from foreign aid, most of which is siphoned off to corrupt
government officials and badly managed infrastructure projects.
Despite being so poor, Cambodia has some real treasures, such as the Angkor temples and
the beautiful beaches in the south.
I arrived in Cambodia by boat via the Mekong delta and got dropped off along the river and
shoved (literally) into a mini-bus and taken for a hair raising ride down one of the better
roads in Cambodia towards Pnom Penh.
I found Pnom Penh to be a suprisingly beautiful city with gorgeous Wat's and friendly people.
Because Cambodia is so poor it has become a haven for those wanting to indulge in behaviors
that are illegal elsewhere in the world. The sex trade in children and prolific drug use is
common in Cambodia, but is really most apparent in Pnom Penh, so much so my guesthouse manager
was repeatedly trying to sell me cocaine and pot while I was there. Many of the guests seemed
to have nothing on their minds, but to sit around all day long, smoke pot and watch DVD's, kind
of reminded me of home.
This was the view from the guesthouse.
Mosque alongside Boeng Kak
If you want a variety of coffins to choose from. Actualy it is quite expensive to be buried
anywhere in Southeast Asia. For instance, in Singapore you have no choice but to be cremated,
because there simply isn't any room to put you.
Sihanoukville is a big holiday destination for Cambodians and of course tourists. It is
lined with beautiful beaches and is a great place to relax.
Island off of Sihanoukville
Below are the crazy Israeli's I met while in Sihanoukville. From left to right we have
Tamar, Olivia, Myself, Ayelet, Noa and Maayan.
Meshooga (crazy) Israelians
Trying my hand at balancing fruit on my head
Sunset at Sihanoukville
Sand castle all aglow
Siem Reap & Angkor Wat
The Angkor temple area was simply amazing and much bigger than I had
anticipated. The Angkor area covers over 400 square km, has 287 temples all
built between the 9th and 13th century. To get a sense of the scale, Ta Phrom, one of
the smaller Wats, is 0.8km wide by 1 km long and is unforgetable because of the
massive trees that cover the structure.
Ancient temple door overgrown by tree at Ta Phrom (Ayelet)
The Ta Phrom temple was intentionally left overgrown to show the state in which the temples
were found only 30 years ago.
Angkor Wat was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and was the culmination of Angkorian
architecture built by Suryavarman II in 1177 just before the decline of the empire.
Gnome at Angkor Wat
Ayelet at Banteay Kdei entrance
Faces of Bayon
Me on Angkor Wat at sunset
This lady makes the best dessert in all of Cambodia (IMHO), just look for her
in the back of the food stalls in front of Angkor Wat.
Best dessert maker ever
Bald Cambodian child (Ayelet)
A cocktail in Siem Reap
Bus ride from Siem Reap to Bangkok
The road to Bangkok from Siem Reap is notoriously bad. It takes a full
12 hours eight of which are in Cambodia over roads that seem to have
been bombed recently. You really get to see the areas of
Cambodia that are so retchedly poor. The contrast is never so apparent
as when you cross the border in Poipet and suddenly everything is clean
well run, roads are good and you can find a coffee shop around every
corner. Going from Cambodia to Thailand feels like arriving in America
from Tijuana, Mexico.
The real Cambodia
Girls waiting around bus stop near Thai border
Road to Bangkok
Website generated on January 10, 2004 at 20:00