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Cambodia



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.

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.

Nice

Sihanoukville

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


Beachside pyromaniac

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.

Ta Phrom

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


Elephant crossing


Banteay Kdei


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


Fellow travelers


Mass transit


Lunch?


Girls waiting around bus stop near Thai border


Road to Bangkok

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