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Australia Day in Cambodia

VIETNAM | Friday, 28 January 2011 | Views [1382]

When travelling it is often a groan that is released when you spot a group of fellow Australians in the same town. You listen to them and quickly decide that this place is not as 'remote' as you once thought and that it is probably time to move on... (even if you have just arrived at the bus station.) 

We, in a short time, had become those snobs. In our defense we had observed some pretty tragic behavior from Australian travelers and we have constantly been witness to some embarrassing 'Vang Vieng' scenarios where people become less mentally capable and walk around bare chested, grunting like apes and screaming obscenities at one another in front of poor, confused locals. (Admittedly we have all been there but when it happens day after day and they proudly display the Australian colours with spray painted limbs, you start to feel that perhaps they were offering cheap flights from the Normanby to South East Asia late on a Sunday afternoon.)

So it was humbling to be the ones that come Australia day, were in desperate need of some fellow Australian companionship. In true wierdo style we jumped on a tuk tuk, squinted and poked our heads out like little old ladies and quickly stereotyped the masses of Phnom Penh, looking for some new mates. Shortly after, two unsuspecting male targets were quickly attacked and made to answer some tricky interrogative questions... "Are you Australian... Do you know where an Aussie Pub is... Should we all go and get sh#[email protected]?" Being true blue, they quickly joined the mission and we commenced our search for an Australian watering hole in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia- there are none!

The Walkabout pub is an extremely misleading name for the actual place that we planted ourselves. It consists of a number of fat, seedy old western men being revolting around young, poor Cambodian women. The problem was that most places are like is and this place was the only one that stocked Vegemite. So, we scoffed and chugged and got outta there as quickly as possible. Next stop- Triple J Hottest 100...

Having planned our stay with the JJJ 100 in mind we knew that we could get WIFI at the hotel we were staying at- yes, it was a whole $20/ night but this was Australia day, the dorms and basic ammenities would soon replace the luxury, but for this one day, we wanted a little style and comfort... and WIFI!

We managed to tune into the last 20 and all discussed (over more beer) the things that we missed from Australia. It quickly came to light that we were all becoming in tune with one another- like a group of super hero friends we strongly declared war on the first cow that we saw- we wanted STEAK!

So steak wasn't an option, Cambodian people prefer to have a beef slither which frankly, didn't cut it! 'Chicken Cordon Blue' as listed on the menu was the obvious runner up with a couple of Tacos for dessert- why not? It would be UN- Australian to not eat the classic dish of Tasmanian Tacos: ) With dodgy tummies (we all instantly regretted consuming the minced 'meat' of the tacos), we watched the Krumping dance moves of the local teenagers on the streets. It felt so Australian to stand there and constantly say "No thanks, we don't need a tuk tuk/ photocopied version of Lonely Planet or pair of fake Ray Bans." Soon we tired and navigated the dark and slightly intimidating streets of night time Phnom Penh.

After some grumbling about how we always forget to apply mosquito repellent when we have had a few too many beverages, and a discussion stemmed from watching the 'Australian' channel on TV- Gretel Colleen being an ambassador for Australia really perplexed us, we drifted off to sleep in hope that we would quickly be reunited with a steak from the Norman in our dreams. 

It was a happy, Cambodian styled Australia Day! 

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