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Ruth's Travel Blog

Leaving Surin and the start of my travels.

CAMBODIA | Monday, 21 October 2013 | Views [1771]


Quick update since it's been so long since I wrote in here!!

My days of teaching have come to an end... It was sad saying goodbye to the kids, and the other teachers I'd been working with. But, I was glad to be out of Surin!

I crossed into Cambodia (an hour drive from Surin) on October twelfth, with two other girls I'd been teaching with. It was easy enough it just took ages waiting, then getting stamped, then our visas. Eventually we got over and caught a taxi to Siem Reap, about four hours from the border.

We were so excited and had a real holiday feel. I don't know if it's because we just left Surin or what but I really loved Siem Reap. Amazing night markets... So big you get lost in :)
Siem Reap is a backpacker heaven and tourist central because of Angkor Wat.
We spent a day exploring the temples at Angkor. It's one of, if not the most fascinating place I've been to.

It was one of the hottest days I've ever experienced. Like, I don't think it went below 35oC while we were there. Even the monkeys were throwing themselves into flood waters for a swim!

We had hired a tuktuk and a driver for the day. I'm so glad we decided against cycling. We didn't even do the whole route the driver had planned for us. We went to maybe three others after Angkor Wat, then headed back, we were so hot and tired.

The next day we visited an orphanage in the afternoon. The kids we met there were so strong and seemed relatively happy. Some had parents who couldn't afford education or food for them. Some others didn't have parents. There were 30 kids at the orphanage in total, but we didn't meet them all.

That evening we explored the night markets again. I had a fish spa ( when you put your feet in a pool of fish and they eat off the dead skin from your feet). It took a while to get used to it. I did a lot of screaming and shouting when I first dipped my feet in. Maybe after ten minutes I got used to it! Then, for dinner, I ate stir fired frog. Weird.

NEXT STOP: Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.

Here I visited the Tuel Sleng Genocide Museum, The Killing Fields and the royal palace. Needless to say the first two of there were horrendous. I don't know how Cambodia has coped so well. A quarter of its population was brutally murdered not even forty years ago for simple things such as wearing glasses, speaking another language or being remotely clever incase they thought of a way to overthrown Pol pot and his horrendous regime.
The worst part of all of it, was one particular tree at killing fields. The killing tree. Where they killed babies and children. The Khmer Cadres would hold their feet and hit them against the tree until they were dead, or as good as. Sometimes they weren't fully dead when they were buried.

I just feel sick thinking about this.

Also while in Phnom Penh, I caught up with my cousin who is a voluntary Speech and language therapist at an orphanage for special needs children.
And, I did a half day Khmer cooking course. First,we went to the mallets and bought all our ingredients. Then we headed to the cookery school. I made spring rolls stuffed with taro peanut and carrot, with and sweet and sour dipping sauce. The sauce was delicious!!
For main course I made Amok Fish. This is a traditional Khmer dish of coconut milk, ginger, turmeric, galangal, kafir lime, lemongrass and chilli, steamed, of course with fish, in a banana leaf.
Mine looked awful but tasted good!!

I stayed one extra day in Phnom Penh than planned. This day I visited the Russian markets in the morning, and went to riverside and the night market too.

Now, I'm in Sihanoukville on the south coast of Cambodia. I booked a cheapy hostel online but when I turned up it was a heavy metal/rock bar. I reluctantly checked in then decided I didn't feel happy and I should go somewhere else. I found somewhere online, made an excuse to the guy at reception my friends were at another hostel, a got a tuktuk to where I am now. Actually, there are people here who I met at my last hostel in Phnom Penh so it wasn't completely a lie... Though I didn't know it at the time!!

Its heaven here. I'm about 50metres from the beach. Blue sea. Silver sand. Thatched buildings. Even though I am run down with a dodgy stomach... I'm so glad i moved from that other place!!

Off to an island tomorrow.

More soon xx





Tags: border crossings, cooking, khmer, markets, pol pot, relax, tragic


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