Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SE Asia // Part 1 // Cambodia

Back in February we took a trip to SE Asia and now I am finally getting around to write about it. Here is a quick recap of the beginning of our experience.

Oh, Cambodia. We really enjoyed the adventure but you kinda wore us out. Why we decided to take an 8+ hour bus/taxi/tuk-tuk ride following 24 hours in the sky, we will never know. But looking back, it was worth it, minus the hole it put in our pockets. Those Cambodians are heck-lers, man but probably the most beautiful people we saw while we were in Asia.

Delta lost our luggage so everything we are wearing we bought off the street. Underwear and all, minus my shoes and backpack. I'm a little more of a high maintenance scrapper so I was struggling without my toiletries and comfort clothes (just think - during that time of month for a girl - ya - awesome). I wasn't allowed to go inside some of the temples either because the dress I bought was too short and didn't have sleeves. I felt like I was in provo again. Wah-wah.

After we crossed the border our shady taxi driver took us to a currency exchange and raped us (via american dollars). We knew better then to fall for that trick but somehow in the moment we caved. Thanks buddy... When we arrived at our hotel late at night we were exhausted. We asked the taxi driver where we could stay for $60/night. He told us to go to the Somadevi Angkor Hotel. When we got there the rooms were $150. We were so checked out from traveling/jet lag we decided to just book it (caved again). $150 bucks down the drain but at least it was a clean room and the yummy breakfast was free. Usually you can get a room in Siem Reap for around $30. Whatever.

Siem Reap was a trip. Crossing the street at night is like playing frogger with tuk-tuks and scooters coming at you from every direction. Lines on the road... What's that? You pretty much fend for yourself but the thrill of being in a foreign country kept us moving. We found a little restaurant among the rows of places to eat. The bugs were relentless and I almost lost my eyeball because of one. I swear it clung to my pupil with razor sharp claws and my eye was red and hurt for the next week.

Little John was our tour guide who conned us into a two and a half hour boat ride on the river to the lake. When we got to the floating city Larry took a picture of the kid holding the snake. That little guy hustled us until we gave him money for it. Those kids are born and raised to hustle the white man. Don't get us started on the floating orphan school house. They wanted us to buy a bag of rice and give it to the kids for $80 - that's an 800% markup (we did the math)! No thanks. We decided to give them 50 boxes of ramen. The guy acted soooo disappointed so we threw in some bottled water. We are pretty sure they took everything back to the storehouse to re-sell after we passed it out to the children. What a con. Next time we donate $100 to Cambodia we will be sure to make it legit.

After the con artist boat tour we told Little John to take us to "temples." We tried asking him questions about the history and background story but he didn't speak any english. We really should have bought a book to tell us more about Angkor Wat. It's pretty amazing but it was a little disappointing to see it under construction. They are roping off the roots and building platform paths so it felt a little like disneyland when we were hoping for a more authentic experience.

After the 5th or 6th temple we were so checked out. Little John kept stopping and asking if we wanted to go take pics at each temple we passed. When we said "nah" he looked at us like we were crazy and laughed as we lounged in the shade of the tuk-tuk. Kind of a bust since I swear they kept getting better and better as the day went on but we were so hammered.

We ended the day playing with monkeys (even babies!), a massage and a dip in our hotel pool. At the last minute we bought plane tickets back to Bangkok. There was no way we were going to spend another 8+ hours and take that bus ride again. Best $150 we've ever spent. Thank you AirAsia! All in all, Cambodia is an amazing country. With the bad comes good. And that's exactly how we felt while we were there.

By the time we made it back to Bangkok our luggage had arrived and we were ready to relax on an island in the sun. Next stop, Koh Tao. Aaaaah that was the life! More to come real soon...


amanda james said...

this post is golden. I love hearing the small stuff that i haven't heard yet like the little buggy that clung to your eyeball and when you guys caved. happens to the best of us, when you're tired and hungry money what's that? i'm a much more high maintenance traveler these days than I used to be. No luggage that is a toughie. you go girl. atleast they have cute stuff over there. if it was africa you would have been wearing the funniest get up. how have i not heard of the riggers and the "orphanage". I want to hear more of your trip! can't wait to see pics of koh tao and that amazing place....

Kindsay and Erik said...

AMAZING photos and trip! I love this post!!!