Our first stop in Cambodia was Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Even after my hellish accident on Phu Quoc, I was super excited about Cambodia. I’d only heard good things about it so was really looking forward to it. As we were driving to our hotel, I couldnt help but think of Lagos as we passed through the streets: traffic, honking, a bounty of shops cluttering the sidewalks peppered with homes, people scattered all about, and little light. Through check in to our hotel, one thing was certain: everyone here spoke VERY VERY good English; our communication barrier was no more (until we go back to Thailand).
On our first full day (after raiding the Western Pharmacy for any and all supplies to mend my foot, for real though it was called Western Pharmacy), we went to see the Killing Fields and S-21 Prison which are probably the number 1 places to see in Phnom Penh. I refrain from using the word “attraction” because it was more of an educational trip more than anything; there was nothing “attractive” about it. Both are sites relating to the Khmer Rouge – an extremist regime led by Pol Pot with the intention of creating a purist society however other people might call it severe genocide. The craziest thing was, as with other parts of history we’ve learned on this trip, was we had heard nothing about it, not one thing. The other crazy thing was that it was so recent, in the 70’s! It’s really developed an interest to explore the politics of the world media on a deeper level. I will say that the Cambodian people are quite lovely, probably most so, in my personal opinion, out of the 4 countries we’ve visited.
We opted for a quieter NYE; the combination of my injury and supreme fear of getting stepped on was simply too much to seriously consider going to one of the many celebrations going on around town. The previous night we had a decadent dinner (what else is new?) at a place called La Croissette where we enjoyed some strong cocktails! It was probably the most calm NYE I’ve had but it was perfect (except for the traffic to get there!): good food, good drink, my sister friend, and a view of the river and fireworks.
On our last day, we went to the Royal Palace and Russian market (no clue what inspired the name) which had everything you could possibly need or want. Then we hopped on a bus down south to the much talked about south of Cambodia: Kampot/Kep, Sihanoukville and Koh Rong.