Phnom Penh- Bird Poo, A Flapping Fish & Our Visit To The Killing Fields.

On our first full day we wanted to fit in as many activities as possible. We had many lazy days in Thailand and didn’t do a great deal in Siem Reap, so felt like we needed to make up for it. The first thing we wanted to do was arrange our visa for Vietnam. So we headed to an agency who can arrange it for you, for a $2 fee. We ended up paying $42 in total, but heard from other people we met along the way they had paid between $50-$80! When applying for your visa, you had to tell them the date you want to enter. We picked a date towards the end of the month, so we didn’t have to rush and could spend lots of time in each place.  After dropping our passports off at the Visa place we headed out for the day. We went to the National museum of Cambodia. As we didn’t pay for the audio tour we had no clue at what we were looking at. I’ll be honest it wasn’t the best museum I’ve been to. However they had a beautiful courtyard in the middle. While we were sat out in it, enjoying the sun a bird released its bowls on Sam. So we now remember it as the museum that Sam got shit on by a bird.

After the bird poo museum we went to check out the central market. It’s massive, hundreds of stalls. It was very similar to the markets in Bangkok.  It’s not that fun when you’re not going with the intention of buying something. After the market we went to Wat Phnom, which is a small park with a temple in the middle. We had a little wonder around the park and went to see the temple. Afterwards we headed to towards the river side. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but the river in Phnom Penh was pretty grim. I had visions of it being like taking a romantic stroll down the Seine in Paris. It was more like seeing a trolley float by in the Irwell.

We thought the river was a bit too vile for our liking, so decided to cut back to our guesthouse. We made a huge mistake deciding to cut though a local market. The stench was so over powering. It was  a mix of the bucket of skinned dead frogs, the still live fish, which were flapping about, mixed with animal heads and other body parts that were on display. One fish flapped so vigorously, it threw itself of the tray it was being displayed on and ended on the floor. The woman selling it just picked it back up and popped it back on the tray. I think that flapping fish and the stench of the pig head/chickens feet will repeat on me for a while.

 

 

The main reason people come to visit Phnom Penh, is to visit The Killing Fields and S21. They are extremely somber places to visit, but an absolute must.  We were incredibly touched and shocked about what we learnt there.  Our Tuk Tuk driver for the day had the kindest face. One of the only smiles we had seen since we arrived to Phnom Phen. Everyone else here seemed very moody compared to Siem Reap.

The dive over to the killing fields is quite long, and really makes you reflect on it on the drive back. Driving though the small villages to get there, we felt we were a long way from the busy city we had just left. The trip was very informative and really helped you grasp what had happened and the full brutality the country had gone though.  It was extremely tough to hear some of the personal accounts on the audio guide. We really had no idea before coming to Cambodia the extent in which the Khmer Rouge took over and destroyed so many lives.  It’s so hard to even comprehend how it even happened.  The experience was very somber but I’m really glad we got a chance to visit. The people of Cambodia seem so positive now and it makes you realise what an incredible Country it is.  After the killing fields we went to the Genocide museum, which originally was a school, but was turned in to a prison and place of torture by the Khmer Rouge.  We had another audio guide which was very informative. So many people were brought here and tortured for no reason. It’s pretty hard to explain in a blog about what we learnt about as it was so brutal. It was a very tough day, but it really was an experience we won’t forget.

 

 

Siem Reap- Featuring: A Birthday, A Beating, Salford Uni Reunion Part 1, Choking caused by Karl Pilkington & A Relationship With Beef.

While we were in Siam Reap we celebrated Sam’s birthday.  It’s amazing we get to celebrate while we are traveling; it feels like a real celebration. Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas. Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas because I didn’t spend the whole of December crying into a glass of Gin worrying about work. It didn’t really feel like Christmas without all the food, drink and crap TV. It didn’t really feel like Christmas without seeing our families. So I was really looking forward to celebrating his birthday.

I couldn’t really bring a gift with me. What could I really bring that he would need whilst our here we didn’t already have?  Also there was no way I could keep something hidden in my bag without him noticing. So I decided to message some of his friends and family and ask them to record a birthday message for him. So I could play them all to him on his birthday. I was really excited to play them to him, as he had no idea… I was so happy to see his reaction. I love being a massive cheese ball gimp. Even though we were so far from home, I still wanted to give him a real gift on his birthday.

The best present Sam received was some money from his parents towards doing something a bit special on the trip, so we booked two nights in a beautiful hotel and booked a restaurant for tasting menu. Something a bit upscale from the street food we normally eat. So thanks David and Geraldine, because I got to share that gift 50/50.

After breakfast, we got a Tuk Tuk over to our new posh digs. We were staying in the most stunning hotel. I think I shed a tear when we had to check out. Our room was the size of all the other rooms we had stayed in combined. I didn’t want to leave the room, but we had to head out for some food and to get a massage. This time a full body massage.  We opted for an hour with oil. We thought that would be more relaxing than some of the Thai massages we had seen some people receive in Thailand. We were again wrong. I couldn’t relax; the woman who was violently rubbing me was on the phone half the time. Also she kept moving on the matt and it sounded like a fart, and as I’m 5 years old, I find farts absolutely hilarious. When  we were in Mexico, an elderly couple were walking in front of us one day and the woman let one drop, she just went “oh scuse me”. We had to quickly turn around as we were laughing so much. Not only is she my hero, that’s actual relationship goals right there! The massage felt like some painful deep tissue sports massage. I get some masochists are into these types of massages, not me. I want to come away relaxed, not feeling like a need to held and cuddled afterwards. Once the massage was over, I couldn’t look at Sam because I knew as soon as I did I would burst out laughing. Which of course I did.

Sam wanted to eat somewhere a bit fancier for his birthday, and we decided we wanted to try a place with a tasting menu. After searching online for a while, we booked a table at what Tripadvisor told us to be the second best restaurant in Siem Reap. The service at the restaurant was incredible.  We went for a 5 course tasting menu, with paring wines. I didn’t realise how much I missed wine. I literally savored every sip. When we arrived I mentioned to the host that we were here to celebrate Sam’s birthday. Once we had finished the desert, they came out with a cake singing happy birthday. This was a nice touch. We were so full, that I was almost on the verge of crying. So we were unable to eat the cake, so they kindly boxed it up for us.

We went in to a deep food coma as soon as we got back to the hotel.  I’m really glad we were able to celebrate Sam’s birthday while we are travelling.

While we were in Siem Reap we went for a drink at a nearby hostel, where someone called Karim who I went to University with runs. It was great catching up with him, as we’ve not seen each other since we left uni. It’s pretty strange seeing someone I knew so far from home.

20170107_152004

We really loved our time in Siem Reap, but it was time to move on.  Saying goodbye to the hotel was painful. Farewell my sweet friend.

The next leg our journey was a 5.30 hour bus to Phnom Penh.  Which is relatively short compared to some of the journeys we’ve been on. We’ve found the easiest way to deal with these journeys is to listen to Ricky Gervais Podcasts. Karl mentioned something not too dissimilar to the comment he made about hiaving the hair of Chinaman. As he made this comment I took a large swig of water. I knew instantly I had no other option, than to spit the water back out. I just opened my mouth and let a waterfall of water collect in my lap. The comment mixed with the fact I thought what had just happened was hilarious, caused me to start laughing, but I still had a bit of water in my mouth, so I was chocking, but trying not to choke at the same time. One guy turned around and looked like he was concerned that I was about to die there on the bus. Sam was going to ask the driver to pull over, because he thought I was going to be sick. Nope I had just laughed at something ridiculous on a podcast and spat water on myself.

I still wasn’t dry by the time we reached Phnom Penh.  Once we had checked in to our guesthouse and done the whole dump our bags routine. We couldn’t be bothered to venture too far, so went to the place across the road. Apparently in this restaurant when you order BBQ Beef, they serve you an entire small cow. I have never seen so much beef on a plate before, and I’ve been to Bem Brazil before. Not only was there a massive amount, it was insanely tasty and cooked. I feel kind of guilty for thinking, that plate of beef was more beautiful than some of the Temples we have seen. I do often think, can you have a relationship with food?! Seriously since writing this post, I can’t stop thinking about that sexy hunk of beef. I don’t care if you think it looks gross in that photo. If that came up on Tinder I’d right swipe straight away. I wouldn’t even bother looking at it’s other photos. I wouldn’t want to be put off seeing in in a group photo from that lads holiday it took last year when I’d be off put by the fact they would all be in matching vests.IMG_2074