Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cambodia (pt.2/2): An Excursion Through South East Asia

Day Three in Siem Reap we started with a walk through a local outdoor market. In most of the countries we visited there were sections of town that we're clearly set up for tourism purposes, and then in another section of town was where the locals shopped. The market we went to that day was most assuredly where the locals shop.

We were really very fortunate to see that side of Cambodia. As often as we could throughout the countries we visited, we tried to immerse ourselves in the authentic culture and break away from the touristy aspect of traveling.

 The conditions of the market were, at least to me, a culture shock. It was was a clear reminder that even though the culture is rich in Cambodia, it is still a third world country.They deal with a corrupt government and live very modestly. Seeing the poverty that these people live with was a real eye opener. Then again, it's a lifestyle that is all these people have ever known and they seemed content. It really made us appreciate all of the little things in our daily lives we take for granted.

Ti showed us around and explained to us what some of the foods were as we wandered through the market snapping photos and dodging bypassing scooters.

Meat Delivery!
Bacon anyone?
Fresh produce
Ti chatting up an old friend

Rice and Grains

We had set up a tour through the War museum that afternoon so after the market, that's where we were headed.

The attitude at the museum were solemn as our guide explained how much the war had cost him. He told us about how he lost his entire family including his wife, and his 12 brushes with death where he claimed twice he had been officially declared dead. 

He went on to tell us about how he lost his right eye, his left leg, and how his body was riddled with shrapnel. We learned alot about the Cambodian civil war and how much damage it caused and continues to cause today. It was a heavy energy through the tour but its another reminder that war is hell.

After the war museum we wanted to do something fun and upbeat so we signed up for a quad bike tour through the rural country side. 

Young local kid fishing in the river

Good cast!
 The quad bike tour ran about 2 hours and was insanely fun. It was especially crazy because besides the mostly unpaved roads in Cambodia there are next to NO road rules, its not uncommon through south east Asia for people to ride three, four, sometimes FIVE people deep on scooters. Navigating between the traffic was tricky but fun.


We ended the night walking around Siem Reap's famous pub street, a nightly hot spot for travelers.

The next morning we packed up and headed to the airport.

We said goodbye our man Ti and thanked him for being an awesome guide and friend. Even through in a few last Chol Moy's!! We waved so long to Cambodia as our plane left the ground headed for Vietnam... 

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