I have been in Krong Khemara Phoumin, Cambodia for a few days now, and my first impression was mixed. I met a few taxi drivers that were a little unfriendly, but I was also met by several young kids saying Hello. The town is very dirty compared to other Asian countries I have been too. So, I really did not know what to think.
Now that I have been here a few days, I am getting a true impression of Cambodia and it is a good one.
The food and living cost are the cheapest I have seen. My average meal cost around $1.30 CAD, or 5000 KDR. My hotel room, which is very nice, the staff are even nicer, only cost $10 CAD a night. My cell phone SIM card cost me $2.50 CAD, and 4 GB of data for 1 month cost $7.50 CAD. However, the cell connection is not great, which kills the battery always trying to get a connection. But that is besides my point.
In Krong Khemara Phoumin, not a lot of people have even basic English, because it is not a tourist city. If it was a tourist city, I am sure more people would have the basics. However, it hasn’t been a problem. When I am needing something and the person doesn’t speak a few words English, they yell, and I truly mean yell for a friend who does. It’s funny and rather fun.
The area I am in doesn’t have a lot to offer as in site seeing, but to me, I love it. I have not seen another foreigner in 3 days, basically since I arrived in this town and it makes things so much more interesting. The kids here, more so the little girls, always say, “Hello!”, with a big smile and sometimes want a high five. Even better is the adult males and what they do. Here is a funny and odd story.
I was walking down the street and I noticed a policeman or army guy walking fast towards me. My first thought was, oh shit, I do not have my Id on me. When he gets to me, he starts saying a few words in English, but I couldn’t understand him. I was not panicking yet, but I was not sure what was happening. When all of sudden he pulls out his cell phone. Then I think, OK, I pulled mine out also, because I thought he was going to use a translator. Nope! I was wrong. He pulls up Facebook and shows me, he has a friend who is White as well. He shows me several pictures of them posing together, him with a AK47 or some sort of army rifle and the other guy, just smiling. By now, I am starting to understand his broken English and he asks where I am from. I tell him Canada, and he loves this. Big Smile. His last question is how long I am in town for, and I told him only a few days, then I will move to a new location in Cambodia. He seems sad that I am not staying. He then quickly says goodbye with another big smiles, and runs back to … I think work, or whatever he was doing.
These are reasons I get away from tourist and go to towns where everyone tells me are shitty, and nothing to see. Yes, maybe they are correct, but the hospitality, and unique encounters you have, make it not shitty, it actually makes it amazing.
Some random pictures from around town.
Here is something you don’t see or hear about back home.
Most of the restaurants, which are basically street food, with tarp roofs. These places are family owned, and the entire family helps. My favorite place to go is one street away from my hotel, and the dad, has 2 sons, and 3 daughters. I am guessing the oldest soon is around 21, and the youngest daughter is 13. All 5 kids work and work hard, and the most impressive is the 13 year old girl. She never complains, and she runs her own section where she sells buns, with warm meat in them. When she has no customers, she is a kid, playing and teasing her sisters, but when she has a customer, it is all business. Very impressive at that age, to be able to do both, and enjoy it.
I believe that is the 13 year old in the pink or her older sister. The handsome guy with a beard is me!
Here is the most expensive meal I have had. This was breakfast, and it cost me 6500 KDR, ($1.50 USD, $1.90 CAD), and the beers below are showing prices in USA, and Cambodia Repel.
Check out the video of my hotel room at an expensive $8 USD or $10.20 Canadian per night, with HOT WATER!
This is going to be my last blog post for a little while!
I am heading into Osoam Village in the jungle, to volunteer teaching English and helping build stuff. I have only a little understanding of what I am getting myself into, so wish me luck!