Life in Cambodia

Feeling tired and resting. That´s how my life is in Cambodia, Phnom Penh, right now.

Arrived in Phnom Penh on 12th of Oct – ended our Malaysian trip well and a bit miss Malaysia, but that´ll be for the next time 🙂 Once we arrived it was so shocking to see the blue skies here as the haze has captured Malaysia completely. Didn´t see the sun for a good week at least, now – every day, fortunately or unfortunately. I guess fortunately because you can always “not see it” if you wish, but making it appear requires some serious witchcraft.

As we got to PP we were sick, sick from Malaysia. No, actually not sick FROM it, but rather we got sick in.. it.. (period) So we just relaxed for 3 days and basically did nothing – what a wonderful activity during a vacation tho, made me think of this:

Found a place which served very nice soup, so ate soup for 3 days and magically got better, now I feel wonderful, but tired. So then we decided we need a visa for Thailand as we need to stay there more than 15 (or 30) days and a 30 day visa extension costs just as much as.. no wait, it actually cost 6 dollars more to extend the visa in Thailand than get a 60 day visa from Cambodia. Didn´t know that beforehand, just happened like that – great stroke of luck, I´d say.

We thought to wait for the visa in PP, but as it took almost a week to get a 4-day visa – why? Well, it was the holidays, Pchum Ben holiday ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pchum_Ben ) – so why wait in PP when you can travel elsewhere, so we did. Looked at the map, searched a bit online and Kampot seemed a great place to be, so bought the morning ticket from one of the best bus services in Cambodia (GiantIbis) and we were on our way.

Oh, before we actually “go” – a bit about first glimpse of PP – crowded, less developed than Thai and Malay, but had a strange sense of something else in the air, later I figured it out – it was the nature. Nature was strangely alike to the one we have back home in Estonia – strange to be here in that sense. The place we stayed at was near the pub-area which was recommended by a CS host who couldn´t host us – was okay, but definitely not for a hippie person. In a psychological sense, on the other hand, wonderful – got to experience the expats, the foreigners and locals energies intertwined and intentions of travelling to/staying in that kind of location in PP and.. I find it strange, but that´s all right. A lot of different intentions, but I´d say a lot of “normal behaviours” in a modern or “up and coming” place. If you think I´m being vague, then you are correct 🙂

Also saw a lot of prostitutes openly offering their services at or near bars and.. it is quite an understood and accepted thing here, it seems. Quite a lot of white men with local women (which I didn´t see THAT much in Thai, but maybe I was travelling at a strange time, as most were hiding somewhere or.. doing something behind closed doors). But they all seem happy about it, or as happy as one can be in that kind of a situation – I guess these women here would be happy to get some kind of a stable life and perhaps a white man can provide that for her, I don´t believe love has anything to do with it, but if they wouldn´t get a local man for love, then I guess they got the less worse option of the two bad ones. Win-Win-Win situation unless someone wakes up.

Staying here seemed to drain a lot of energy, and still does, as we are yet again in PP, but for other reasons – I have the chance to train with the Cambodian national badminton team who is coached by Kongilivan, a coach from Malaysia – starting tomorrow, yay! So, back to where I derailed – “.. and we were on our way.”

Arrived in Kampot, seemed to be a little more relaxed place. The hotel there was very comfortable for 7$ per night, but I didn´t find the local food to be any good really. Maybe I was so pushed off by the local people always trying to rip off foreigners that I started to reflect the energy they started back at them that it left me stranded. Eventually I managed to pick myself up and understand that.. how a person treats me is a perfect mirror example of how they treat themselves. Because of the hostility I felt energy-wise, we decided to rent a motobike and just ride around. We firstly thought to stay there for 2 nights, but because of the very good energy at the hotel and the places we visited via motobike that.. we stayed for 4 nights all together.

Oh, yes, and the mountain – brilliant! Just a few days ago I was wondering how cold weather feels like, because I have forgotten. By now, 1.5 months of constant sunshine is a lot – but I adapt. The mountain, Bokor, is about 1000m high and.. once you get up and ride there – IT ACTUALLY GETS COLD! So we had our long pants and extra t-shirt with us to wear. Guess how many times we visited the mountain? We basically stayed there 3 full days (not counting first one as we just wanted to relax a bit). Did you guess? Maybe you guessed it – 3 days. So we went back there every day we had the chance. First day we stayed there mostly, second day we went riding around more at local places and the third day we went back there and after that rode around the local places. From Kampot (hotel) to the top of the mountain is like 40km, so yeah, 100km every day on a bike is quite tiresome in such a weather and as I´m not used to riding that much – ah.. it was still a great experience 🙂 Made a GoPro video as well, as the view is excellent + we got a great experience in the fog where visibility sometimes maxed out at 4-5 meters.

Oh, and an interesting story as well – on our 2nd day we didn´t really reach the absolute top of the mountain – why? Our motobike broke down as we were almost reaching the top. So I was pushing the motobike slowly down the hill (not yet on the declining part where I could roll) and fortunately locals were very helpful and after an hour a truck stopped, that was full of people and stop and they decided to help us back to Kampot. Wonderful people, wonderful energies and I´d say that is like anywhere else – you´ll find all kinds of people, all kinds of people you need to meet. The sincerity and friendliness here tho is uncanny to anywhere I have ever been, here and in Thailand. The love is real, trust me.

After Kampot we decided to go to the “beach-resort town/city of Cambodia” – Sihanoukville. I pre-booked a place quite far from the bus station and once we arrived, saw cheaper offers much closer to the bus station – so I was a bit bummed and tried to reason with myself as why did I attract such an experience, later I realized why. So in after walking from the bus station for almost an hour, the scortch trials, and passing all those great options we reached our place – far from everything, near a road, nothing convenient near. But because we stayed there, we got to visit the two beaches we wouldn´t have gone to if we would have stayed near the bus station. The beach, that is not very well advertised, was actually liked the best (that was the farthest from the bus station – about 4-5km I guess). There were no people there, or.. if they were, they were locals and very friendly or very locals and friendly. We eventually tried the other beaches as well (even the 2 minute walk one from the bus station and the cheap accommodation places), but they were overcrowded, very touristy and.. on our final day stay, as we moved to the cheap accommodation one, because our bus station was near and it was easier to get to in the morning and.. figured out that the beach (or at least the swimming part we were interested in) was unusable – why? Because there were quite a lot of big jellyfish there. Saw a huge one and decided to not get stung by it, good call, don´t you think?

Oh, the other perk of staying where we stayed – we found a very good, very cheap small family run restaurant where we decided to invest all our money that we planned for food 🙂 That place automatically got into the “top best 3 places to eat” while staying in Asia. I still sometimes dream of that place, loved it. Oh, did I tell you already that we are planning to go back to Sihanouk? Well, you´d ask – why we left in the first place. The visas and Juri – we met Juri again. Last time we saw Juri in KL and then he gave us a big bit of Europe foodwise and of course, the meeting him part. Now we met in PP and he also shared his experiences and expertise on food and we loved it. Coincidentally we will probably also meet in Thailand, so we can say that as he was travelling around for business, we met him in every country we were in – interesting thing I have yet to figure out 🙂

Yes, the visa – our passports were ready with the visa and we needed to get back just to get our passports, just in case. Once we have our passports, we are free to travel again and enjoy the freedom of not needing to go somewhere just in case.

Now we are back in PP, been here for 3 nights already – looking around, seeing PP from another part of the city and realizing the energies and intentions of people around here. A lot of people think this part of the world is dangerous? Well, it might be if you have bad intentions and karma that attracts it, but I don´t really care for it and don´t need it, maybe someone else will, but still I got a glimpse of a feud/road rage/tensions/robbery as one of the bikes, during the night, almost crashed into the other and then one of the bikes, with two people on it, started tailing the other bike with the person sitting in the back having a big machete wielded. I´d just say that if you look for danger, you´ll find it, if you want to avoid it, well, you know what to do then.

One thing I have found very interesting is to catch the glimpse of peoples karma. Why are people born here? Why not elsewhere? There´s a method to all of the madness and there´s certain rhythm to all chaos — it is interesting to catch the essence of these peoples lives here. To feel, but not understand, the necessity of it all. It has no purpose and it has all the purpose in the world, it´s wonderful. Most times I usually feel like a strange ghost lurking by, only revealing myself to the locals as a white wallet or an walking ATM machine, but I guess that´s okay, because they are on their journey and I´m here to observe and to feel.

The more I feel life the more I understand the complexity and.. utter simplicity of it. The “nothing matters” and also the everything matters part.

So, what´s next? Well, we are planning to stay here until Friday, so I can play some badminton with the locals, after that.. we don´t know yet, we want to go to Siem Reap and back to Sihanouk for a few days, but not YET sure which way to go, because either way we need to travel back through PP, again. Like all roads lead to Rome, all roads lead through PP in Cambodia. Next destination after Sihanouk/SR is Pataya – a place where we eventually decided to avoid at all, now we´re probably staying there for about 2 weeks – why? I´ll share once we are there.

Take care, live and enjoy the dimension in your existence you have decided to devote your time and energy to. Be on your journey, careless soulful traveler.

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