Sunday, May 30, 2010
We've made it to Phnom Penh!! After 20 very long hours of travel from LAX to Cambodia we're finally here! Not all of it was bad, though; we had a 2 hour layover in the Taibei International Airport, which is the closest I've ever come to visiting Taiwan, so that was cool. Got to speak Chinese and eat dumplings at six in the morning!
Best part, obviously, was getting to Cambodia. We arrived at around 11:30 and, right from the start, as Kosal pointed out, we got to witness corruption first-hand (the upside of it)! We hardly went through any Customs checks; it was like traveling domestically. We did have the most amazing welcoming party, who brought flowers for all of us. Then we got in three separate cars and drove the hotel. Driving in Cambodia is CRAZY! It seems like there are absolutely no rules, and if you hesitate just a bit you're going to hit someone on a scooter or someone crossing the street with their food cart. I thought biking in Beijing was intense, but this is way different. We as a group had to practice a few times crossing the street on foot.
Our hotel is so lovely. It's called the Villa Langka, and it's right next door to a temple! It's got a beautiful outdoor seating area and check in as well as a pool! It's so serene. Right after we got settled with our rooms (the beds have canopies... or are they mosquito nets?) a bunch of us went swimming, and man did it feel good! It's so hot and humid here, more so than Boston in the middle of July. Which means my hair is having a field day and expanding to three times it's normal volume. Anyway, the pool was very refreshing, especially after all that travel.
After the pool we all went and purchased Cambodian cell phones and sim cards, so now I don't have to worry about losing Dad's GSM phone. Then we went to DC-Cam (Documentation Center of Cambodia) which houses the archives for the Cambodian Genocide and with whom we mainly work while we're here. We got a nice tour of the building and then sat down to chat with the director. Then dinner! We had real Khmer food, and it was good! Most of us even tried frog (me included!) and yes, Dad, it actually really tasted like chicken!
Now we're back and it's only 8:00 pm but I'm so tired, thanks to jet lag. Tomorrow we go on a boat ride to an island!
Peace from Cambodia!