Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Did I like Cambodia?

Before crossing the border between Vietnam and Cambodia, I was not expecting too much from this mostly agricultural country. We were sure there would not be anything worth staring at in amazement except for Angkor Wat. Moreover, we had recently heard someone bitching Phnom Penh. Truth is it was not for specific reason, just the American 'Um... you know, it's like... a shitty place'. Um.... wrong!

Cambodia countryside
We loved Cambodia. The moment the ordeal of crossing the border on the second day of Tet was over, the landscape changed: no more bikes, no more traffic jams, charming Khmer temples all over the places, and (yes!) poverty. Poverty too exceeded any expectations - we wouldn't have believed there could be villages that are poorer and more disheveled than some of the ones we saw Vietnam. 90% of the houses are built on stilts and do not have window panes or doors, not to mention basic furniture, there is not much lighting on the streets, there are loads of beggars, and so on. 

But there is something about this country that makes you love it from the very beginning: it is a beautiful place, a very photogenic one, with lush green fields dotted by white buffaloes, huge coconut trees, golden temples, smiling people, beautiful kids.

So, yes! I did love it and would go there again any time. 3 posts about Cambodia will follow: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Angkor Wat.

Fact 1: No Police on the street. 
Fact 2: Kids speak surprisingly good English.

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