Ryan Gunn brings some stunning contrasts to light in his list of observations about life in Cambodia.
DAY 13 – We spent Monday relaxing while six members returned to the US in exchange for three fresh ones. The group toured the famous Angkor Temples where the movie Tomb Raider was filmed. It’s sort of sad because people have worshiped these stones since the 12th century, but if you like ruins, it was cool. My highlight was the elephant ride.
The off day gave me an opportunity to make some observations about life here in Cambodia. Some of the notable differences include:
• I’ve never seen so many amputees in my life. Live landmines from Cambodia’s bloody past continue to kill and maim.
• Children begging or selling souvenirs – All souvenir sellers in Cambodia are aggressive and ignore the word “no.” The kids are exceptionally gifted since they have the cute factor. While most of these children are poor, some sell as a regular job outside of school. Today I met five really sharp kids no older than 15 who spoke perfect English and were quite charming (see pics on facebook).
• There are tons of “massage parlors.”
• Water – We only drink bottled water. All running water is brown.
• Food – Rice is obviously the staple. Cambodians prepare meat by simply chopping an animal up, so there are tons of bones and cartilage. In restaurants, all plates, cups, silverware, etc. must be wiped with a tissue prior to use.
• Hygiene – Our shoes only leave our feet when we get into bed. You don’t dare walk on the bathroom floors unless you’re in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
• Animals – While touring the Cambodian countryside and villages, we commonly see water buffalos, cows, roosters, chicken, pigs, dogs, ducks and cats.
Tomorrow morning we leave at 8:30 for the first of eight straight days of rice distributions. Wednesday will be especially fun since we’ll do 3 distributions and drive 500+ miles.
Thanks for reading!