Let’s face it, not all places are fantastic and super fun. Even though, when you travel around and meet people asking about different destinations, in this case Cambodia, you usually get a bunch of superlatives like amazing, fantastic, wonderful and the list goes on. However, my theory about this is that people are afraid of telling the truth when it can be looked upon as negative – what I call realistic. Most people are obsessed by being politically correct then actually being correct and not only when it comes to “review” destinations. Anyways, in my book one of those places is Cambodia. Drowned in superlatives, but ended up being pretty boring.
Despite it’s a little boring and far from the best place I’ve been, I still find it interesting and fun to visit new places. But perhaps I spent a little too many days here, even though it was just a week (and I didn’t go go the coastal areas which might are nicer and cooler). The big reason people go to Cambodia is the Angkor Wat, the worlds largest religious monument with temples covering an area of 163 hectares – trust me, it’s HUGE. And of course, it’s nice for a couple of hours but you get tired of looking at symmetric stones after a while, especially in gazing sun and 40 degrees. And after Angkor Way, there is not much to do – except “enjoying” those 40 degrees and no wind.
When it comes to the people, it’s as everywhere, some people are fantastic and some less fantastic – or to say it straight out: douchebags. The girl pictured below was one of the funniest and most memorable locals I’ve met on the entire trip. After exiting Angkor Wat I walked to the parking to my motorbike. This little girl, maybe 10 years old, came up to me and tried to sell me a bag of fruit. Super friendly, smiling, funny and being polite. As always I said no. Not only one or two but ten times, but that didn’t stop her! She kept on asking and asking, and what’s even more impressive is that she still was smiling and behaving very well. So finally, I asked her: how much? She said 1 dollar. I gave her a 10 dollar bill and said keep it. She gave me a big hug and I asked for a photo. Then we both walked away, smiling. As a former salesman myself I could almost recognize myself in her – stubborn, but still behaving well and working hard. I know the nice feeling of a good sell, but to make someone else happy (to give) can be equally as nice. On the opposite side of the friendly-scale, I bought a bus-ticket and got really ripped off. I was told I was paying for a 12 dollar comfortable direct VIP-bus with big comfy seats, air condition, wifi, toilet – the best bus there was in Cambodia. Turned out that guy probably put 11 dollar in his own pocket and gave me a ticket to the local bus. Not direct, no A/C, not even fans, 40 degrees Celsius, many stops, took twice the time, no toilet, locals carrying chickens on the bus and the list goes on. But, of course, I survived and was VERY happy to finally arrive the capital Phnom Penh after that ride.
Again, travelers always say “Oooh, the people there are so nice!”. But that’s just your mind playing a trick on you. If you say to your self: “This is nice!”. You will like whatever you are doing. If you say: “This SUCKS!” you will dislike it, our minds work that easy. After so much traveling as I’ve done, I’ve learned that people work the same way everywhere. We want the same things (money, house and partner) and everywhere there are good and bad people.
Right now I’m in the airport in Kuala Lumpur where I have a transit on the way to my next destination: Myanmar, or old Burma. Unfortunately I’m feeling a little bad. Nausea and headache, fingers crossed I’m not getting sick. As far as I’ve heard, Myanmar is not a place you want to get sick in.