Hello from Cambodia!

Monday, January 26, 2004
Hello again! I'm back in Cambodia again... who would have thought I'd
be here twice in two years?? Anyway, here I am. Before we arrived
into Cambodia we spent 5 days in Bangkok meeting up with some friends
and doing some work for Silversisters. Then we spent a few nights on
an Thai island having seafood BBQ's every evening... and that's when we
came to Cambodia.

Perhaps you remember my LAST description of crossing the overland
border into Cambodia? This one was just as bad. It turns out the
ferry we wanted from the border only leaves once a day at 8am. We
arrived at 11am and therefore had to spent the night in the worst town
imaginable. It was here that we found out about the moto mafia. Motos
are just little mopeds; it's an easy, common wasy to get around. But,
the people that drive them seem to wield some sort of power. We
couldn't even buy our own ferry ticket without using a moto driver as
our go between - they get a cut of everything. We bumped into a
Bostonian (?!?!) who lives in the town and he helped us out with how
things work around here.

Finally though, we got to our desination of Sihanoukville, a coastal
beach town in the south and it was worth it. It was Chinese New
Year... and to me, it was just another day. But, to all the billions
of Chinese, it means vacation time! I think they all came to the same
beach as we did. The place we stayed in came eqipped with it's own
cow, pig, donkey AND dog. One night they locked the front gate and we
had to wake up poor old grandma sleeping in the mosquito net in their
outdoor living room. I imagine she can sleep through ANYTHING given
the 24 hour karaoke bar next door. We had to really yell loudly. Here
we discovered more about moto mafia: if they pick you up from the bus
station, ferry etc and take you to a hotel, they "own" the right to
moto you around for the duration of your stay. We walked to the beach
the first morning and came back after sunset... only to have "our" moto
driver yell and say to us, "Where have you been all day?" We never did
take a moto ride from him.

Today we rented our own moped. I was the passenger and Rob drove. It
was a little nerve wracking at first and even the pair of oxen carrying
pottery seemed to be going faster. After getting used to the potholes
- we were on our way. Just like India - Horn okay please. You just
beep if you are going to pass someone. Most traffic is on bikes
anyway, but beware of cattle etc. It was great! We tooled around,
check out the town of Kep which is a deserted beach town. It was where
the ruling French built mansions. But, in the late 70's there was a
famine and the locals took everything of value and sold it to the
Vietnamese for food. Fair enough. The basic structure of the building
is still there though and we snuck in to have a peek.

That's it for now! Must go! To everyone who has written... I will
respond soon! Thanks for writing!


Fun Facts:
- All Cambodian moto drivers wear baseball caps.
- The Kmer (Cambodian) word for thank you is "akun".


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