52. Cambodia at a glance. Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

It was the last 3 weeks of our journey before going home for „a break”. Entering Cambodia we had big plans: Angkor Wat, Vipassana meditation course, visiting Callum’s friend in Pattaya. I didn’t think it would all end completely different than we planned… As we didn’t have much time for visiting Cambodia we decided to skip the capital, Phnom Penh. Our big plan of hitchhiking to the border would have been successful if not a mass of annoying motorbikes which made it absolutely impossible. We stuck with local buses. Entering the great Kingdom of Cambodia cost us $30 and I regret till today we didn’t just walk through the border like many others who seemed not being controlled by anyone. Our night bus to Siem Reap was waiting for us but I found out about a Couchsurfing meeting in Phnom Penh. The last CS party? Why not 😀 After checking in to our hostel we went to Show box bar which was already full of people. The vibe of the place was great and the bands playing live music did a really great job. I met a nice but really quiet Italian couple travelling the world, a Belgian girl living in Vietnam for months and one German guy who was even funny. I realized that not every traveller must be „cool”. What does even „cool” mean? Thinking about a word „traveller” I’ve always imagined a funny, brave and sociable person who always speaks their mind. And now, after all these months, I know that very often people who don’t talk much have much more to say than the ones who are always in the centre of attention. People who don’t bullshit and who care about the others, not their own monologue. I stopped blaming myself for not wanting to be around people, not smiling and not being the life of the party. I enjoyed my own company listening to the musicician until Callum called me to go home. It was good to go out. But I think I finally accepted that Asia is definitely not the best place for parties, at least not the ones I like.

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Cambodian border
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Live music in Show box 🙂

In the morning we had a bus to Siem Reap. Sleep and hangover didn’t bother me that much till I discovered that, of course, last night I lost something. I could predict that. My little GoPro camera that I took to Show box dissapeared and most likely was left somewhere by the table when I was busy being in my own world. I hated myself but I still hoped we could find it. The only thing was that we couldn’t just jump out the bus cuz we were already 300 km away. Once we got to Siem Reap I found a cafe and immediately called the bar. „No find camera.”. Great. After a short conversation with a waiter who barely spoke English and didn’t seem interested at all, I gave up. My first camera broken, the second one lost. Bravo, Klaudia. Federica, our Italian host in Siem Reap welcomed us extremely „warmly”, overwhelming us from the beginning with her stories, her life and HER in general. Fortunately we had plans for the evening- Alex, a girl met in Yangshuo (China), was in Siem Reap so we went out with her and her friends for a drink as she was leaving the next day to Thailand. It was great to see this little, crazy Texas girl 😉 At the same time we knew our plans were different so it made me sad that it was probably the last time we saw each other. That’s travelling, Show must go on…

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Famous Pub Street in Siem Reap
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The Siem Reap River

The next day I woke up anxious. It was nothing special to me as the past months were full of ups and downs so I didn’t pay much attention to it. But it was just the beginning. Sad but true, we wanted to avoid talking (listening?) to our host so we went out at 3 pm when we knew she was coming back from work. Yeah, she was that annoying. We walked around the town passing touristy streets, touristy shops and trying to find a little beauty in it. Once we sat down in a restaurant ready for lunch I checked my tablet. „If you wanna see her before she’s gone you have to come now…”. It was the end. My grandma was dying. I didn’t write much about her recently as I thought, or wanted to think, that everything was going to be fine. Grandma was on chemotherapy and everyone hoped it would work. But she couldn’t eat, in the beginning just some food, in the end she stopped eating at all. Doctors said clearly: it was a malignant cancer and it was progressing in an extreme pace. The last chemotherapy didn’t work and the doctors stopped the treatment. There was no hope anymore. Grandma was in the hospital, fed artificially, parenterally. They didn’t know how much time she had but it was sure that she wouldn’t survive when I come back in September. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it was happening but the first thought was clear: I had to go back. But how? Our budget wasn’t prepare for these expenses. I counted all our money and checked the flights. Changing the date of only my ticket with Emirates cost almost the same as a new flight. But there was no other choice, I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t say goodbye to her. We spent half of the night trying to find a place with the Internet where I could make a new booking. Finally it was done. In 2 days I was coming back home.

It was my last day in Cambodia and I knew I couldn’t stay at home. Callum was going to stay, we didn’t have money to change both flights. It was our last day together before we would meet again in 2 months. Callum made sure it was a good day. We rented bicycles and went to see the symbol of Cambodia, Angkor Wat. It was touristy, as we predicted, but it was still worth it. The old Hindu ruins were truly amazing, with a pure history hidden in their walls. Bayon temple was my favourite, the 4-headed towers and endless passages made me feel like I was being observed and took me back in time. The ancient reliefs and dancing apsaras appearing on every wall were especially beautiful. The ruins in the forest that tourists usually forget about were teared by trees and bush and for a moment it made us feel like Tomb Raiders . I gave up pretending I was interested in Federica. When we came back I took my time to pack my stuff while poor Callum had to listen to the next, insignificant story of Federica, keeping her company. Till today I don’t know what she actually knew about us, except our names… My bus to Bangkok was at 2:30 am. After a few hours of sleep Callum took me to the place where the bus waited. It was time to say goodbye till the next time when our journey was about to begin again. I was truly grateful for everything Callum did for me and that he was by my side during all this time but I knew next time we meet something would be different. I was afraid what I was going to tell him when we see each other again. I felt it was going to be a really hard time and I didn’t know if I could deal with this without him…

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Magnificent Angkor Wat
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Apsara dance
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Interiors
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Almost like Lara Croft 😉
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Time to go home…

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Our route in Cambodia 🙂
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Wahyu Agus says:

    Not bad…as starting point if you really writer wannabe…just keep going 🙂

    Like

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