Friday, March 21, 2014

Phnom Penh

February 20 – Took a tuktuk in the morning to the bus station and waited for our minibus headed to Phnom Penh.  After a few hours, we arrived in Phnom Penh where Gabe was waiting for us at the bus station with a tuktuk to take us to our hostel called Top Banana.  Got settled in there, and then went out to dinner with Gabe’s new friends, Sammy and Coco, at a restaurant called La Croissette.  Got a chicken burger with pesto, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes which was amazing.  Went back to Top Banana and had a beer at the hostel bar and went to bed. 
February 21 – In the morning Sam, Pia and I organized a tuktuk to take us to the killing fields which are a little outside the city.  Spent a few hours walking around listening to the audio guide explaining a little about the history of the Khmer Rouge and the massacre that happened in Cambodia in the 70’s and 80’s.  It was crazy to hear that one out of every four people in the country were killed during that time.  To make it worse, bullets where rarely used since they were so expensive, so those in charge of carrying out the murders usually did so by beating the people to death with whatever tools were handy.  So after listening to that and even seeing some decaying bones peaking out of the soil, the three of us were not in the most chipper of moods.  Our tuktuk driver asked if we wanted to go to the shooting range, another popular tourist attraction in Phnom Penh, and I could not imagine how anyone would want to do that following what we had just experienced.  I would like to note though that many of the people we met there did go to shoot AK47s and one friend paid $200 to shoot a rocket launcher.
Once we got back to the hostel, I decided I wanted to walk around town a bit by myself.  I really love interacting with locals when I’m by myself.  I feel like I’m much less assuming when I’m by myself and it’s easier for people to open up to me.  Had a few laughs with some of the tuktuk drivers who at times can be extremely persistent about driving you somewhere.
Took a nap when I got back to Top Banana, then got ready for what I thought was going to be a night out with the whole gang.  Pia wasn’t feeling well, and Sam and Gabe said they were too tired, but I was so excited to go out to an African club called “Do It All” with Coco and Sammy, the Nigerian guys we’d met the night before, that I decided to go alone.  I realize this doesn't sound like the wisest decision, but in my defense, I think I’m an excellent judge of character and Coco and Sammy turned out to be so wonderful by taking me to this club and watching out for me.  I absolutely loved the music and had such a good time dancing with them.  I didn’t really want to leave but we left around 3am and they drove me back to my hostel.

February 22 – After waking up, I decided to take another walk around town and did that for a few hours.   Took a nap, showered, and the whole group headed over to Coco’s where he said he’d cook us an African dinner.  Had a nice time chatting with the four Nigerians, one being an actual prince, and then we all headed over to a club called Pontoon for the night.

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