Friday, March 09, 2007


Cambodia was a land of great contrasts. The divide between the haves and have-nots was very visible. We visited Siem Reap and though we were only there for a few days we were able to visit quite a few places. Tuk tuk was the preferred method of transport and the drivers were incredibly friendly and helpful, as were all the Cambodians we had contact with. The tuk tuk were powered by motorcycles and bicycles and motorcycles were the main mode of transport.

The markets were incredible places. We first visited the tourist market where bargaining was definitely the order of the day, I'm sure they artificially inflate the cost just so they can make the tourists feel like they have a bargain. Things were incredibly cheap with silk ties for $US1 and $US2 and t-shirts around $US2. Silk was sold for $USA4 a huge piece and silver jewellery sold by weight.

The markets where the locals shopped were an experience not to be missed. The smells are something I'm in no hurry to repeat. You could buy anything there, including petrol in whisky bottles, motorbikes alongside the fruit, cigarettes that were being made on the stall and cockroaches and grasshoppers by the basketful.

The sight of the meat and chicken lying in the hot sun, covered in flies was hard to take (and smell) as was the sight of live chickens tied together in bunches of four waiting to have their heads chopped off in the street. There were also large containers of fish flapping around in containers with little or no water. All in all an unforgettable experience.

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