20.06.2013 - 24.06.2013
.....Bet you were all in tender hooks about the legendary Freebird bar?! Just as I intended (or not, but whatever)
But anyway, if you've been living in China for nearly two years like me, and even he 5 months Mike was there, Freebird Bar is heaven! They had Dr Pepper, something that I had completely forgotten existed and I'd never seen baked beans so readily available in Asia, I swear on every single breakfast item there was a side order of bean.
But alas breakfast time was long gone, and with our tough morning of doing nothing, we decided we earnt a drink or two and especially as they were BOGOF for ladies cocktails and Mike had to pay a whole dollar for his beer. Suffice to say we abused this for many hours had some food and stumbled out around 11:30pm thinking we had a whopping bill to pay.... $25 is not too whopping though.
We spent a few days in Phnom Penh and experienced it as a tourist and an expat, thanks to Gareth and his lovely family and friends! Had some great food and drinks with a warm and welcoming bunch of people! Thanks guys, you really are tempting us back there!
We visited a nature park for rescued animals, that had elephants and moon bears rescued from hideous places where they were trained to dance and among other things there were tons and tons of monkeys, everywhere! Something I reasoned was not uncommon in the whole of Cambodia.
Then we came to a large rectangular enclosure with a lot of people gathered round, as we approached I felt Mikes grip on my hand tighten and we saw the sign stating the occupant of the enclosure "Python"
Another side not here, for those who don't know, to say Mike doesn't like snakes is a huge understatement
I decided to go ahead and check it out first. I walk up to the enclosure and see two of the biggest snakes I've ever seen in my life. One curled up in the corner, and the other stretched out, pretty much the length of the enclosure with a body so wide, I'm fairly certain it couldn't eaten me. Now this big daddy of a snake was asleep but I knew Mike wouldn't appreciate it.
I went back to him and simply shook my ahead and said "Nah, don't go over there" Mike, full of testosterone, or a Monet of insanity or something decides to be a big brave dog and check it out, taking my hand saying "I can do this, I want to, I can do it"
We walk up to the enclosure and the big daddy o snake wakes up and I feel the bones in my hand being crushed as the snake looks over in our direction, a few seconds later I'm being pulled away quickly to the sound of Mike claiming the snake KNEW he was scared and convinced the snake would be calling up all of his snake friends to tell them he was in Cambodia... A story I'm STILL hearing every time we are in a place where there may be snakes.
While we were in Phnom Penh, we also visiting the war museum and the Killing Fields after I declared, probably in not the most appropriate wording "I love a good massacre site"
I meant to say, I'm very interested in history and find places like that, although appalling, a great way to see into the mind set of the people of a country that has been affected by this kind of war
The museum itself is in an old school turned prison, after Pol Pott and the Khmer Rouge outlawed education, favouring a farming community. Now I didn't know much at all about the Cambodian war before this trip, but I must say its extremely interesting and the museums as humbling and chilling.
I won't go into too much detail, but to give you some idea, the school/ prison is pretty much preserved as it was during its use, you can see instruments of torture and the tiny makeshift wooden cells that had been constructed within the old classrooms and I could not even stand in the room for more than a minute or two without getting chills... It's was horrible
We then headed to The Killing Fields, deciding we'd do all the depressing stuff in one day. This was one of the most beautifully kept monuments I've ever seen. An audio guide told stories about the different areas and gave victims first hand experience in the time. The area is peaceful yet harrowing, educational and upsetting, but everything is very tactfully and beautifully handled. Apart from the construction that had been out up as a memorial, containing skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge on display, It was a interesting monument, but goes against the Khmer belief of cremation in order to pass to the next world. However we later learnt, the preservation of the site and the memorial had been funded by the Japenese, and clearly not taking into account the beliefs of the people the war effected.
After, our educational but depressing day, suffice to say we needed a cocktail.... Or 6 each! And that's exactly what we did! Another night of great food, drink and company and after feeling a little fuzzy in the head, we went back to the hotel to rest up, because the next day, we were to start the next part of our trip!
Siem Reap baby!!!