The first week was slow and dragging. I had some good moments, but at the same time I was yearning to head back home.
Phnom Penh: Disgustingly Beautiful
Now, let me first tell you: Phnom Penh is rapidly growing, but because it is growing at such a fast pace and because of the corruption within Cambodia, it has poor city planning. It isn’t clean. It’s dirty, grimy, and chaotic. It is an urban jungle. Some people may love it for that reason, but personally, I’ve learned that I can deal with it, but I prefer not to live in that lifestyle. I want clean air and places I can take a run outside and not worry that I’m going to be hit by a car or a motorcycle. By the third week, time was speeding up and I was well accustomed to the lifestyle of Phnom Penh, but I still missed home.
Nation: Scenic, but Inconveniant
Outside of Phnom Penh is largely rural. I thought I could deal with that because I love nature. Phnom Penh has beautiful rice fields, rock formations, and an incredible jungle (real jungle), but I honestly can’t live without the amenities of a developed nation. I thought I could, but my health does not really allow me to. You can go see the doctor for a great price compared to the States, but if the doctor hasn’t specialized in that area, they’ll just look at you and send you home if they cannot come up
with a diagnostic. It isn’t the best system. I had a friend who broke his toe
here and easily had it put it back in place for a cheap price, but I have
difficulty finding assistance for my digestive problems. Not only that, but my class group went out on an excursion to Siem Reap, but it was an 8 hour bus ride with poor air conditioner and vast lands without a toilet in sight. I started to feel queasy and my stomach was unsettled. I needed the toilet, but I didn’t want to have everyone to stop for me to shit my bowels out because one, that’s embarrassing, and two, I didn’t want people to wait for me to do something embarrassing. But, I couldn’t have it – I needed to go. So, I had to stop the bus twice. I didn’t eat anything for 6 hours, and I eat a lot! It was a terrible ride.
My trip to Sihanoukville was great. It’s a beautiful place,
there is cheap, good food, and eco tours. The ride is 4-5 hours on bus from
Phnom Penh. The road there is much smoother.
I mostly found refuge on the riverside, great restaurants, spas, shopping markets, and view during my stay in Phonm Penh. I also took refuge of
the people of the program – we often played volleyball in the pool, billiards, karaoke, and participated in trivia night. Cambodia has great tourist sights and you can find hidden treasures in those areas too.
- Poorly planned city
- Dirty and smelly
- Don’t have great amenities
- Terrible traffic
- Food is sometimes questionable
- Cheap and affordable
- People are interesting: children are adorable and friendly. People will say hello, but not much interest in you.
- People also have a good amount of English, so you can communicate what you want pretty easily. They don’t speak it well, but you can still get your point across.
- Native food, if found correctly, can be delicious.
- Riverside of Phnom Penh is a great place to hang out.