Taxi Drivers and Pink Toilet Paper

It’s been three full days now that John and I have breathed in the culture here in Cambodia…and I must say, we have been surprised, intrigued, challenged, and humbled in so many ways. Our flights were mostly long and boring, but that all ended as soon as we set foot inside the capitol city. We were met with some very persistent taxi drivers, begging to take us to our destination. And us being the typical westerners, we went with the most persistent, if not the cheapest one…then us and our red samsonites were on our way.

Hello, culture shock! As we drove into the city, I was sure we would not survive here for two weeks. I was overwhelmed by the images…filthy streets converged upon by everything from walking children to wooden carts pulled by donkey/goat half-breeds and rattling pieces of wire with motors, apparently called motor bikes. I’m not sure why I thought it so strange, since I knew we were coming to a third world country. And that’s how it is, right? Still, my expectations and my trip to Thailand four years ago, did not prepare me for this…

Fifteen minutes later we arrived at a pink-ish, slightly battered, tall building known as the Angkor Hotel…once again we were greeted by a bunch of very eager taxi and “tuk-tuk” drivers, splattering us with their best english greetings. They were full of smiles for us white people, but in all of our disorientation, it was still short of comforting…

Cambodian Food Makes Me Happy!
Cambodian Food Makes Me Happy

A sweet little english-speaking lady at the counter momentarily made us feel a bit more secure…so we checked into a $12, fourth story room. Apparently they know how much us foreigners need exercise, because there are NO ELEVATORS! So no big deal, right? We can go sixteen thousand stairs every day. Not a problem! You know when you have just crossed twelve timezones and God only knows how many cities, you just want to crash! By this point you don’t even care if it’s a sleep number or a yoga mat on concrete! Since then we have questioned our sanity about that decision. But hey WE NEED EXERCISE!

So in three days and four nights, that room has become our little home, however meager it is. And strangely enough we have bonded. We’ve become weirdly attached to the scuffed white walls, red towels and pink toilet paper. Tomorrow we will leave, traveling on into this land of surprises…and I am actually a little sad.

We have already experienced too much for words…beautiful people, the most precious children, chaotic streets, colorful markets…and we have only begun.

More later…

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