I leave the beach in 4 hours and will go to this Cloud 9 Hotel in the Boeng Kak area of Phnom Penh as Jac recommended. Oren is heading for Phnom Penh so we can meet again and exchange some more stories.
I am old enough to remember, but to young for the experience of the Vietnam War, protest and music that change the world, but there an ironic twist to life when you hear a song that is correct, at just the correct time.
I am sitting here in the internet cafe trying to send my newsletter and suddenly the lyrics start saying,
"Who'll stop the rain?"
It just stopped raining and life is just to good, and all ok in the world, Cambodia is just ancient history now and trying to be a tourist trap, as will Iraq in a few short years. Life goes on and the rain does stop.
My Newsletter this week from the Beach of Cambodia.
FOR those nostalgic people the word to
"Who'll Stop The Rain"
By Creedence Clearwater Revival Lyrics
Long as I remember
The rain been coming down
Clouds of mystery falling
Confusion on the ground
Good men through the ages
Trying to find a sun
And I wonder, still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain
I went down Virginia
Seeking shelter from the storm
Caught up in the fable
I watched the tower grow
About your plans for new year
Wrapped in golden chains
And I wonder still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain
Heard the singers playing
How I cheered for more
The crowd had rushed together
Trying to keep warm
And still the rain kept falling
falling on my head
And I wonder still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain
I'll try, there is always hope.
Da Da at the the Da Da Guesthouse here in Victory Beach in the area or city of Sihanouk Ville has explained to me today that I can get a Vietnam Visa that is for 30 days, but is dated for anytime for 3 months. This is more or less an open visa for 3 months but when I enter I must stay for 30 day or less.
This is really good because even though I designate when the 3 months will start I can still enter after the date and still maintain or use my whole 30 days if I wish. The designating of a date of entry is not good.
But also, the price is the same. 30 U.S. Dollars and she can get it in one day.
PATHS OF TRAVEL
I am going to go back to Phnom Penh and maybe go north or travel around some more, then I am going to go to Vietnam, either by water or by land, but when I return I will work my way along the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia all the way to Thailand so more or less I will have entered Cambodia by land, traveled across Vietnam by land, but then bounced along back to Thailand by water or the coast.
Hobo TRAVEL TIPS - Sihanouk Ville Cambodia - Beach Ins & Outs
A place as best I can tell named after King Sihanouk or Prince at the time. They completed in the 1960 a deep-sea port and was a fishing village by the name of Kompong-Som.
The word “Ville” is probably French as they controlled the country for the most part and have their finger very far up in this country and it appears they still have an influence that is far reaching, mostly for just economic gain.
So they completed this deep water port then America paid for a highway betweeen Phnom Penh and Sihanouk Ville. It is 144 miles of road and the first road in Cambodia I have seen that is good, but the road is obviously well taken care of and this road was originally built 40 years ago.
The Russians, Chinese, French and the USA have all been fighting over the country of Cambodia, as of now I would say the USA has won in its imperialistic goal of making the place a democracy of sorts, not a very good one, but for sure not a communist state.
I found a lot of interesting information while reading the Encyclopedia, but this information struck me as just too realistic and too enlightening and to me explains the French all too well in their ways. Often we thing of the French as being on the side of the USA and England during the Second World War, but it could be said that they were collaborators with Germany, but here is funny quote from the position they took on Cambodia during the Second World War.
“During World War II (1939-1945), Japanese forces entered French Indochina but left the compliant French administration in place. On the verge of defeat in 1945, the Japanese removed their French COLLABORATORS and installed a nominally independent Cambodian government under the recently crowned young king, Norodom Sihanouk.”
I like the French people, but their leaders sway with the wind and follow the path of least resistance, my friend Jack from Canada, a veteran of the Korean war said,
“Remember they are good at getting occupied.”
Meaning they swayed easy and quick, this is the question in life with all friendships will it be friendship when the time get tough?
Well, but back to this seaport. Sihanouk Ville.
AS THE CROW FLIES:
There is about 170 mile of land between Thailand and Vietnam.
There is about 135 miles from Pattaya to the Cambodia border.
There is about 85 mile between the border and Sihanoukville.
120 miles form Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh.
If they Cambodia government can make this trip simpler they can develop a very prosperous tourist trade, and probably steal a ton of the Thailand business in Sex trade. Plus Cambodia seems lax on the drug laws so there is a whole drug and prostitution thing opening up. There are huge resorts built and being built in Sihanoukville and it is going to get bigger as the trip between Phnom Penh and Bangkok is easier. Bangkok is the Air Gateway to Southeast Asia and to get big tourism into Cambodia and Thailand they must make a land route available, and the big money is along the coast and all the way to Ho Chi Minh City. I expect this whole area will be swarming with people coming to the beaches and doing other debauchery in mass soon. The area presently seems to have very little debauchery and the big money is in Phnom Penh.
I really wish they would just develop normal business and stay out of all the bad business as it does not make the countries stable, but just makes sure that organized crime prospers, not that there is much difference between the governments and easily it could be said that the governments of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are really ran by organized crime families, and not by elected officials.
Fun to watch how crazy works, sad to know how it enslaves the poor.
Note on the trip from Phnom Penh we did stop for the Dinner Commission stop, needed in some way for a toilet stop, but also guarantees some business for the driver.
LEAVING IN ONE HOUR FOR THE BEACH
Friday July 9, 2004
I am going to some city named or something close to Sikhaukaville, this really not fun trying to type in all these strange names and spell them right.
I am ready and packed the bus will leave from right in front of the hotel more or less. The hotel has a tour company that seems to be the local areas major hub for trips, so I am in a great location in the Capitol Guesthouse to book a small trip, but the area is more on the dodgy side. I went down yesterday by taxi to the Boeng Kak area and found it is probably better to live there. The way to get there is not to say Boeng Kak, but probably better to say Lakeside hotel as the Taxi driver took me to this hotel with no hesitation and I did not even ask him to go to a hotel, I just pointed on the map and he took me to this hotel, there is sort of a backpacker area there, I think if you only wanted to spend one night the area where I am is better for re-supply and getting to the market and such.
CAPITOL GUESTHOUSE - Good for one night and markets.
LAKEVIEW - Good for a one-week stay with more travelers staying and more of a party social atmosphere.
Now I have not stayed in that area yet, so I would be totally wrong, but I will come back here and stay there next time.
Thursday July 8, 2004
I am starting to see a logic or pattern to different cultures, but this has only developed because of the extreme amount of cultures I have encountered and maybe the tracks that I travel inside of when I encounter a culture. There is a supposition, but really a myth that when we meet people they are all unique and although each individual person is unique, there is a general pattern to each person, this is their culture that is superimposed on their way of living, behavior and the way they will talk or even not talk to me.
I see strange patterns, like I realize the cleaning ladies are friendlier than the reception desk, anywhere within a 10 block radius of where I normally stay is unfriendly or not wanting to talk unless there is a profit involved in them talking.
The traveler enters a hotel, and become part of a pattern that is almost inescapable because of our need for certain type of regular facilities.
A person that speaks English,
Another traveler so we are not alone.
A tourist destination,
Something that we are suppose to look at because it is considered important.
But to learn about culture I have to step outside these boundaries and leave them. This is not easy because they are the comfort zone and to be alone with another culture is scary when I cannot take my culture with me. I cannot always carry it in the door, but the above list of things are thing that if not in the equation lead me to a culture and away from my own.
I suppose there is a dream of people that we will meet other people of the world and we will love them and they will love us, I think this is a family that is our home and whether we meet a person in the grocery store or on the other side of the planet we have about the same amount of chance of loving them or them loving us, but there is a delusional idea that the people we meet traveling love us more because in reality we leave them and there is not commitment I suppose the most genuine misguided idea of love is to meet a person for a week on vacation and say they are our friend, not to say they cannot be a friend, but a person that is your friend or loves you does not leave, and people that leave do not love you. I am talking about the compelling need to communicate with another person not the actually being in the same room.
So how to find the “Real Culture?”
I suppose I have to leave
The Traveler Bus
The Traveler Books
The Tourist Destination
Stop looking for what is very special and see what is normal, I suppose the more normal it is the more culture I am experiencing, and when that really special food is served it will be sold by vender on the street,, for that is culture, the other is tourism.
I walked into the depths of a market across the street, it is very hot and really no reason to enter, except to be curious, the farther I traveled into the place the friendlier the people became and the closer I walked back to my hotel the more I returned to the status of just having the dollar Sign Tattooed on my forehead.
This is the trendy beach city of Cambodia. I will leave tomorrow for this beach as Phnom Penh is not so great in the area I am located, I have to believe there are more friendly areas of backpacker, the one here in this area are like the locals sort of misfits or out of sorts, not so happy and definitely not quick to smile.
The beach is maybe 4 hours by bus and the book says the road is good, I would have left today, but the easy trip to the place left at 7:15 and I could not pack quick enough. I almost never stay on one or two nights in a place, but this Capital Guesthouse is about the most desolate guesthouse I have entered in a long time. No common area, and just plain crowded outside the room on the street, just a mess and the guesthouse has the personality of a blind person that cannot talk.
Vietnam Child living in Siem Reap I believe, she was living along river in house with Vietnam Boom Girl.
PHNOM PENH CAMBODIA
Arrived yesterday to Phnom Penh by fast boat, I suppose the trip was comfortable, but generally the trip was not very interesting. The most interesting part of the trip was leaving the docks at Siem Reap as we was shuttled by small boat to a large boat. There were floating houses and houses on legs, lots of either Vietnam or Chinese looking people, at least they had on pointed hats of what I would call a field workers hat as I have only seen it on workers in the rice fields.
It is possible the bus trip would see more, but not as comfortable, I like a boat because I can read on a boat and the time goes faster, the boat was air conditioned, but that did not last long and most of the people were laying on the top enjoying the cooling air as the boat sped down the river.
At the dock there were hundreds of people from Guesthouse to meet us and it was a zoo, I decided with a guy by the name of Justin to go to the Capital Guesthouse, I think this was probably a mistake, but I will not be sure until I go to another place. It is a depressing area of town although probably a great place to re-stock on supplies for your backpack as the area is full of vendors and there is an extremely huge indoor market across the street. But the place closes up at night like a small town in El Salvador and you see no one but the ever present and annoying taxi motorcycle drivers. They just never stop asking for a fare, the English here is maybe the same as a Thai Tuk Tuk driver or taxi driver. The hotel staff has no face and does not smile, I am not sure what is going on with Phnom Penh, but so far this place is not a lot of fun, full of culture but not so happy.
Lady in boat at Siem Reap River Harbor
The Capital Guesthouse cost me 2 dollars U.S.
The like dollars and dollars are used everywhere or can be use, but if you pay with a dollar the change is in Cambodian Real. It is in the Psar o Russei area of Phnom Penh.
BOENG KAK IS THE AREA COMPARED TO KHAO SAN ROAD
The guidebook said that Boeng Kak area is the Backpacker Ghetto and closes to being like Khao San Road, I think I will leave for the beach and then return to this area for a couple of days. I still need to get my Visa to Vietnam so I am going to have to find information, but for sure this area is not the fun area.
AMERICAN WITH A CANADIAN FLAG
I got some good photos of Justin from Brighton Area of Boston, USA with an Canadian Flag on his Bag, he wants to be a doctor then wants to be part of the Doctors without Borders system. Obviously he is willing to lie so I am sure I do want him for a doctor. Not a good representation of the USA or a good Ambassador of the country.
An American from Brighton Boston USA with Canadian Flag on Bag
DEBATE - AM I READY TO LEAVE?
Wednesday July 7, 2004
It is about 5:00 AM in the morning, the van or bus comes to pick me up at the hotel at 6:00 and I want to be prepared. It is hard to believe that I can even worry about catching a bus, plane, train or other after this much time of travel, but I still sit around debating if I am forgetting anything. Last night I exchanged 20 U.S. for Cambodia Real they have me 80,000 Real so I have enough to for miscellaneous purchases I realized yesterday the internet café wanted one dollars and twenty cents for the use of the internet, I was sitting around deliberating, I do have a few U.S. coins and they would really crap if I gave them U.S. coins as I think they have no use in Cambodia, they do seem to use the Dollars, but they do not use the coins, or at least I have never seen a coin yet, everything seems to be rounded or made to fit to an even number, this is a great way to squeeze an extra 20 percent profit off the top, so if I have the Khmer money than I can pay exact and not worry. It is basically 4000 to the dollar so 1000 is 25 cents U.S.
I think about trying to give math cues or hints on how to think about money, but how do you give a money hint that will continue to work. Really the money in Cambodia is the same as Thailand but you just add two zeros. 40 Baht more or less equals one dollar in Thailand, so you just divide everything by 40 or 10 Baht is twenty-five cents U.S.
That is all easy for me to say who has a very good calculator built into my brain and can make instant conversions, but for the average Joe Blow they need to carry a calculator or lose money on a regular basis, my friend Jeff in Mongolia and India always had a calculator, and I will use a calculator for big money or when I am even a little worried, sometime the number of zeros is just too much.
I also have to debate on how to dress for this trip. I want to where my normal travel pants with all the pockets, but when you could be cooking in the sun for 6 hours it would be nice to have some shorts, so I am going to carry some shorts in my day pack or front pack in the event I want to change. All this comes down to a safety issue or just the fact that I could lose something or misplace something. When I move from place to place my travel pants have more pockets than needed and my passport has a pocket, my wallet has a pocket, my spare change has a pocket, my ticket has a pocket, and my keys, and computer thumb drive memory has a pocket, there is no problem knowing where I am keeping my valuables, but my shorts do not have enough pockets for all of this. I can buy pairs of shorts that have all these pockets, but than I feel like I am wearing long pants because they are heavy, hot, and sort of defeats the purpose of being cool. What I have been doing mostly is using my travel pants as a storage area. I keep everything inside them whether moving or staying in my room, and then I tuck the pants in my bag and lock up the bag, and chain to the bed or something in the room. I really only wear these pants when moving from place to place as they are hot, and I always leave all my money and passport in the room, as I know I am more likely to lose them than have them stolen, and if they get stolen in the room, then everything is gone anyway.
I have never really needed my passport on my body except when I am on a train, or bus moving between cities and at checkpoints, or border crossings, so why carry and have all the ink fade when I sweat or basically destroy the passport by having in my pants. I have know lots of travelers that had to get new passports because they got It wet or destroyed their passport because it was always in their pocket. Mine is fat and about 8 years old, and I need a few more pages again, this would be the 2nd time of getting pages, so that is why it a little fat.
Siem Reap is getting on my nerves. It is a wonderful place, but after being here before and now being here again, I realize it is pretty and quaint, but really it is just one big tourist trap. I suppose the river and the older building with the stores below lend to a quaint feeling, but every square inch of this city is selling something. I can walk around the city and a motorcycle or tuk tuk driver will ask me every 10 meter or yard if I want a tuk tuk, there are way too many of these guys sitting around. I was talking with my taxi driver yesterday and he pointed out that is was the low season now, and in the high season this place is wall to wall tourist, I cannot imagine this place in high season, it would be worst than Paris, and I am sure they really go for the gouge on the travelers, extorting cash in any cute way possible. I say this because small things like water can go up to 200 percent in tourist area. Right now they are competitive and a little hungry, but when the place is full then greed kicks in and they start really become rude and not helpful. I suppose if you wanted to see if a hotel is nice or not nice you need to come during full occupancy and see if they are friendly. I was laughing the Peachy in Bangkok was empty a month ago and the management was really nice for a week, but a week later they was back to that I do not care attitude. Most hotels I enter in Thailand just do not care ever, so I do not worry much about them being friendly, the cleaning people are the friendly ones and the reception desk at the grouches.
I say hello to the staff almost 90 percent of the time as I enter a hotel, this is probably just me being Indiana polite, but it is also interesting to see if they even reply, you would be surprised that only about 10 percent of the time the reception desk will even acknowledge I enter the door. Even when I speak in their language and say hello, it is easy to ignore other languages than your own, so I try to say hello in the local language, the idea of saying hello and acknowledging the presence of other is not a common act in the world, less than 10 percent of people will even look or make eye . This includes the other travelers. I do find this is a great way to separate friend from no friend though, and I can look at people and if they are too afraid to say hello, they are probably too afraid to be my type of friend. I like people that talk to everyone.
Well, I got less than one-half hour to go and I better pack up the final and put on some clothes. It is very hot and easy to lay around here in as few a clothes as possible.
Siem Reap is a 2 day and out city.
That means every one come and goes and do not hang around, so I have decided I am ready also.
The place is for dollars. I can buy a big piece of chicken for 50 cents US or 2000 Reals off the street vendors or I can pay 2 dollars for something in my hotel with no meat, they really want dollars.
When they want a dollar the value goes out the door.
I am paying 23 dollars for the boat.
They pick me up at the hotel at 6, the boat leaves at 7 and about 6 hours later I am suppose to arrive in Phnom Penh.
I took a taxi motorcycle around the city to day looking along the river for French Architecture, there is almost none, or they have totally adapted it into a business, not the place for Architecture.
Fear and trepidation is what I feel after I write a newsletter like the last, you can get some real hate mail when you tell the truth or state your real opinion... heheeh
> On a tour, on a bus, in a hotel, or wherever or whatever you
> do in life there are times when a stop sign will appear
> And proceed to stand close enough to kiss him, and put my hand on
> his shoulder again, this made the other 'Tourist' very uncomfortable
> Be different, step back and see the stop signs.
The best of your travel advice so far.
Thank you, Andy, for *not* censoring, for not cutting out any of your thoughts. Everything in this newsletter is valuable information
Reading your newsletter is like going thru "travel book camp" with Sergeant Andy, drill instructor.
You are making me into a more skilled traveler.
Hello, Andy, .....
I just received your current Hobo Travel Tips and was amazed how accurate your Cambodia travel tips/report really were. Glad to see you are up and about and on your way to Phnom Penh (PPH). On my trip to
.... (That means his letter include more.)
HMM BAD OR A MAYBEHey Andy!
Hello from South Africa.
>The Vietnam War successfully stopped Southeast Asia from
>becoming Communist and controlled by China, and has now
>allowed free enterprise to help the countries to evolve toward
>democracy and the region seems on it way to developing from
>an agricultural based society into the industrial world or modern
>world with internet, televisions and MTV. (Music TV)
contains so much I would like to contradict but they are about to close the free internet room I'm using at my conference so I have to sign off.
Keep on keeping on!
LOTS OF GOOD STUFF
The internet is interactive I can feel the reader and how they react to my writing, some are good, some are bad, and some are clueless, but as my one friend says, do not worry they still read.