“Do you want to blow up a cow?”

Standard

I met a German couple in Kompong Cham who planned on taking a road less travelled along the Mekong to Phnom Penh, and given how busy the main road is I decided it was a good idea and took the same route. The 60km of unsealed roads was a real introduction to Cambodian roads. Dusty, bumpy, pot holes so big you struggle to get out of them – this road had it all. The dust is so fine, it gets absolutely everywhere.

Road to Phnom Penh - the  bridge offered a nice 5 seconds of smooth surface...

Road to Phnom Penh – the bridge offered a nice 5 seconds of smooth surface…

I thought it would improve when I got to the main road to Phnom Penh, however, the entire 45km section of road was being upgraded. The end result was a very dusty, dirty Johnny arriving in Phnom Penh. As a result, I got more than a couple of strange looks when I stopped at a smart looking cafe for a fruit shake at the end of the day…
Little village by the Mekong    with a rough road

Little village by the Mekong with a rough road


Phnom Penh is full of extremes. Poverty is apparent here more than anywhere else I have been in the last couple of months, yet at the same time, I have seen more $100,000 cars here than I have anywhere else. And I mean anywhere, not just Asia. It’s quite remarkable. Hummers seem to be a particular favorite.
Remains from the Khmer Rouge times

Remains from the Khmer Rouge times

I couldn’t help but notice that there didn’t seem to be a single car older than 3-4 years old on the roads here either. Lots of new money about that’s for sure. I won’t speculate where it is all coming from!!

The funniest thing I've seen all day!!

The funniest thing I’ve seen all day!!

Poverty, new money and pagodas.  Quite a mix.

Poverty, new money and pagodas. Quite a mix.


I spent a lot of time today wandering the streets soaking up the vibe – quite different from anywhere I’ve been before. There is a huge surplus of tuk-tuk drivers here, all wanting to get their slice of tourist $$. On the subject of dollars, all prices are quoted in dollars here, which makes things confusing – a beer costs $US 0.8, though there is nothing less than $1 in circulation, so your change is usually given in Cambodian riel.

The tuk-tuk drivers here are more pushy than I have experienced elsewhere. Admittedly, I probably looked like I needed a lift. Upon declining a lift, I was offered women (as is the norm for single blokes), drugs (of various types), then “you want to blow up a cow?” Well obviously if I’m not in a tuk-tuk, abusing drugs or sleeping with a prostitute, then I MUST want to blow up a cow. WHAT ON EARTH!! I asked him how much (out of intrigue just so you understand) and he said $600 (though I’m sure I could have got him down to $400). I won’t lower the tone and give you a link to a video of such a cruel mindless thing to do. Crazy, place. And I thought Vietnam was nuts…

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4 responses »

  1. Hi Johnny. I’ve discovered that clicking on your pics to enlarge them usually brings up a couple not in your original post. As for your link – eh?????????

  2. You move on quick! Yup, Cambodia does seem to have notched up a few more bonkers points, although a couple of girls i met were quite overwhelmed by the poverty and begging which was quite a difference from nam. But a cow?! Surreal, you must look like someone who would partake of such an experience:)

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