Tag Archives: Cambodia

Danger: Mines – Land mines in Cambodia

10 Feb

On our way from one temple to another our Tuk-Tuk driver casually asks if we’d be interested to visit the Cambodian Land mine museum.  Seeing that we needed a break from temples anyhow we said yes.  Very nonchalantly we strolled into the museum taking pictures of the workers/volunteers cleaning and rearranging the land mine display in the courtyard.

I started reading all the descriptions under the pictures on the wall and sadness struck my core.  Asian history is rarely covered in our curriculum so all I knew about the Vietnam war was that America fought Vietnam because there were communists and they didn’t like it.  I didn’t even think about the fact that the Vietnam war had a large effect on Cambodia.  Together with the many civil and regional wars, Cambodia is in fact a war torn country.  Something I did not know.  Apart from different political groups in Cambodia raging war against each other, The US, Vietnam, Thailand and Japan all played a part in tearing Cambodia up.

It’s shattering to realize that around 35 people are killed a month, every month, due to the aftermath of all Cambodia’s wars.  I read on wikipedia that one out of every 275 people have lost a limb.  That is shocking.  In the museum I read that  there are well over 3 million undetonated land mines in Cambodia.  These mines are everywhere – in the countryside, in villages, in the jungles.  All Cambodian guidebooks actually warn you that you should be very careful whenever you travel off the beaten track.

Here is the website of the Cambodia Land Mine Museum

watch?v=MqfywtjBjIM

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Cambodia

10 Feb


Cambodia is one of those places that every traveller has to go to before they die. It’s a mystical magical place that can rub shoulders with the ancient wonders of Egypt.  Unfortunately the 1000 year old temples are the only remarkable thing about Cambodia.

The major temples of Angkor are all located near the town of Siem Reap.  If not for the temples Seam reap would just be another Cambodian village.    Siem Reap is the rest stop for all tourists exploring the temples, and unfortunately that’s all you experience.  Just thousands of tourists, from backpackers to package tourists, roaming the streets.  There is no real feel of Cambodia or Cambodian culture.  everything feels a bit fabricated.

Even with some of the most spectacular sites in the world, Cambodia is a very poor country and poverty lurks around every corner.    Coming from a country where poverty is a daily issue, I have become somewhat immune to it.  I know this sounds very selfish and arrogant but if you are faced with something everyday you tend to get used to it.  But this year in Korea took my away from the reality of seeing beggars on the street and people living in shanty towns.  Seeing people suffering after such a long time really broke my heart.  Little kids begging for food and people missing limbs going around with a sign asking for some help was just horrible.  It’s horrible that people have to live like that.  We gave what we could.  As with any poor country in Asia, I guess, a tourist is a walking talking shiny dollar sign and that is exactly how we were treated.  Apart from the staff at our hotel I found general Cambodians to be very rude.   They would stick a smile on their faces when they are trying to sell you something or convince you that you need to take a ride in their tuk-tuk.  But after the sixth”no thank you” that smile quickly goes away and is replaced with a look of disgust.  When they shouting out prices of things in the market they sound like whiney 3 year olds.  All of them.  The sounds of ‘one dollah’ coming at you from all directions was a little unnerving.  So I came to the conclusion that Seam Reap is just a stopover, a resting place, somewhere to recuperate and regain your strength for the next day’s tomb raiding.

Also it’s important never to be in a place for longer that is required.  It is possible to take most of the important sights in Siem Reap in 3 days.  We had a total of 5 days and it felt a little long.  But nonetheless I had a great time and it was magical to walk and climb inside the temples.  There is just something about walking in a 1000 year old structure that is difficult to put into words.  It’s just amazing.

I happened to have my birthday in Cambodia and although it’s very exotic and everything I missed celebrating my birthday with my friends.  But that doesn’t mean that my birthday wasn’t awesome.  I was treated to a helicopter ride/flight (I don’t know which one) around the magical Angkor Wat.  It was truly magical and something I will cherish for the rest of my life!

Cambodia was great and right up there with the awesomeness I experienced in Egypt!

The world at my fingertips!

26 Nov

I love travelling.   If I could I would become a traveller, by profession.  It’s times like these that I wished I lived in Thomas Cook’s days.  Just sail around all day looking for new and undiscovered places.  That would be great.  But seriously if I could I would want to do something that involves travelling constantly.  Maybe I’ll harass the travel channel until they give me a job!

Coming to Korea was partly because I want to travel and what better way to do it while teaching?!  And sure enough I have done some travelling this year that made me very happy.  With our time here in Korea running out we had to make the most of our opportunity to explore Asia a little further.  When we started thinking about where to go during our holiday and after our contracts it was a complete mind frying experience.  We literally had the world at our finger tips.  we could go anywhere.  Never before have I had the luxury to go literally anywhere!  It was great.  It was like being blindfolded and pointing at a map and just go there where you pointed.  So exciting!  A million destinations and adventures entered our minds and it was magical.  In the end we decided on Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore and Bali.

Last night we booked the last flights and it is wonderful to just go online and be like “Let’s book tickets to Bali”.  So thank you Korea for allowing me to have my fingertips where they are.  But then again I sure as hell have  worked hard t deserve it!  In moments like these life can’t get any better!

 

Cheers from Kimchiland!