I arrived in Kampong Cham yesterday afternoon after a three hour bus ride from Phnom Penh. It is a cute and busy riverfront city with a lot of interesting old French Architecture.
I found a great little guest house with an amazing view of the river (for $10/night), dropped off my bags, and headed out for a walk. There are tons of little shops here selling motorbikes, mopeds and men’s clothes and shoes. When I asked about women’s shoes, since my sandals blew out, no one seemed to be able to point me to any?? So, I walked in and found the busy market! It was packed full with fish, meat, veggies and random household stuff!
After I had enough of the market, I found a tuk tuk and headed to the bamboo bridge that spans the Mekong, connecting Kampong Cham with Koh Paen, a small island with makeshift sand bars on the banks. In the wet season the island is accessible only by ferry, but the bamboo bridge is rebuilt every year after the rains for pedestrian and bike access. It is an amazing walk and definitely puts a smile on everyone’s face who crosses it!
Beat from the heat, I made my way back for a cool drink, a shower, and a great $5 massage…wow, the girls are strong here!!! Then, I was ready for some food. I settled in at a spot on the river at my guest house restaurant (Mekong Crossing). I ordered the local Khmer vegetable yellow curry. It arrived in a bowl with a big plate of rice on the side. I asked the young man who served it how he would eat it, rice into the bowl, curry on the rice, etc.. He passionately explained that they eat it separately so you can mix the perfect blend of food in your mouth and full savor all of the different flavors. It was amazing with a perfect blend of long beans, potatoes, eggplant, pineapple and coconut and spices!! Yummy!
During the meal, I continued to chat with the server who told me he had just started studying English seven months ago. I would have guessed he had been working on it for years! He then explained how he goes to school every morning, comes back, works until 10:00, then studies for 2-3 hours every night. He has also started working on Korean so he can move there one day to better his life and help his family. He is absolutely incredible for a 20 year old!
All in all, it is great to be here out of the big city! Everyone is so friendly, always smiling and waving as I pass by!
Tuk tuk tour tomorrow!