Monday 23 March 2015

10 things I will NOT miss about Cambodia

Let me start by saying that I have absolutely LOVED my time over here and am devastated it is coming to an end, but there are a few things that I am not going to miss about Cambodia. 

Travelling for me is all about experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and having my eyes opened to a whole new, different and exciting world.

However with any travelling, and when you spend a prolonged amount of time in one place there are things that begin to grate on your nerves a little bit, and things that you miss from your own country. 

It is hard to believe that I have been here for 3 weeks and this time next week I won't be here anymore. To say it's going to hard to leave is an understatement so for now I am focusing on the things I am not going to miss in a useless attempt to make my departure that little bit easier.

So, in no particular order, I must confess there are 10 things I am not going to miss about living in Phnom Penh:

1. The Dust

Even some of the streets are dirt, which means more dust!
It is currently the dry/hot season in Phnom Penh, which means there has been no rain for a long time and none arriving in the immediate future. Everything is so dry and dusty, even in the city. I stupidly forgot my glasses on the Tuk Tuk drive to work one day! Rookie mistake! I spent a lot of the trip with my eyes closed!

2. The Heat

The forecast for my final week here.

Now I am not usually one to complain about the weather. I figure, what's the point, nothing you can do about it. I especially don't like to complain about the warm weather as I much prefer it over winter any day! But there's hot, and then there's just plain gross! The temperatures are a whole lot different to what we get at home during a yucky Toowoomba heat wave, so I think it's the humidity over here that I struggle with a little bit. As well as the fact that there doesn't seem to be any reprieve and no way of cooling down. 

3. Cold Showers

Our pretty little bathroom..aka wet room.

I know this probably seems a little bizarre given the above point but cold showers everyday is getting a bit much, it doesn't really relieve the hotness as you are sweating 2 minutes later, and when washing in cold water only I never really feel clean. Doesn't matter how hot it is, I always like to have a little hot water with my shower.

4. The smell

Just one of the many piles of rubbish I drive past on my way to my placement

It is not uncommon to see piles and piles of garbage just laying around the streets and people just throwing rubbish anywhere they like. Of course as it builds up, so does the stench. There are several points along my ride to work where I have to hold my nose and my breath, as does my driver! I realise that this country is growing and still developing and they have so many issues that they need to deal with but one one hand I feel like if they could get the rubbish situation under control somehow it would be a completely different place.

5. Rice

Lunch Pack

Each meal is provided by the volunteer house as part of our fee. Breakfast is white bread and an assortment of spreads. Lunch and dinner are varying versions of rice and meat and vegetables. White rice for lunch and dinner every day.....Every.... Single.... Day..... If I never see white rice again after this trip it will be too soon! 

I am not quite sure it has anything to do with the rice in particular but my stomach has not been right the whole time I have been here. I have good days (or more like hours) and bad. A couple of bouts of gastro, constant bloating and cramping has plagued much of my trip.. no fun!

6. Sleeping issues

Our beds are the volunteer house
My chiropractor is going to have a field day with my back when I return home. It's also a good thing my roomie and I hit it off from the start as our beds in the first room we shared were literally about 10cm apart. I have found the mattresses and pillows are either way too hard or way too soft, and during siesta at placement we sleep on the floor. I know I shouldn't be complaining about having a 2hr siesta in the middle of the day, and trust me I don't....until I have to get my tired ol' crippled arse/back up off the ground!!!

7. Being asked if I want a Tuk Tuk

Some of the Tuk Tuks that wait outside our house
Every time we step foot out our front door we are asked if we want a Tuk Tuk, every time you step foot out of a shop, just onto the street in general you are asked where you are going and if you want a Tuk Tuk! It's the same in all the countries I've been to in South East Asia but some of them are just downright harassing! They will follow you down the street calling after you constantly pestering and annoying you. Even if you tell them no and that you are just walking, some of them still persist. 

8. Constant fear of being robbed

The traffic is often intense

When we arrived and had our orientation we were warned again and again... and again about being robbed in Cambodia. I read and heard other people's stories about how they were, or they knew someone who was, robbed in Cambodia. Sadly each time I travel around the city my eyes are constantly darting back and forwards, suspicious of anyone who drives/rides too close to my Tuk Tuk, wondering if they are going to reach in at any moment and grab my bag. We constantly walk with one hand firmly gripping our bags. Some of the Tuk Tuk drivers work in conjunction with people on scooters/moto and take tourists the wrong way, down alley streets and rob them. One of the other volunteers had her bag stolen on her last night in Cambodia. She was leaving a club, walking along with a group of friends and before she knew it someone on a moto rode past and cut her bag from her shoulder and rode off with it, all the money she had just gotten out of the atm and her iphone with 12 months worth of travel photos on it. 

9. Bargaining

Inside one of the market halls
Some people thrive on bargaining and love the thrill of getting a good deal. I am not one of these people and often feel so guilty. I know that there are times where I have been "ripped off" but the way I see it, these people need that $1 more than I do, really..

10. To be honest I couldn't think of a tenth point, but couldn't handle just having 9! It doesn't have the same ring to it! I honestly have loved my time here in Cambodia and all these things listed above are totally manageable and bearable and you do get used to, or find ways of managing them (except maybe the cold shower one! That kinda does suck!)

What things do you struggle with when you travel?
How do you cope?

Linking up with Kirsty at My Home Truths and Alicia at One Mother Hen 

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