We finished our first week of work in Cambodia and are glad to have a weekend to rest and prepare for next week. It was pretty incredible how quickly the week flew by. We are feeling quite comfortable in our new city, and although we are certain we are not “city people,” it is fun to try it out for awhile. There is so much to see and process, especially in a place so different from home.
Here are some things we see/hear on a daily basis:
- Grown women in what looks like pajamas–cotton pajama bottoms with matching short-sleeved tops, in a variety of patterns.
- Tuk-tuk drivers calling out “tuk-tuk ,sir” whenever you walk out of a building or down a street. John has taken to saying “no, thank you–exercise!” as we walk away. They seem to like that and he usually gets a laugh from them.
- Hua, our tuk-tuk driver who meets us each morning and takes us to the salon.
- Street food: in comparison to the street food in Thailand, we haven’t really been tempted by the Khmer street food. Much of it looks like it has been sitting out for days and is not so appealing. The only street food we have eaten is a fried banana which was fresh and very good and fruit from stands around town.
- People sitting around. As seems common in many warm climates, we see loads of people just sitting around all day. Not sure who is making any money around here and it comes across as a poor work ethic, but it’s definitely the thing to do.
- Children and adults begging. Laurie warned us of this before our first day out and recommended having snacks on hand to give out instead of money. The really poor people live in the rural areas, however.
- “Where did you go?” A question we get from the folks who run the guesthouse when we come back in the evening.
- A constant congestion of slowly moving traffic. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day it is, the streets are always busy.
- Tons of people selling things. It seems that everyone is an entrepreneur. Everything from produce to hammocks (yes, John added a hammock to our collection and found it was worth every riel of the $4 he paid) to clothes to silk items to paper. They have it all. The city is like a constant outdoor market with stands and stalls on every corner and shops lining the streets. You actually walk down the street more than on sidewalks because they are filled with vendors.
We know there is much more and we’ll try to paint a good picture as we go along.