Part 2: Cambodia, Second Visit Having been to Cambodia two years prior, I knew what to expect and how to handle certain situations before our arrival. The difference in my perception this time was that now I had another southeast Asia country to compare it to - the entirety of Vietnam. Within minutes of arriving in the capital of Phnom Penh, evolved realizations began to strike at me repeatedly and without doubt. The serenity of the country is immensely spectacular. Amidst what many populations would view as a sprawl of urban chaos, actually exists a land that is so laid-back and calm at the core of its interior, that the spontaneity of the pedestrian traffic and street shops is actually a reinforcement of its purity rather than a demerit. Street peddlers, tuk-tuk hustlers, and a million near lawless pharmacies and pseudo-doctor's offices line the streets, and in these cases, the haggling and bartering nature can be too intense for those who are not keen to this style of life. But the difference between Cambodia and other hustling countries akin to it is that almost nobody tries to actually cheat you or rip you off. Sure, you might pay a slightly higher foreigner fee for food and transportation, but this is a necessity for the Khmer people to survive, and the heart of their society is kind, just, and not suspicious of others as many other Asian countries have proven to be. The Khmer are truly a beautiful people and have not deserved the disasters, invasions, and self-genocide that has ravaged their existence in the previous few decades and centuries. Out in the country, there is even more to be discovered than in the capital. Oxens pull carts filled with wooden logs, topped with children dancing together dangerously on top. Barbecue grandmasters grill their exotic (or barbaric, depending on your stance) meats on the side of the highway. Helmetless teenagers redline their 125cc Honda Dreams up and down bustling hillside terraces. And in the middle of the mania, you find yourself calmly breathing in the clarity of nature, settling back for sunsets of epic proportions, and generally being at peace within and without. I loved Cambodia the second time as much as I loved it the first, and I will love it as much in the third. I left a piece of myself there in 2014 and immediately met back up with that piece two years later. I hope Maida has felt the love to it as well during our 2 weeks here. And now, we move onward to Laos. I never like to compare geography, but if I were to do so now, Laos has big shoes to fill in order to match up to my favorite place in the entire world. Here are 20 pics I enjoy from the 2nd leg of our journey.
- Vietnam: Snakin’ Thru The Southeast (Part 1)
- Laos: Snakin’ Thru The Southeast (Part 3)