Monday, June 10, 2013

Cambodia - part I

So I think that I had a long enough break from writing on my blog and it's about time, that I write and slowly conclude my trip to Viet Nam and Cambodia. It has been two months since I've been to both countries and my opinions have changed, or rather evolved during this time. I still stand behind the fact, that Viet Nam is a wonderful place to go. It is a country with people who are not only humble but generous as well. They will not hesitate to share what they have. In certain areas, the Vietnamese people will have a grudge towards the foreigners from Europe and especially the U.S.. I don't blame them. The French have colonized the area from 1802 until the Vietnamese ousted them in 1945. The division between Communist North Vietnam  and Capitalist South Vietnam lasted from 1945 until 1975, during which the Vietnam War took place. As much as it was horrible for the young American soldiers, I believe it's always worse for those "housing" the war. I think we all can agree upon the fact, that war is never good. Unless you've invested your millions of dollars and could really care less about your "employees" of the war.
Cambodia on the other hand, is a completely different type of country. One would think that because they are next to each other, that it would be quite similair. But just as there are large differences between neighbouring countries in Europe or states in the U.S., the same goes for the Indochinese peninsula. We took a bus (a micro one) from Saigon to Siem Reap. Okay, so that's not so bad, sort of like going from San Francisco to L.A. or from the Czech Republic to the Alps. Well, sort of. Except for the roads and whatever was on the roads (i.e. cows). Not that the bus didn't have any good shock absorbers, but boy were there some serious pot-holes. So as we were approaching the border, the scenery started to rapidly change. From lush and fertile land, to dry and desert like conditions. The people were still friendly. They had no problem to make a coffee and be hospitable people. While you were sipping on your chilled vietnamese coffee with condensed milk, you had the chance to make friends with the husband laying in a hammock and the giant spider looming above your head. Not only could you actually see it's head, but I think I saw it drool as well. I decided it was best to start checking my surroundings. At this glorious "drive-in ", I decided I needed to use the restroom. I've been to a couple places before where conditions weren't so great, but I was totally unprepared for this type of a "toilet". I took a picture, just in case you Peaches thought I was being a primadonna. 
After you enjoy your chilled coffee and your driver finishes his cigarette, we all board the bus getting ready to pass the border into Cambodia. To a country to which we do not have a visa for. Awesome. So just like during the early 90's in Eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia, when it was not East-Central Europe), you fill out some papers, pay off some people and voila! You're on the other side, greeted by the faltering casinos and women offering not only their bodies but change and fruit as well (just in case you got hungry while she provided a service for you). 
Three hours away from Saigon and another 7 from Siem Reap. As we enjoyed the view, we were wondering when the scenery was going to change. Children running around naked, dust being blown into the faces of those on a bicycle or motorbike. Garbage around every house on stilts, with cows roaming between it. Funny, Czechs could be a bit inspired by these Cambodian houses. At least the houses situated right at the riverbank. It's like a monsoon system at the moment in the Czech Rep., with floods everywhere. In Cambodia, houses are built on stilts as high as 10 feet or (about 3 meters), usually out of wood to keep it cool during the day and allow the air to blow through at night. The stilts are done as a result of Mekong river flooding during the rainy season. Currently, some of the houses are being built out of other materials such as tin or bricks, which isn't quite conveniant for the locals. It doens't allow the air in the house to change and it gets stuffy and hot. The wood is being sold out of the country and land and jungle is being bought by local and foreign "investors". 
Our first stop once across the border was at a local eatery. I suppose it was a restaurant in their terms. You can't be picky once you go to such countries and fussing about bacteria is only going to make your trip unpleasant. The food was great, even though I was suspicious at first. I suppose the red soup was fish soup, french fries I recognized and the rest was rice and something or another. As long as it was dead and fried I suppose it was okay. And that it wasn't a bug. The toilets were in the same condition as the place in Vietnam, so take it or leave it. Of course, I had anti-bacterial wipes. Otherwise toilets didn't flush and forget about toilet paper.
After our small feast, we thought we were ready for the road ahead of us. Another toilet stop in the middle of a Para rubber tree forrest. Originally, this tree (otherwise in latin called Hevea brasiliensis) grew only in the Amazon forrest. The tree was brought to South and Southeast Asia by the British Empire, to be cultivated for the trees' product, latex. Since all the photos were taken from my iPhone, I was saddened by the fact that it had died on me. Other than that, we were warned to watch out for snakes, spiders and anything else which might bite your butt as you relieve yourself.
The next 4 hours, we spent on the bumpy road to Siem Reap, driving through tropical rainstorms, cows standing in the middle of the road and through the never ending view of dry flatlands with palm trees irregularly growing throughout the vast land.
I would ask our tour guide questions here and there about the people of Cambodia and their life. I decided to stop after my fourth question, of which I asked this tour guide as to how long does an average Cambodian live to. In the beginning he answered, that it depends on where they live, either in the countryside, where a longer life is guaranteed au contraire to the city life, which is less healthy. That was fine, until for some reason, he started speaking about where Cambodians come from. In a nutshell, he said that Cambodians come from the Theravedic gods. Those who were better were more favoured by the Gods, therefore had a better life and chance of surviving. Darwin meant nothing to him and the ideology of the Khmer Rouge seems to still linger on. To each his own.
It was dark time and around 10 when we finally reached our destination. Siem Reap was like a miniture version of Las Vegas gone manic. And a whole lot more humid. Girls looking for their next Australian customer, men selling their jewels for a "special price, only for you!", others just walking around or leaning on their motorcycles and tuk-tuks, ready to cheat the next white customer of an extra 10 dollars. I don't remember the name of the restaurant we ate at, but I do remember it had nothing to do with Cambodia besides the people working inside. As for the hotel, well that's for next time...


Vietnamese Coffee

Cambodian border

Fish soup?

Hevea brasiliensis

Siem Reap!

Takze si myslim, ze jsem mela dost dlouhou prestavku od psani na mem blogu a je nacase, abych znovu neco napsala a tim padem i uzavrela muj vylet do Vietnamu a Kambodzi. Je to zhruba 2 mesice co jsem se vratila z techto zemi a  moje nazory se zmenily nebo spis se vyvinuly behem toho casu. Porad si stojim za tim, ze Vietnam je nadherna zeme kam se podivat. Je to zeme s lidma, ktere jsou nejen pokorny, ale zaroven stedry. Vietnamci nezavahaji, aby se s vami podelili o to co maji. V nekterych castech ale, Vietnamci maji zast vuci belochum. Ja se jim, ale nedivim. Francouzi tu kolonizovali od roku 1802 do roku 1945 nez je Vietnamci konecne vyhnali. Rozdeleni mezi Komunistickym Severnim Vietnamem a Kapitalistcky Jizni Vietnam trvala od roku 1945 do 1975, coz behem toho taky trvala Vietnamska Valka. Tolik jak to bylo spatny pro ty mlade, americke vojaky, tak verim, ze je to horsi pro ti, kteri "hostuji" tu valku. Myslim si, ze se muzeme vsichni shodnout na tom, ze valka nikdy neni dobra. Teda pokud nemate investovany milliony dolaru a opravdu vas nezajima jak jsou na tom vase zamestnanci.
Kambodža na druhe strane, je zcela jiny typ zeme. Zdalo by se, ze z duvodu, ze jsou vedle sebe, ze by byly velmi podobny. Ale stejne jako jsou velke rozdíly mezi sousedními zememi v Evrope nebo státu v USA, to same platí pro Indocinsky poloostrov. Vzali jsme autobus ze Saigonu do Siem Reap. Fajn, nezní to tak zle. Trochu jako jet ze San Francisca do Los Angeles nebo z Ceské republiky do Alp. No, skoro. Krome silnic a cokkoliv co tam bylo na nich (napr. kravy). Ne, ze by microbus nemel dobry tlumice, ale ty blaho! tam bylo jam na tech silnic. Jakmile jsme prijizdeli k hranicim, tak se scenerie zacala rapidne menit.  Bujna a urodna krajina se zacala menit v suche a poustni krajiny. Lide ale byli porad mily. Nemeli zadny problem vstat z odpoledni siesty a udelat jejich vietnamske kafe. Behem doby co jste si mohli pochutnavat na chlazene kafe s kondenzovanym mlekem, meli jste i cas se skamaradit s manzelem hospodyni a obrovsky pavouk, ktery visel nad hlavou. Nejen, ze jsem mohla videt hlavu, ale mozna jsem i videla jak to slintalo. Rozhodla jsem se, ze je dobry se porozhlednout spise okolo nez nad hlavou. V tomto skvostnem "drive-in" jsem se rozhodla,ze si dojdu na toaletu. Byla jsem uz v nekterych mistech na svete, kde prostredi nebylo zrovna spickovy, ale na tohle jsem nebyla uplne pripravena. Vyfotila jsem "toaletu", aby jste si mohli posoudit sami, a videt, ze nejsem absolutni primadona. Bylo to tam, anebo se strachem, ze mi venku kousne neco do zadku. Vyber si.
Potom, co si pochutnate na posledni vietnamsky kafe a tvuj ridic dokouri svoji padesati-halerovou cigaretu, tak si nastoupite a pripravene jedete k hranici do Kambodzi. Do zeme kam nemate vizum. Super. Takze tak, jak to tady v Cechach bylo po revoluci, vyplnilo se nejaky formular, zaplatili jste mistni strazi a voila! Jste na druhe strane, kde vas vitaji potacejici kasina a zeny, ktere vam nabizeji nejen jejich tela, ale i menu a ovoce (pokud byste dostali hlad pri jejich sluzbe).
Tri hodiny od Saigonu a dalsich sedm od Siem Reap. Zatimco jsme si uzivali vyhled z okna, premysleli jsme kdy se zacne krajina menit. Deti behaly nahaty, prach litalo do obliceje tem, kteri jeli na motorkach, tuk-tuk a kolech. Skladka okolo kazdeho domu, postaveny na desetimetrovych kulech a u nich se pasaly kravy. Mozna by se Cesi mohli inspirovat temito domy. Alespon, ti domy, ktere jsou u brehu napriklad berounky.
Vetsina techto chatrcu jsou postaveny na kulech, nejen kvuli kazdorocnim zaplavam z reky Mekong, ale taky protoze to drevo ze ktereho je staveno, pousti pruvany ve dne i v noci. Tohle je nezbytne dulezite, jelikoz prumerna teplota je 40*C (nekdy az 45*C).  V tuhle chvili, si lide zacali stavet domy z jinych materialu, jakoz je plechovka nebo cihla, coz neni uplne vhodny pro tohle podnebi. Nepropousti se vzduch, je v nich dusno a vedro. Duvodem je, protoze lesy (nebo spise dzungle) - a timpadem i drevo jsou vykoupeny mistnimi a cizi investori.
Nase prvni zastavka kdyz jsme prejeli hranice, byla v mistni hostinci (?). Pro ne, to asi byla ekvivaletni restauraci. Nemuzes byt tak vybiravy jakmile se jede do takovych zemi a byt neustale resit bakterie jenom zneprijemni tvuj pobyt. Jidlo bylo suprovy, i kdyz jsem vahala zprva a byla jsem dost neduveriva. Myslim si, ze cervena polevka byla rybi polevka, ulovena z vedlejsiho potoka. Hranolky jsem poznala a ostatni byla ryze, nudle a neco dalsiho. Dokavad to bylo mrtvy a smazeny, tak to bylo celkem v pohode. A taky pokud to nebyl brouk pytlik. Toalety byly v stejne kondici jako zminene predtim. Takze ber to, nebo to nech. Samozrejme jsem mela anti-bakterialni uterky. Muahahaa! Jinak toalety se nesplachovaly a zapomen na toaletni papir.
Po nasem malem hodovani, mysleli jsme si, ze jsme pripraveni na cestu pred nama. Dalsi zastavka na toalety uprostred kaucukovem lese. Puvodne tento strom (jiank v latinstine Hevea brasiliensis) rostlo jen v Amazonii. Strom privezli do Jizni a Jiho-vychodni Asie botanici Britske imperia, aby se kultivoval pro produkt tohoto stromu - latex.  jelikoz jsem vsechno fotila z iPhonu, byla jsem smutna, ze na me chcip. Krome toho, tak jsme byli varovani pred hady, pavouky a cokkoliv jineho co by mohlo kousnout do zadku behem toho co si ulevujete.
Dalsich 4 hodin jsme stravili na hrbolatem ceste do Siem Reap, jeli jsme skrz tropickych bourek, kravy, ktere staly uprostred cesty a skrz nekonecne suche, rovinne krajiny, kterou zdobily sporadicky palmove stromy.
Ptala jsem se naseho pruvodce, (ktereho jsem pojmenovala Cestmir, protoze se nedalo vyslovit jeho jmeno) o zivotech Kambodzanu a jak se jim zije. Ze zacatku odpovidal celkem rozumne, az kdyz nastala asi moje ctvrta otazka a v tu chvili jsem se rozhodla, ze prestanu. Ptala jsem se jak dlouho zije prumerny Kambodzan. Ze zacatku odpovedel, ze zalezi kde zijou. Jestli na venkove tak dele, protoze jsou zdravejsi a pokud ve meste tak jsou mene zdravy a tudiz umiraji drive. V poradku. Jenze Cestmir zacal z nejakeho duvodu vypravet o tom, odkud taky pochazeji Kambodzane. V shrnuti, rekl, ze Kambodzane pochazeji od bohu (Theravadskych). Ti kteri byli lepsi, tak byli oblibeny bohama, timpadem meli lepsi sanci pro lepsi zivot. Darwin pro neho nic neznamenalo a ideologie Khmer Rouge zrejme pretrvava. Kazdy svemu.
Byla tma a okolo 10 hodiny vecer, kdyz jsme konecne dojeli do naseho cilu. Siem Reap byla asi jako mini verze manicke Las Vegas. Taky tropicke. Holky hledaly dalsi australskeho zakaznika, muzi prodavali jejich sperky za "vyhodna cena, jen pro tebe kamarade!", jini jen chodili okolo nebo se naklaneli na jejich motorkach ci tuk - tuk, pripraveni osidit dalsiho belocha o 10 dalsich dolaru. nepamatuju si na restauraci kam nas vzal nas pruvodce Cestmir, ale pamatuji si, ze to nemelo nic spolecneho s Kambodzou. Krome tech lidi, ktere pracovali uvnitr. Co se tyce hotelu, tak to si nechame na priste...


  1. amazing blog and beautiful pictures!!!! visit my blog too it is all about fashion/ lifestyle & dancing;)much love & blessings

    1. Thank you! there is more to come! let's follow each other! :)

  2. wow. vždy som chcela navštíviť krajiny juhovýchodnej Ázie!

    Kejmy ♥.

    1. Kejmy, urcite tam jed' jakmile budes moct! ;)

  3. moc zajímavé povídání, hltám články jedním dechem ♥


    1. dekuji, jsem rada, ze se clanky libeji