We flew from Bangkok to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and as soon as we got our bags this French guy came up to us. He told us that he was American and was really happy to hook up with other Americans even though he had this very strong French accent. Whatever. He was really paranoid about being in Cambodia and wanted to share a cab with us to the touristy part of the city. We didn't really care so we said ok. He said that he had done some research on the best part of the city to stay in and we hadn't so we went where he wanted to go. On the way there, he mentioned something about doing searches for the red light district and prostitutes to find his hotel... we thought he was joking. He wasn't.
We went to the hotel that he suggested first. We walked into the 'lobby' which was really a bar full of half clothed girls. Fortunately, there was only one room so we figured that we'd let him have it and leave. But noooo! He didn't want to split up. We looked at several other hotel/brothels before insisting that we go over to the part of town that we wanted to go to in the first place.
We ended up on the lake and there were plenty of little guesthouses and restaurants all around- plenty to choose from. Jean Michel (yup, really his name) was all freaked out because some of the streets were a little dark. I pointed out that there were lots of families with their young children hanging out and eating and they all looked very relaxed. I figured that if it was safe enough for the locals to have their kids there, then it was fine. He said he didn't want families, he wanted women! We told him he could go back to the other side of town! What a perv!
Sarah is being nice about this guy. He was sickening. The girls in these brothels looked about 16 years old, and he was hitting on them and asking if they were going to be the lucky ones spending the night with him.
We spent the next afternoon checking out the city. We visited the Royal Palace and the National Museum. They both housed some pretty impressive artifacts but the real treasure here is the people. Everyone is amazingly nice and helpful. Cambodia went through some very tragic and bloody times in the late 1970's at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. A lot of people were killed and tortured but they've really managed to overcome it. This is one of the friendliest countries that we've ever been in despite also being one of the poorest. We are really enjoying ourselves here and would recommend it to any of you.
If you'd like to download any of our photos, you should be able to get them from flickr.com You'll have to create an account though, if you don't have one already. (Let us know if that link does not take you directly to our photos)