Even though people there live with way less commodities than we do it was obvious that they were happy. And that reminds me of a research that showed how a median American is as happy as a median Indian. Cambodians’ average age is 24 years!! The grandparents’ generation is extinct due to a resent war. As a result, the country is poor. People consider a luxury to have a pair of shoes. They don’t dress up to go out, they don’t use much electricity and they play soccer barefooted! But, they constantly have a smile on no matter what! All day, they smile! They are Zen! They don’t mind anything! They are kind, honest and generous.
Their markets are heaven! I love bargaining and I love big markets with locally manufactured products. Cambodia is the place to buy raw silk. They have a huge variety of patterns and colors and their silk is hand-woven in the most traditional way! I couldn’t get enough of walking around their markets! My favorite one was the Russian Market. Lot’s of fabrics there, and the market is authentic but at the same time tidy enough to navigate easily around. We were starting our days at the markets because the merchants would bargain to ridiculous prices in order to find their first client of the day. They consider this good luck for a prosperous day!
The food variety was plenty and delicious! Lot’s of dried fish and dried meet which wasn’t my favorite but then, there were the curries and the banana sticky rice! Every day we were trying new exotic fruits from the markets! And that’s the only food we tried at the markets. Most of the markets in Cambodia are butcher shops, and grocery shops and fish shops, and hair salons, and fabric stores, and seamstress stores all in one place. We were mostly eating at restaurants which were ridiculously inexpensive and more compatible with our digestive system.
We only traveled from hotel to hotel in the same city, which extended our time! Finding a hotel it wasn’t as predictable as we thought it would be. We wanted this trip to be an adventure, so we packed lightly our two small backpacks and in 12 days that we spent in Cambodia we stayed in 6 different hotels! We only had hotel reservations for the first couple of nights and then we were just going with the flow just like the locals did. We were riding the Tuk Tuk and we were moving our staff to the next hotel. If we didn’t like it so much we were moving to the next one! I don’t know if it sounds easy but it was the easiest and most stress free hotel hoping I’ve ever done!
And of course the field trip to Angkor Vat and the floating village was an ultimate experience! Being Greek and having been to several ancient places I can’t say I was super impressed by the ruins in Angkor Vat! I really liked the setting though! It’s like a humongous park with a complex of temples in it, surrounded by lakes, bridges, a forest, elephants, tourists, monks and monkeys! And of course the whole scenery is perfect for meditation.