Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Siem Reap is not an impressive city. Angkor Wat is surrounded by expensive hotels where the workers make just $1 per day. The economy is based almost entirely on tourism and the wealth gap is very disturbing. There is one street that is blocked off to locals to keep them from harrassing the tourists at expensive western style bars and restaurants. It is quite sad. One day in Siem Reap (including Angkor) was plenty for me.

We hopped on a bus to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Arriving at the bus station is total chaos. Men swarm you with bus tickets and the price quickly dropped to $3 for the 6 hour journey... we were quoted $15 by our tuk-tuk driver the day before. The tourist areas in Cambodia are full of people trying to get as much money as possible from you. There is no such thing as a straight answer.

The bus was old and packed full. We were the only westerners (with the exception of one guy sitting up front) and we sat in the back. Some rows had 3 or 4 people sharing two seats. The seats are small and rarely does the reclining mechanism work.

The top image is of a rice field on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

The bottom image is a look out our hotel room window towards the back of the building. There is a lot of contrast in the city between rich and poor and the areas surrounding the hotels are no exception.

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