Cambodia is one of those places that only ever existed to me on the news. When the opportunity came to visit I thought I should do a bit of research. The first thing I learnt was that there had been reports of bricks being thrown at tourists so I stopped reading. “You don’t get that sort of thing in Worthing” I muttered as I cursed myself for Googling it (like the time I had an itchy eye and Google suggested I was about to suffer a never-ending facial spasm and I spent a fortnight waiting for it to kick in. It hasn’t – yet!).
So anyway, how does Cambodia compare to Worthing, did we get hit by any bricks and have I got a shaky face? Read on to find out.
1. Is the weather better than Brighton?
Cambodia is hot. Now, I know I say that about everywhere we go, but believe me when I say Cambodia is properly hot. Those of you that have had me in your personal space will know that exemplary personal hygiene is one of my many passions and talents, but even I sweated my nuts off in Cambodia. I was walking around like a tissue in the rain most of the time but it’s probably good for you or something.
Unfortunately there are no photos of me covered in sweat, so you’ll have to conjure up your own mental image of that one. If you need inspiration, click here. 8 points
2. Proximity and quality of the seaside (a pier must be present for full points here)
Cambodia’s got a coastline right at the bottom, but we didn’t go there. However, there’s a monster pier-like walkway leading to Angkor Wat which truly is amazing.
We didn’t go to the coastline, but if you’ve got a walkway that crosses a giant moat you’re doing alright on the pier front. 7 points
3. Local delicacies and quality of food
Cambodia has awesome food – the best we’ve had since leaving the Mighty Worthing. Here’s some examples >
Awesome food, especially at the cooking class we took. It’s a big win 10 points
4. Friendliness and attractiveness of the locals
With all that’s happened in Cambodia you’d forgive the people if they were a bit glum. It’s totally not the case – everyone we met was really friendly and nice. Even the bottled water wanted to introduce itself.
When we were at the temples there were a lot of (really young) kids trying to flog us tourist tut, but even they were friendly. My favourite exchange went like this:
“Hey mister. You want a flute? One dolllaaaaaaaaarrrrr.”
“How about postcards. Ten for one dolllaaaaaaaaarrrrr.”
(counting them out in front of me) “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten for one dolllaaaaaaaaarrrrr.”
“How about an origami flower? Hang on your Christmas tree. One dolllaaaaaaaaarrrrr.”
“No. Nothing thanks.”
“Nothing? That’ll be ten dollars!”
I cracked up laughing at that one.
We also had a really nice time talking to people at Daughters of Cambodia, a fantastic project to help girls who have been victims of human trafficking. You might expect these young girls to be shy or jaded, but the people we met there were so sweet and lovely it just broke your heart to think about their backstory.
I have so much love for the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia (especially our tuk tuk driver). 10 points
5. Availability and quality of real ale
Ale wasn’t on any menu I found, though we could get draft beer for 32p which is a winner in my book.
It wasn’t ever served ice cold though, and the glasses weren’t from the fridge (something I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy while we’ve been away) so Cambodia loses marks there I’m afraid. 6 points
In summation, Cambodia is one of the greatest places I have ever been and totally holds its own against the Mighty Worthing. Without wanting to sound like a giant softy, it made me cry tears of joy at Angkor Wat and then tears of sadness at the Killing Fields. I want to learn more about this beautiful and fascinating place and will definitely come back here in the future. I cannot recommend it to you enough as a place to go if you want to be amazed at what man can do in both a positive and negative sense. Anyway, I’m starting to sound like a prat – Cambodia scores 41 points making it joint top on the leaderboard. Woo!