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Crossing to Cambodia: Part Three

by Tyler

When we're not completely blown away, our hearts bursting from our overwhelming welcome into Cambodia, we're doing more mundane things, like getting our internet situation sorted. When we pass a mobile store, I run inside for a game of charades which goes surprisingly well.

A few minutes after I walk into the store, I've collected a local SIM card and written instructions on how to recharge it. Now I don't have to worry about staying in contact with my clients (or spending a mint using our satellite internet to do so). It is always a relief having this taken care of.

Sorting Out Cambodian Cellular Internet

Back on the road, feeling accomplished, we stop once more when I see a little girl playing with puppies. It is cuteness overload here in Cambodia! I run over, and ask to take pictures, as the girl lifts and snuggles unbearably soft puppies that remind me so much of our own.

When I'm done, I thank her and wave goodbye, but then her mother sends her running after me, bearing a bunch of bananas. She gives her gift with a cheeky smile, and runs off, before I can get much of a "thank you!" out of my jaw-dropped face. How sweet!

Cambodian Puppies Khmer Girl & Puppy Khmer Girl & Puppy

With just minutes of light to spare, we reach the town of Sisophon and find a nice guest-house for a mere 7 dollars a night. The clean little hotel room comes with a full set of disposable toiletries and hot water. We're impressed, Cambodia!

As hunger announces its presence in our growling stomachs, we bike into the center of town to find dinner. We can't locate the restaurant our guidebook recommends, so we stop at the first place that looks good.

Once again, we're plunged headlong into a sea of our own ineptitude. Feeling like four year olds who can't read, we have no idea what's on the menu, much less what we can expect of Cambodian food (save for rumors of deep-fried bugs, congealed blood soup, and duck fetuses still in their shell).

After the requisite bumbling, we point at the rotisserie outside. That should do.

Cambodian Barbecue

Before our meal comes, we're presented with a heaping dish of raw vegetables, partially covered in ice shavings. Green tomatoes, uncooked eggplant, cold cabbage, and slices of plantain or green bananas. Hmmm. Maybe they'll bring us some sort sort of barbecue cooker?

As we tentatively crunch into our ice cold veggies, we wonder if we've missed some culinary hint?

Eventually, a waiter brings us a plate of mostly bones, and a small dish of what tastes like salt and pepper combined. While we pick at our strange meal, a very attentive young woman repeatedly runs over to plunk ice cubes into our glasses of beer. Every time we take a sip, or a cube melts just a little, she dunks in another and then scurries away.

After dinner, we notice the French people we'd befriended earlier. Arlette, Alain and their friend Frederique come out to join us, and we spend a very enjoyable evening chatting about travel. They've been visiting Asia together every year for decades – the only country they've left unturned is Afghanistan!

Arlette & Alain