ARRIVED BACK IN PHNOM PENH CAMBODIA
5:17 Saturday July 24, 2004
I left San Monorom this morning at 7:00 am and for 5 dollars took a truck to Snoul, we arrived just as the bus was getting ready to leave, I boarded and for 3.50 dollars I went to Phnom Penh arriving here around 2:00 pm. So the trip was easy and no pain.
I purchased a ticket from Phnom Penh to Saigon for 4 dollars and I will leave tomorrow at 7:00 am.
I am ready to leave Cambodia and not sure what to do with Cambodia the mountains of Thailand close to Burma are probably more interesting, so hard to say what to say?
SEN MONOROM TO PHNOM PENH CAMBODIA
Saturday July 24, 2004 6:00
I am finishing my packing and ready to leave for Phnom Penh by way of Snoul, or at least I hope I make it all the way to Phnom Penh and do not have to stay in Snoul for the night.
The last couple of days have been fun and strange, the small village of Sen Monorom is some form of retreat or maybe a station along the border. Kink Sihanouk has an old house here or at least the guidebook says he had house here, but I was not sure which house it was although I am sure I passed it. There is a lake at the bottom of the far hill from my Hotel, so for sure this is a village built around a lake, but it is not obvious as no one seems to think about the lake. But it is a village built on a lake and a couple of rivers.
There is suppose to be Elephant trekking here, but I did not push this Issue because I did not see any elephants and I guess I would want to ride and elephant in a place where they use elephants as a beast of burden and not just for tourist. I have not found this in Asia so far, it may be in India.
Why come to Sen Monorom? I suppose if I had a date this would be like a trekkers paradise. Because there is not a dense jungle a person that wants to say they trekked through Cambodia can say they trekked through Cambodia and avoid the jungle. I am not clear, but it seems like we are going above the tree line of the mountains, but I think we are not high enough for this, and it really is just some strange mountains that will not grow trees good and the read clay pebble like soil only seems to get a covering of scrubby vine grass and my taxi driver says in the dry season it red and not green. It seems to be a desert mountain with a cover of grass that only turns green when it rains.
The guesthouse here are cheap, 3 dollars for one person and 5 for two, I am staying in the Bou Sra Guesthouse. Recommended by the taxi in return for his commission, but very close the market. Lots of guesthouse here are like resorts and way to far from the city, I would not even consider getting a guesthouse where there is not lots of houses because you would spend all your time walking or paying for a motorcycle. I found the market here special but almost hidden, it took me to the second day to realize that behind the first level of market is more market and even a restaurant area or food court like area. I would say this is one of the best places to for breakfast in Cambodia if you want to sit and have coffee, and strange food for breakfast.
There are two television bars or restaurants I have found in Sen Monorom that caters to men they watch sports of boxing. Boxing I think is very popular in Cambodia and you often see groups of motorcycles and chairs grouped around a TV as they all are cheering for the winner. These are like sports bars with out much beer.
It is not normal that they don’t watch Football constantly and instead watch boxing. Normal for the world is Football or Soccer.
There is a small pickup truck that the lady in the guesthouse says goes to Phnom Penh. It is suppose to cost 10 dollars, but this is to ride about 7 hours in the back of a pickup, this is not good. There is a bus that passes through Snoul and meets the truck, but I think the owner of the Hotel is selling us a bad deal or trying. I will not pay until I am happy.
King Sihanouk has a house here and a house near the large port, if he was coordinating the arms and food for the Vietnam army this would be the perfect places to have homes so he could make sure that he collected his money. This area was probably full of Vietnam soldiers during the war. The lady that runs the guesthouse listed Russian as one of the languages she does not speak well. I am sure she cannot speak English and French very well, and I do not think she speaks Russian well, it is almost impossible to understand her English although she is delusional she speak English.
This whole area is part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
I would guess they brought large supplies from Sihanouk or China to Kratie or Krachen where there is the Mekong river and then by land took them to Snoul.
It was pointed out to me by the Japanese man in Phnom Penh that the South Vietnamese were working both sides of the fence and he said they would sell American supplies directly to the North Vietnam army, so in reality we was fighting the South and the North Vietnam people and Cambodia also, as all were making a profit.
SEN MONOROM OR SENMONOROM
4:15 am Friday July 23, 2004
I need to check the date, I hope it is really Friday, as I am not sure of the day. I do not realize that my Vietnam Visa is really out of whack and I am already 5 days into the Visa, it is going to be a quick trip into Vietnam.
Sen Monorom, Cambodia
Modern little village, but no internet, so I will be posting this later.
This place is only understood with a map in your hand as I suppose are most places. I have tried to leave Phnom Penh behind and I could make a joke and say I have went "Up Country," as a lot of Vietnam Lingo enters my mind, but really I have no idea why I say this, it must be from a movie.
There is some religious music or stereo blaring in my window, I am tempted to go and walk around and see who wants to wake up the whole area. I think it is Buddhist, but it could be Moslems, I have not seen any Moslems, but there was some noise last night that sounded like them doing their night prayer. Life was probably a lot more peaceful before the invention of the loud speaker system. This is all broadcast with the use of electronics and speakers. If they did not have this it would be quiet.
Damn, now the dogs have got into a huge fight, there must be six dogs outside in a vicious fight, but I cannot hear the prayers now.
I am sitting here studying the map of Cambodia and Vietnam and trying to figure out why I am here. It is early morning, but most people go to sleep sort of early here, they do have Cable Television and I think I could watch HBO, I am not sure, I will check tomorrow. I am positive you can watch Sta Movie Channel. The place is a mixture of real modern and real primitive. It is not primitive in my mind except you get the idea of primitive because the road is a red clay gravel or dirt and there is a grubby nature to the city, but it is really very clean in comparison to Snoul, but Snoul is a midway point or a central city of transport and what I think is a wholesale market city. Most markets are dirty as everyone discards all their trash as they open and close boxes and load and unload trucks.
WHAT IS UNUSUAL ABOUT SEN MONOROM?
2 BAGUETTE CITY
I saw two baguettes in Snoul, there were two small ones and I ate one of them.
I HAVE A MIRROR BUT NO ELECTRICITY
Snoul, Cambodia Thursday July 22, 2004
6:09 am Morning.
Strange or just normal I have a mirror in the Hotel Mittapheap in Snoul, Cambodia. In the Number 9 Hotel in Phnom Penh I had electricity when I was in the room, but no electricity when I left the room, as they had a switch on the outside of the door they would immediately shut off, hard to charge a battery. The room in Snoul is better though because it is for Cambodia people and they have made it a complete room. It has a good Mosquito net with no hole and a mirror, squat toilet. The bed is worst, but the price is one dollars less, so I suppose all in all the room in Snoul is better than the room in Phnom Penh, a guidebook writer would say not, because you have to live with friendly Cambodia people. But they give me a Mirror and a mosquito net, no shorting on services because they know we won’t complain.
TRIP FROM PHON PENH TO SNOUL
We left Phnom Penh in a van that was packed with 13 people and had a 2-3 foot high pile of bags and furniture on the top. We left at 7 in the morning and I arrived in Snoul as planned at around 11:30. This included the dinner commission stop along the way.
All of the travelers except a man from Polond were going pretty much straight for Laos and not seeing any of Cambodia. They would stop in Kratie to see the dolphins, but the Polish guy was going to Ratikiri Province.
As we left Phnom Penh the land is extremely flat and large scale rice farming is as far as the eye can see, and I did not see any subsistence farming, but I am sure that some of the locals are only working on these large farms and are barely making any money, so they could just be existing, but the farm or plantations are thriving..
Along the road which was very wide and mostly asphalt although the way I saw.
1. New type of saw tooth type homes.
2. A new type of bush that has a food I do not know.
3. Lots of corn, and this causes a mess in the cities as they husk the corn and leave them in the street that looks like trashy paper, but is really just corn husk.
4. Chilis or small pepper were grown and laid out along the road side to dry.
5. Brick Factories were absolutely everywhere along the roads as all of the soil is clay and they can easily make bricks, although most house are made of wood.
6. Extremely large rubber plantations.
I am wondering if they make or use the older sets of rubber trees for wood, they was using along the road large industrial cranes, trucks, and equipment to cut and remove the older fields of rubber trees to clear the way for new ones or something else. The trees seem become very gnarled and twisted as they get aged.
7. The rented generators and equipment. The signs were in English and Khmer.
I would say that this has lots of money in the hands of someone but I am not sure it is the normal people.
8. I saw another large factory and there was what looked like an extremely large rice production plant along the road. I have noticed that in India and in Cambodia they sort of hide the factories out in the country. The would really make the interpretation of life different for an economist looking for an industrial park.
Snoul has a Doctor and two or three pharmacies. It also has a place that says it is a women rights center complete with email, but looks empty and there is no email in Snoul, there are cell telephone everywhere. I took a photo of the womans rights place and will be in the newsletter.
I am in a Hotel that is next to the Cambodia People Party office or one political office, I am keep getting the feeling this Hotel is full of officers that keep women or have women as there are groups of women around and this is not normal in a Hotel. Most women are only with a man or husband in a Hotel, they are not alone, but they are alone I a way in Snoul. Lots of young type boys or men in hacked up uniforms, and sloppy.
SEN MONOROM TODAY
I will just leave the hotel and go by whatever truck or method happens the fasted. It is about 6:43 and I will probably leave around 7:30 to go chase down a hot cup of coffee, the cold cup I made is not the best. I have no electricity. I guess they have electricity from 6 PM til the early morning, but if you can see the sun they do not have electricity.