Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb 1st and 2nd, Phnom Penh
We made it to Cambodia. Our two-day stay in Phnom Penh has brought us together with eight other interesting travelers, a tour guide who will be with us for the entire three-country experience, and a travel company whose staff has been extremely competent and helpful.
We gave them a real test by emailing them on Monday evening, before we left Hong Kong, to inform them that we had a problem. We had failed to realize that we needed to get a visa for entry into Vietnam before we left the U.S. Because the guide books said it usually took four days to process the application, and we were going to be staying in Phnom Penh only two days before leaving for Siem Reap for the remaining two days in Cambodia (and that we were now entering the New Year's celebrations in all Asian countries), we were worried that we would not be able to leave with our group on the flight from Cambodia to Vietnam on Saturday unless we got some urgent help getting our visas processed upon our arrival on Tuesday in Phnom Penh. On our way from the airport, our driver got one his cell phone and informed the company staff of the problem. They directed us to the company office, and we gave them our passports, and they initiated the paperwork then. At dinner tonight (Wednesday), we received our visas and passports, and we're now all set for the rest of our trip. I love this company!!
Over the past two days, we've had a great time visiting the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, National Museum, S21 Security Prison, and the Killing Fields outside of town. We've had lunch and dinner at a social organization's (Child Safe) Friends International restaurants, and visited their workshops to learn more abut their work rescuing children from the streets of Phnom Penh and other Cambodian cities. And we've had terrific curries, soups, salads, and rice entres with semi-hot spices and chilis.
Our trip and local guides have been extremely knowledgeable and passionate. We're absorbing tons of new information about this country's history and present. And we've still got two more days before we head off the Vietnam.
I hope that you won't get bored with temples facades, and I wish I could have photographed what was inside the temples (amazing gold and precious stoned statues, plus floor to ceiling frescoes), but it was forbidden.
Here's the link to the photos for the last two days:Tuesday's Photos Wednesday's Photos