I arrived in Cambodia on February 11th and got in a tuk-tuk headed for Number 9 Guesthouse, which I picked because it was cheap and it was surrounded by other equally cheap places in case it was full. I paid $3 for a room and while the picture below makes the place look quite nice, let's just say that I got what I paid for. It was the kind of room you see in newspapers to show where they found the victim.
I dropped off my stuff, ignored the harassment of the tuk-tuk drivers, and went out to explore Pnom Penh. I liked Laos, but it was such a relief to be in a real city, where there is clearly economic life and business parallel to the tourist industry. I felt less like an invader and more like an observer. I walked all over, which was difficult considering it's not very pedestrian friendly. The traffic is never-ending and fast, with no crosswalks. In order to cross the wide boulevard, you simply have to start walking and hope that the traffic flows around you. Or in my case, I just stood there awkwardly for a good ten minutes until a police officer took pity on me and helped me across the street.
I wandered through the streets, happily sweating. I came across a market, where people were selling fruits and vegetables and chopping the heads off chickens.
A little while later, I saw a monkey hanging out on the street. I can't tell you how much this unnerved me. I grew up feeling jealous of my sister's affinity towards animals, but now that I'm older, I can admit to myself that I am Not An Animal Person. I would have gotten a better picture of it, but I was far across the street, afraid of rabies or whatever else a monkey could give me.
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