This is going to be a brutally ugly post, because I am in a suspect internet cafe paying far too much for the honour of writing this. So, Singapore and Cambodia.
Singapore is what Asia would be like if it was run by the Swiss. It just works. The traffic moves sweetly, the train network was lightning fast and on time. The island is crammed full of buildings – mostly shopping malls – but they have also put tropical greenery everywhere they can, and it works well. We had an awesome time at the wedding, which overlooked the marina area. During the reception I was drawn outside when the Red Bull Formula One car went screaming up and down the main boulevard. He was really smashing it. I’m not a motorhead, but it was very cool.
We also went to the zoo there. I posted recently
(but couldn’t be bothered linking to it now) about my thoughts on zoos. Singapore zoo has certainly got some ideas worth exploring – in several areas the animals just wander around with the humans, it was fantastic! It was all very tropical and impressive.
Now we’re in Cambodia. I have to say that I found Pnomh Penh a fairly charmless place – not to mention difficult to spell – but I know it is still early days for Cambodia. It was the usual full-frontal assault of scooters, tuk tuks, dust and fumes. We caught up with Katie, who I used to work with in Melbourne, and she gave us the inside view on the capital.
I made up a joke on the way to Kampot, our next stop: What is the difference between a Cambodian scooter and a Cambodian bus? You can see what’s wrong with a Cambodian scooter. Pretty hilarious I know, but the bus ride reminded me of the kamikaze nature of travel in developing countries.
Kampot is a nice riverside town with lots of French colonial buildings. We spent a nice couple of days relaxing there. We visited Bokor Hill, a crazy place built by the French and later taken over by affluent Cambodians. It was in the middle of nowhere, and was deserted in the 1960s when the French were busy fighting the Vietnamese, leaving this really spooky overgrown abandoned township. There was a hotel and a casino there, but now it is just empty shells.
Onwards to Sihanoukville today, a great beach town, very relaxed, but hot as a bastard. We’re going to kick it here for another day or two, then on to Angkor Wat – apparently they have some temples there or something.
More to come…