Cambodia Trip: Self_Reflection
This was my first trip to Cambodia where you can find thousands of children who are sold and brought here to become sex slaves. We go as a group of 6 people: Father Martino, 2 young brother and sister who are Cambodian but live in Vietnam, a singer, an electrical engineer, and me. The goal of the trip is to learn about Cambodia in person. The bus departed at 7:00 am from Saigon to Phnom Penh. Right after going across the border gate of Moc Bai, there are around 10 fancy casinos popping up from nowhere. Continuing with the next couple miles, there are few houses and restaurants for travelers to stop by and eat. The more you go away the border, the further houses are far away from each other. Houses are built right off the high way, nothing behind them but wild fields. This proves that those casinos are not for local people, but actually for rich people from Vietnam. The simple reason is that gambling is prohibited by Vietnam Law.
We arrived to Phnom Penh around 1:00 pm. The sun was burning hot outdoors, but “tuk tuk” drivers had been waiting there to look for customers. They followed and asked if we need a ride, and there were many of them. Father Martino taught, “Just say we’re going Siem Reap, they will automatically go away.” Escaping from those “tuk tuk” drivers we headed to the hotel, rested a little, and started our mission of learning.
During daytime, we did the same thing as other tourists: eating, shopping, and going to Royal Palace. The foods, that I ate, were similar to Vietnamese foods. However, they have the palm fruit “chè”, very delicious; you can hardly find it in Vietnam. It’s sweet, juicy, a little crunchy, and cold. It just blows away the burning hot of Cambodia. I tried the deep fried cricket, and it was ok. I tried a “cockroach” also (it was not a cockroach but it looked alike). It tasted not too bad, but if you want to try one, don’t chew it for too long, or else you feel a bit bad smelling. I also heard about deep fried spider and scorpion but the lady didn’t have them. I’m still a little sad. Central Market (like Ben Thanh Martket in Saigon) carries many fake products, such as cellphones, watches, clothes, and purses, etc. You may get many fake things for very cheap if you bargain well. I don’t know anything about ancient architecture, so I’m not interested in the Royal Palace. The only thing I remember is tickets for foreigners are almost 7 dollars/person, instead of 25 cents/person for Cambodian.
In the evening, we went to bars and clubs where Father Martino found the way to the world of child sex trafficking years ago. I played the role of a guy looking for girls to sit and drink with us, but I found no luck. Probably, all the places we went were “clean and clear”, or I didn’t do a good job. However, we may need to recheck the first reason because we were advertised to these places by 2 “tuk tuk” drivers. One of them even told us where to get the “bum bum” with 20 to 30 bucks for everything, but we only went to drink. Phnom Penh at night was quiet, and many streets were lightless. I saw here and there few girls sitting alone, and they might be prostitutes. I even witnessed a motorbike chase of around 8 guys; they all yelling something in Cambodian. They appeared in the darkness and were gone after a turn. According to 2 brother and sister in our group, they pointed at each other and said those guys were robbers.
2 days in Cambodia, I had not seen any prostitute hooking customers or the children in brothels (as I see on Youtube), but I’m sure what I have learned will be the great experiences for my next trip (If I have chance to go).