Oh Cambodia. While in this country I had so many issues. It was just me and my bad luck. I’ve already mentioned getting scammed at the border. So I’m going to share all of my other struggles.
The bugs! There were SO many bugs. it was normal for me to get bitten at least three times a day out in Cambodia by mosquitoes. But i’m just one of those people that mosquitoes just love…yay me.
Also, I was forced to try snake! Ok, I wasn’t forced and it wasn’t much of a struggle. It was sold at a lot of different stands in Siem Reap. And my new travel companion bought one for herself and was trying to convince me to eat a tarantula. I had to opt out of that one because that’s just sick. And they were hairy and had so many legs and body parts. So she offered me her snake on a stick and I said, F it, why not. So I took a bite of the snake.
Luckily it was just a small snake. Luckily? It was hard and crunchy and surprisingly tasted like fish. Crunchy fish. One bite was good enough for me but I’m glad I did it! Maybe I’ll try tarantula one day, but don’t get your hopes up for that one.
Ok this one was just dumb on my part. It was late at night and I was out if money in Siem Reap. So I went to the ATM. Just the day before a girl from the US we met on a tour, Liz, was having a rough day because her debit card wasn’t working in Cambodia! Her bank told her that it was the ATM’s out there that wouldn’t allow it so she was stuck with no money. So the next day as I’m looking to take out cash from an ATM, my card also wasn’t working! I tried 3 different ATMs from three different banks and couldn’t take out money. I was sure I was just as doomed as Liz. I called my bank as soon as they were open ready to accept the same fate as my friend.
I talked to the first person, who then transferred me over to another person. I was sure they were going to give me some bad news. I didn’t know how I would make it out of Cambodia without any cash. I was starting to freak out. After a few minutes on hold, the last lady tells me that I had no money in my account. WHAT?! And that it was all in my savings…Oh. I keep all of my money in my savings and transfer over only what I need. I forgot to transfer the money from my savings over to my checking and that’s why I couldn’t take out any money. I’m sure she thought I was an idiot…ok I was lol. My card was fine.
This one was also my fault. Ok I think they all are. We headed to the local market in downtown Siem Reap. I wanted to eat at one of the local stands. Always the best way to go when traveling. I got the beef soup which I was overcharged for and the lady laughed about it with her friends. All I heard her say was 6000 riel hahahaha! And they all stared at me. Whatever it was only $1.50. I’ve been scammed for more…not that that makes it any better. Just a part of being a tourist. So I enjoyed the soup and the lady brings me some ice cold water in a glass. Now other southeast Asian countries know that tourists can’t drink the local tap water so usually water in a glass is from a bottle so I don’t have to worry. I assumed the same for Cambodia. Boy was I wrong. And my body hated me for it right after. I took one sip and looked down in the glass and saw huge black things floating in it…shit…and I had already swallowed it. I felt like throwing up. I quickly paid, gave the lady the mean eye for overcharging, laughing and pointing, and serving me nasty water. I was pissed but I shouldn’t have assumed anything. And for the next 4 days I couldn’t eat. All I wanted to do was use the bathroom every two hours, just in time for my island tour on a nauseating boat ride to three different islands. All I could think about was the bathroom and how nauseous I was. And I also was having the worst stomach cramps of my life. I still can’t look at street food the same way.
My nauseating boat ride.
I was attempting to buy my visa for Vietnam. To get into Vietnam you need to buy your visa in advance from a Vietnamese embassy. I gave them the money and looked in my bag for my passport. It was gone. My heart dropped into my stomach. W…T…F. Where is my passport?! I took out everything in my bag and in my backpack. Nothing, I retraced my foot steps and headed to a restaurant that I was at the day before. Still nothing. I asked the Italian restaurant owner if he had seen it and he said no. The people at the bar looked worried for me. I’m sure they were all thinking, who loses their passport?! The most important thing you need when traveling abroad! And in Cambodia of all places! Probably one of the most corrupt country in Asia!
They pointed me in the direction of the local tourist police but warned me that if the police tried to take money from me, to come back to the bar and let them know. This made me feel a little on edge. Why are they warning me about the police? And if the police can’t help me than who can?! So I walked over to the police station, which was a tiny booth that shared a space with a tourist guide/travel agency. Yeah that looks reputable. And the “police officer” was wearing a dirty tank top and not a uniform. Just great. I told him I lost my passport and he didn’t seem to understand too much English. He understood after awhile what I meant and I asked him if anyone turned it in. He didn’t even check but just asked me if I lost my money too. I said no, which I soon regretted because he looked a little TOO interested that I still had my money on me. He then told me that he would call his boss and they would deport me in the morning. When he said that I freaked out on the inside and told him that I would just try to keep looking and come back if i couldn’t find it. I rushed out of there more concerned than ever. I did NOT want to be in this country without my passport and I did NOT want to be deported.
I had a rough night’s sleep that night trying to figure out where I could have left it. I decided I would go to the bank as soon as I wake up because I might have left it there. I figured this was a far shot because I was at the bank about 3 days ago and I didn’t remember using it there and if I did leave it, what were the chances that they would still have it. The moment the bank opened, I went straight there and the ladies at the counter smiled when I walked in and handed me my passport!! I was so happy I could have danced in the middle of the bank, but I already draw enough attention to myself, being a tourist with strange hair. So I booked it to the Vietnamese embassy to get my visa so I can get out of my bad luck country.
I loved Cambodia but I just had the worst luck there. Maybe Vietnam will be better!?