Created: 17 June 2012
Here's an update from our very own Julie Ganski, operations coordinator, who's roaming around Cambodia on a research trip for Myths and Mountains:
Once you've traveled with a private guide, you'll know that it's worth paying for this special privilege. For most of our Myths trips, our clients do have private guides, and they enjoy the added benefits of having a guide who caters to their style of travel and their interests. We trust our guides to share insights into how local people live - it adds a wonderful flavor to our itineraries.
For instance, Sinat explained, "Julie, look, those sticks you see are their anchors" - pointing at the sticks coming from the water, which I wouldn't even think to ask about. Driving down the road, he'll say "Julie, look, they are boiling palm juice to make sugar." I love that he sees details that lets me understand the local Cambodian culture even more!
Another example was when we were hiking to Kbeal Spean. He always would stop and notice the littlest things around us - like an army of termites marching up a tree or a giant centipede worth checking out. The butterflies took quite a liking to him and one landed on his hand and climbed a good portion of the hike with us just hanging out on his hand.
Obviously the Cambodian temples also are incredible. It's difficult to wrap one's head around the history here. It's mind blowing how much work was done to build these massive complexes so long ago, with very little tools or technology. The Khmer civilization must have been so intelligent, driven, and imaginative and obviously, dedicated people. All of the temples are so different in a special way -- Quite a sight. Almost makes you feel inadequate thinking about it all. Learning about the rich history here and how it relates to the neighboring countries is sobering when comparing it to American history. What a baby we are comparatively!
Of course, as a foodie, I have been enjoying the cuisine around here quite a bit as well. Noodles and coffee for breakfast. Not what I'm used to, but what's adventure travel without an adventure in cuisine? I had dinner at Le Bistro last night after visiting the Central market and then a Khmer meal at Viroth (fantastic restaurant!) on a recommendation from Sinat tonight after visiting the old market. It was fun to take a tuk tuk and walk around a bit - I admit, it was very scary for me at first, but Sinat reassured me it was safe to go out and about at night there and I was glad I did!
I have another long day tomorrow -- off to Kratie to see dolphins! I'm not sure if I'll have internet for the next couple days so I will write a follow up in a few days.
Julie Ganski, Operations Coordinator