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Thursday, April 19, 2012

What Do I Think of Cambodia?

Before going to Cambodia, I was anticipating to see the wonder that lies in this country. All the tourists have to fill in the arrival and departure card in the picture above. When I saw the stunning card, I was amazed with the picture on the card. Let's compare it with a more developed country, Singapore's arrival and departure card as below :Black and white and looks completely plain. I would expect the Cambodians to be friendly and nice but how wrong was I ( us to be specific). We landed happily to a (mysterious and amazing - or so we called) place where we couldn't wait to explore but was greeted by a staff of rude immigration officers!
Officer: Hey, you Malaysians.. come here!
(All of the tourists looked stunned but were as meek as lambs following the instructions)
Officer: Four! Four!
Friend : What four?
(Officer without a smile and with an angry face)
Officer : Fingers!
Friend : Say fingers then..
Officer : Thumb ( saying thumb but sounded more like dumb )
They didn't greet us nor saying goodbyes or thank you and whatsoever. It definitely spoilt our happy mood there and then! At first we thought we were treated this way for we are asians but later we met a couple of English on a tour and they told us the same thing too. But what we realized in the end was only the educated Cambodians were rude.

During the 5 days we were there, we were constantly accosted by hordes of children, teenage girls, ladies trying to sell you things. They all can speak more than 4 languages, all out of my expectations! But the one thing which annoyed me was, they never left us alone (pestering with the word ONE DOLLAR). When we wanted to buy the thing which they said one dollar, they then said we heard wrongly.. The only thing which you can get for that price was POSTCARDS.

Be warned that everything in Cambodia is in USD and don't be fooled thinking that it is cheap to travel to Seam Reap. I have learnt my lesson hard by not bringing enough USD and had to lose a lot at the currency exchange counter there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Unforgettable Experience at Tonle Sap

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is very important in Cambodia. I was very surprised when I was told that this great lake boat tours are now being operated by a Korean company and everything is charged in USD. It was a once in a lifetime tour to Tonle Sap so we booked ourselves up with Tara Boat for sunset and dinner tour and the damage was USD33 per person. It is ridiculously dear for an underdeveloped country to charge that much for a boat tour but luckily, the service was good and the pick ups was punctual. We got picked up at 3.30pm from the hotel and below is the jetty. It was dry season when I went and water was very murky. I guess the silt in it was thick too, if I had fallen into, I wouldn't be able to get out of it!
I felt more like an illegal immigrant.
It was dry season when I visited Tonle Sap and the water level can easily reach the top of the pole during wet season. At least another 6 meter ?
Out from the canal into the open lake. Floating houses were everywhere mainly occupied by Vietnamese.
A young boy is seen rowing the boat. Plenty of them are around.
Pigs floating on the lake and I seriously had never seen anything like this in my life before this.
Looks more like an ocean than a lake.
Girls as young as 2 years old are being taught to swim and row around the lake in an aluminium coracles holding pythons, asking tourists to take photos with them for USD1.
Cambodia is undoubtedly full of poisonous creature. Cobras and scorpions are soaked in alcohols to create health elixir. Hmmm... Tonle Sap is also famous for its freshwater crocs and catfish farming. Remember, do not fall into the river!
The big Tara Boat for dinner and sunset view. Weather was fine when we got onto the multi storeys big boat.
The sunset.
Nice views don't always last and very soon after, the thunderstorm hit. Started with an extremely strong wind and followed by thunderous rain after. We were all drenched and had to move from the roof to the bottom, 3 storeys down to have our dinner which was nearly blown away by the wind. Someone even joked that it was our 'last supper' and guess what? We had exactly 13 people sitting down at the table!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Poisonous fruit

Star fruit is a type of popular tropical fruit which is likened by many. It has the shape of a star and many are fascinated by its shape. I used to love them till I was told that it can ruin our health.

My late father who had kidney failure was not allowed to take star fruit , not even a bite. According to our family doctor, star fruit contains a neurotoxin which is not present in other types of fruits and may damage our brain and nerves. For a healthy person, this Toxin will be filtered out through kidneys but how sure are you that your kidneys are totally healthy? For those with kidney problems, the toxin cannot be safely removed from your body thus remains in the body. For just as little as 100ml of this juice, it can kill a kidney failure person if not noticed early. Some time ago, a 66year old lady fell into coma after drinking a little star fruit juice.

I have stopped taking star fruit for more than ten years and I do not have the intention of eating any in the future. Please avoid... And don't take any chances even if you think you are healthy because it may cut down your vitality if you are unlucky. There are so many other types of delicious fruits out there so cutting star fruit out from our diet won't harm us right?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I am so Sorry for Her

On 4/04/2012, came back from a tiring trip from Cambodia. Had nice lunch at Lot10 with my two pretty friends and a good walk in Pavillion. After that I had to travel for another 3 hours to get back home so I went to the bus station at TBS. It was already 7.45pm when I got there so I didn't expect I would get a bus to get home on time. Yup, I was correct and I got a 9pm bus but I was not allowed to go to the platform before 8.30 so I stayed in the lounge , waiting.

There she was, sitting beside me; an old woman. We started talking to kill the time. She was from Muar but had been babysitting her 2 grandchildren for the last 5 years. She had to travel back to Muar to go for her fortnightly body check ups. Out of curiosity, I asked the reason she didn't have her check up in kl which would have saved her 4hours of traveling time back and forth , she simply answered me : My daughter is busy..

I found out later that her daughter took the day off to look after her children so that her mother could go back to Muar for her check ups ( it didn't make any senses for me ). She got paid only RM500 for taking care of her grandchildren and had to pay for her own traveling expenses! What more to say when she had been waiting since 6pm and when it was time for me to get onto my bus, she was still waiting. She tried ringing her but was told that she was having dinner with her husband and children and told her to wait patiently. SIGH... What a world are we living in.

I felt so sorry for her but there was nothing I could do to help other than cursing her daughter silently, this fragile old lady was still all smiling when she talked about her ungrateful daughter.

With this, I pledge everyone who still has their parents to take good care of them. Don't let them cry silently.

It's heartbreaking, trust me.

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