Cambodia will Always Hold a Piece of my Heart

It’s been two weeks since I left Cambodia and I miss it dearly. Words cannot describe the love and emotions I felt in Cambodia over the month i spent there. The Khmer people and culture is like nothing I have ever seen before. The locals I met were so polite, loving and giving. Everywhere I went I was greeted with smiles, laughs and amazing hospitality from complete strangers, whom I now call friends. I believe a lot of the Khmer people would give you the shirt off of their back if you needed it. I now truly understand why there are so many westerners living in Cambodia. The Khmer people work long hours for low wages, but live much simpler lives. They don’t need a lot of money or fancy things to be happy (or at least they don’t show it). A lot of the locals I met do not live in the same city as their family, but they always seemed to make the best of it. They called all of their friends their brothers and sisters, even though they weren’t really related. To them everyone is family and you really feel that when you’re around them. I asked one local named Sakada (my taxi boat captain) why he was so nice to a complete stranger and he told me that he believes the good he does will come back to him in his life. I believe this to be true as well. If only more people in America had this kind of mentality, our country would be a much better place.

I met the most amazing people in Cambodia and they will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to all of my new Khmer friends, I feel very blessed to have met you. You all made my experience in Cambodia very special and I am forever grateful for all of the love you have shown me. For now I say it’s not goodbye, but until I see you again!

With much love,

Mini Van (My nickname one of my Cambodian friends gave me because they had a hard time pronouncing my name haha)

Sihanoukville, Cambodia

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Dolphin Shack was my hangout in Sihanoukville (where I met Charnai, Sorphea and Dan)
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Took this picture at Dolphin Bar during a lightning storm. It was 3am and dark out.
Our new friends Charnai and Sorphea
Our new friends Charnai and Sorphea
I was walking by these guys relaxing after work. They invited me over, handed me beer and had me try their fish. I ended up spending a couple hours hanging out with them even though they spoke little english.
I was walking by these guys relaxing after work. They invited me over, handed me beer and had me try their fish. I ended up spending a couple hours hanging out with them even though they spoke little english.
The fish they were grilling
The fish they were grilling. Eat it right off the bone
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Dan liked playing jokes. When I sat down and took my sandals off, I would get back up and they would be gone haha

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Lyly and Ruth arm wrestling
Lyly and Ruth arm wrestling
Strawy hairdoo
Strawy hairdoo
Delicious Baracuda and Beef BBQ on the beach
Delicious Baracuda and Beef BBQ on the beach
Some sick ass locals shoes
Some sick ass locals shoes
The locals know how to limbo!
The locals know how to limbo!

My friends Charnai, Sorphea and Dan took me out to dinner a few times

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Raw Crab
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Charnai always smiling
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The far dish on the right is beef. They roast a whole cow and serve it up!
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Dan and his crab claw
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Eating my first raw crab leg! They said stick it in your mouth, crack it open and suck the meat out! haha
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Charnai cooking up some beef with eggs
Making our own vegetable and beef soup
Making our own vegetable and beef soup
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This was so fun grilling up our own food!
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Trying shark for the first time
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Sorphea cooking us up some shark soup
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Charnai being funny
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Beef and eggs
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Shark and eggs
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Grilling

Koh Rong Samloem, Island of Cambodia

Dan invited us to meet him at his bungalows being constructed on Koh Rong Samloem Island. The Island is very quiet and undeveloped. There is no wifi and electricity is ran by generators. Dan cooked us up a feast and we spent the night playing games, eating and drinking. One of the construction workers even joined us! We spent the night in his partially constructed bungalows for free. The whole experience was one of my favorite memories in Cambodia. Thanks Dan!

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Sunset
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The crew
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Don’t know what Charnai was looking at
Hiding from the sun ( I had a sunburn)
Hiding from the sun ( I had a sunburn)
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Playing games
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Deuon and Sam
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Amazing people
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Chicken, Fish, Beef, Eggs, Clams and Potatoes
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Deuon cutting up the meat
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Deuon making a candle out of sand and a plastic bottle
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Getting the grill started
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Starting a Fire
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Charnai getting some firewood
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Sam pouring a drink
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The $2 bottle of whiskey tastes like rum
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Dinner by candlelight
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Preparing Food
Boat ride
Boat ride leaving the Island

Koh Rong, Island of Cambodia

Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem are both islands off the coast of Sihanoukville. I went to Koh Rong first, then met Dan and the crew on Koh Rong Samloem a week later.

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Lightning, Rainbow and Sunset Trifecta

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The beach

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Gee Bee and the crew
Fun times with Gee Bee and the crew
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Kids Playing
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Crabs
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I watched 2 guys come out of the water with fresh squid they just caught in their Kayak
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It was pouring rain on my walk home, so I stopped and hung out with these guys for an hour. They didn’t speak 1 word of english.
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I had been missing thai food since I left Thailand. Thankfully I came across the best Thai food on the Island at Zigys! Zigy is thai and a chef from New York. He relocated to Koh Rong a few years ago and now enjoys the simple things in life.
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Had to up the count with a Shotgun or 2…

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Dream Catch Guesthouse, where I stayed after Mac and I split up
Dream Catch Inn, where I stayed after Mac and I split up
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Lazy dog at Dream Catch
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The kids were having fun getting pulled around in this cart!

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FYI don't buy off brand sunscreen. Even if it's $8 cheaper, haha it doesn't work!
FYI don’t buy off brand sunscreen. Even if it’s $8 cheaper, haha it doesn’t work!

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Sakada my Taxi Boat Captain was so nice!
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Sakada had me try some of their version of wine. Made from rice and fruits. It was interesting to say the least.
Sakada bought me a beer and shared his unripe mango with chili sauce
Sakada bought me a beer and shared his unripe mango with chili sauce
I met these beautiful Spanish girls on my taxi boat.
I met these beautiful Spanish girls on my taxi boat.
I ended up seeing them on the mainland the next day.
I ended up seeing them on the mainland the next day.
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I saw a kid studying for school and this is what they were teaching him! I was impressed!
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Water bottle wall
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Life is rough…

Bungalow

Mac and I shared a bungalow on the beach. That was my first experience staying in a bungalow and having to sleep with a mosquito net.

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We had 1 row of bungalows between us and the beach

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Boat Trip

On the boat trip they took us snorkeling, swimming, fishing, and then bbq’d the fish we caught. Needless to say the captains caught most of the fish. We then watched the sunset and went swimming with the plankton after dark. When you jump in the water at night you can see the Plankton glowing all around you. The boat trip was my favorite part of my trip to the island.

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The crew
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Fishing with a reel of string, hook and shrimp.
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The captains grilling up the fish

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…I had more pictures from the boat trip, but the rest are on Macs camera );


2 thoughts on “Cambodia will Always Hold a Piece of my Heart

  1. I’m proud of you buddy. It’s going to be hard for you to decide when to come home. This is exactly what I experienced when I was in the Navy. Every thing here will be here when you get back. Take your time! I’m glad you went. I’m envious, but it’s your turn. Priceless and irreplaceable! Uncle Joe :0)

    Like

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