Day 3: Chance Happenings, Angkor Sunrises and a monkey named Darwin…

Day 3: Sunday, 19 April 2020 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia (11.5564° N, 104.9282° E) (28 Covid-19 cases + 0 deaths as of today)

Southeast Asia is probably my favorite geohistoric areas on the planet: Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia,  Malaysia, and even Singapore. There is nothing I don’t like about the whole region, and that is probably why it always figures so predominately on our annual travel adventure competition. There are just so many great areas to visit and let our travelers explore for themselves. While visiting the region you are off kilter, and clearly out of your element. It is a challenging area to figure out; historically, culturally, spiritually, linguistically, politically and culinarily exotic. I always feel very much alive in this area of our planet…and who doesn’t like to feel alive now and again?

And it is very different than Japan…and so we find ourselves today for our second set of memories in Phnom Penh.

First up we have a memory from a team that joined us in 2009, Sherry and Ken of team Miami Twice:

“Our most incredible memory was being on the front page of the Phnom Penh Post when we were interviewed about The Global Scavenger Hunt. (Today, we are not at our home and therefore do not have access to that amazing photo. But we do have our memory of that task.) We, as always, were the last team to ever start our challenges. We decided to try for Bonus points today and go to an orphanage outside of Phnom Penh but first had to buy items that were needed by the orphanage. As we strategized at the hotel (while all the other teams had already gone wanting a head start), reporters and photographers arrived from the Post wanting to interview everyone on the adventure. The only team there was us and when we talked to the reporters we found out that they were a team from Australia who originally came to Cambodia to work at the orphanage we were actually headed to. When we told them that we were headed to that orphanage to get our Bonus points, they laughed, and told us that no one would be there today. That the orphanage and all of the staff were being honored that night because the children of the orphanage, with the help of the crew that was interviewing us, were premiering their documentary film. All of the VIPs and Ken and I were invited to the premiere. Of course, all of the items that were to be donated were with us and we were introduced following the film showing. In addition to the front page Post interview, in addition to the Bonus points, we got to be present to a once in a million experience of love, compassion and brilliance by children who should have all our blessings.”

Sherry & Ken (Miami Twice) figuring things out in Cambodia…

The other memory we received, is also from that 2009 trip by my daughter Petra, who was 13 during that visit…but for it we have to travel a few hundred clicks north to Siem Reap for her story:

“I’m not a morning person. I find them tremendously unpleasant. So it is no surprise I have not seen many sunrises. But seeing the sunrise over Angkor Wat was without a doubt a moment I’m glad I was awake for. Going out into the jungle while the sky was still dark, speeding along in a tuk-tuk, the strange and wonderful sound of the monkeys in the trees all around. One of those same monkeys was witnessed by myself to have stolen a women’s purse and climbed to the very top of the tree in victory. I wish that story had been longer but I had places to go. Still dark, my dad and I sat facing the great ancient city, our view slightly interrupted by one stubborn or possibly vain donkey, with a number of other early risers. As a kid who grew up on National Geographic with a love of history, seeing the ancient stone gradually lit up as the sun rose was magic. Certainly worth losing a little sleep over. (Thanks dad.)”  
Angkor sunrise and Petra with said donkey…

I am lucky, I remember both those memories (not always the case with parents and their kids)…and so many more.

One of my favorite pics from that 2009 stop, was Sherry and another traveler, Alex, showing off their respective luggages in the lobby of the Raffles Hotel Le Royal…we always overdress!

I also remember on that trip to Cambodia, I too was interviewed by the Post (23 April 2009), and I spoke of one of my previous memories from a trip there years earlier with Pamela. I mentioned a little monkey named Darwin, living oh so precariously above a pool filled with crocs at a bar called Dead Fish Tower in Siem Reap. The poor thing just shivered and shook with fear out there on a plywood ledge, but a meter above the pool of large things eyeing him with naughty intent. It was so sad. I remember lubricating the bartender with a handful of one’s, beseeching him to allow us to be the emotional support humans to the little guy for awhile as we nursed our ice cold Angkor lagers. He saw the wisdom in our request and somehow corralled the monkey depositing him in Pamela’s lap. Monkey stayed in the lap for about an hour as calm as could be, sleeping in what may have been its first time in a long while. At any rate, when I told the reporters that story they went out to investigate (PETA folks I guess?) and were told there was no such monkey and that I had made the story up…that they would never have done such a thing said their owner. It became a cause célèbre at the Phnom Penh Post though, and follow up story was written with denials again (30 April 2009)…no matter.

Here’s the photo proof…Pamela & Darwin…one of many!

Okay, until tomorrow when your memories take us next door to Thailand.

Stay safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com