50 things we’ve learnt during our 25 days in Cambodia. 

1. The border crossing of Thailand and Cambodia is not as scary as it is made out to be on Internet forums. 2. The staff at immigration won’t let you use their toilet if you don’t pay the ‘administration’ fee. 

3. Always have a pen!!!

4. Everyone at Poipet that has a motor on a set of wheels will offer you a taxi service to where ever you want. They will even drive on the wrong side of the road to offer this, for several hundred metres. 

5. They drive on the right hand side of the road. (Opposite side to Thailand, even though they share such similarities in other areas.)

6. There are several casinos in no-mans land. Apparently, one does not need a visa to visit them. 

7. The ATMs at Poipet don’t accept foreign cards. Bring extra dollars for your onwards journeys that day. 

8. Sparrows are sold as pets. At least we hope they were for pets. So too are pigeons. Swifts are trained to return to their cages once set free. 

9. Credit card machines produce three receipts. Two need to be signed, even though it was written not to sign them. 

10. Cantonese for ‘shit’ is the same word for ‘colour’ in Khmer. 

11. There are about 40 species of frog in Cambodia. Supposedly, all of them are edible, but the spawn of one of them is poisonous. 

12. There is an edible leaf in the jungle that tastes exactly like a Granny Smith apple. 

13. The prices are nearly exclusively in dollars. To pay in Riels you may lose some money on the exchange. However, if you buy local you save a fortune as they typically only deal in their own currency. 

14. Teak trees have a hole gouged in to them and a fire lit. Sap will gather in the hole for 24hrs for collection, to be used for a variety of purposes including lighter fuel and sealing boats. 

15. The traditional greeting is the Sompiah, a slight bow with hands together in front of your chest, fingers pointed up. It is the equivalent of a handshake in western society. 

16. It would appear that dog shit is set on fire with several combustibles added, rather than move it away from their shop premises. 

17. You feel like a hostage because of rain. It’s remarkable and scary all at the same time. 

18. There is a powder that the Cambodians use, apparently, that helps to make ice quicker. It is visible in the bottom of a glass when the ice melts. We have never seen it, but have been told about it. Can’t find it online either. 

19. 1 in 300 Cambodians are victim to a landmine. 

20.  It costs $5 to lay a mine and $500 to remove it. The old way to find and dismantle a land mine was with a stick and a pliers. 

21. The Falklands Islands have several mine fields after the war. They are now popular places for penguins (too light to trigger the mines) and this has led to ecotourism. Efforts are ongoing to prevent the removal of these mines. 

22. When exchanging money, it is courteous to use both hands. If that is not possible, then your left hand should be touching your right elbow as the transfer is made.

23. Cambodian drivers manoeuvre first, look second. 

24. HiSo (High Society) is a term used to describe the upper class women of Thailand. I think other SE Asian countries are trying to adopt this status. 

25. Prahok is a crushed, salted and fermented fish paste (usually of mudfish) that is used in cuisine as a seasoning or a condiment. If someone at your table orders it, do yourself a favour and don’t try it. It’s disgusting. 

26. Kralan is a typical Cambodia savoury snack. It consists of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, with black eyed peas or beans stuffed inside a bamboo cane. The cooking of it is a long and fuel consuming process. It is one of the few guaranteed safe foods to eat from the side of the road. 

27. We saw several locals counting money on blood stained chopping boards. Use your hand sanitizer whenever you touch the notes! 

28. Lilly pads are sometimes used as an extra layer for a chopping board. Genius!

29. Luggage doesn’t need to fit in the mini van/bus! Strap a few ropes around the back door (open or closed) and stack up your motorbike and boxes on the back. It gives you more room for passengers inside.

30. You can fire a rocket launcher for $350, or machine guns for $1 a bullet. 

31. There are very few pigeons in Cambodia. In fact we only saw them outside the royal palace where locals feed them and take selfies. 

32. Apparently (hearsay and only 1 article on Google that remotely reference it), if a pig has 5 toes it isn’t killed and is sent to live with the monks at the temple. 

33. We reckon the schools along the Mekong teach swimming for half the year and soccer for the other half. The pitch was flooded to just below the goalpost crossbars.

34. We overheard a guide at the royal palace, Phnom Penh say that the colours of temple roof reflect the seasons of the year. I cannot, after extensive research, confirm this architectural feature. But, the colours are beautiful. 

35. ATMs can dispense fake money (US Dollars). Hold up your money to the camera when you make a withdrawal and go through them to check. 

36. There are two types of medicine in a pharmacy. Tourists should request the western medicine and not the Chinese medicine/brands.

37. Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge were responsible for the deaths of nearly 2 million people. 

38. The bamboo train (called a norry/nori) was designed to be dismantled and moved if another bamboo train was on the line. The train with less goods and easier to dismantle had to give right of way. The process is really cool to see. 

39. Katherine is loving Cambodian cuisine – there is shed loads of ginger in every dish. 

40. The smoothies in this country are by far the worst we’ve ever had. 

41. The female toilets at the bus station in Phnom Penh were past the men’s urinals. This info is crucial to the next statement. We saw that they use pineapple chunks in the urinals instead of little blue sanitizer blocks. 

42. There’s a clear problem with tuk tuk drivers at the Sorya bus station (PP), as they have 2x staff and a barrier when buses arrive. People beware!

43. They sensibly use sticky ice packs on their babies to help keep them cool. 

44. In the Khmer alphabet, there are 23 dependent vowels, 13 independent vowels and 33 consonants. It takes children 3 years to leant it as it’s so complicated. There is also no breaks in the written sentences. 

45. Comedian Charlie Chaplin visited Cambodia in 1936. To this day, comedians in the country wear a fake or drawn on moustache like Charlot had. 

46. Weddings are a three day event. Yikes!

47. The higher the house is on stilts (or built higher) means you have more money. There is a funny story about a German man and a high storey house in the Mondulkiri region if anyone is ever interested. 

48. It is estimated that approximately 37.5 kg of fish is consumed annually per person. The figure is as high as 67 kg/person for those who reside around Tonle Sap Great Lake and Mekong River. 

49. The majority of rubbish bins around the country are made from old tyres. 

50. We saw a poster for blueberry Fanta at the beginning of our adventure in Cambodia. At the end of the trip I checked the internet. It looks like Coca-Cola don’t make it anymore. Sob!

50 things we’ve learnt during our 84/62 days in Australia. 

1. Kangaroos kill more Australians each year than sharks and crocodiles. 

2. A Melbourne tram can weigh up to 30 rhinos. 

3. Duvets are called ‘doonas’, bed sheets are called ‘manchesters’ and a pint of beer is called a ‘schooner’. 

4. They put beetroot in their burgers – and we both love it!

5. They have sharps boxes in all public toilets. 

6. Bag in box wine is known as ‘Goon’. 

7. Having your liquor license is slang for being a lesbian. 

8. Customs and quarantine don’t care if you are honest with what you are declaring. 

9. Fanta lemon is called ‘Lift’. 

10. Koalas have chlamydia which was their way of commuting suicide thanks to urbanisation. 

11. Time is not announced on Australian radio, as we assume that one travels between time zones frequently while still tuned to the same station. 

12. News headlines are not common on some radio stations and we struggled to find a source of info for the horrible attack in Nice and the trouble in Turkey. 

13. Cyclists are allowed on the motorway. You may know Jayne’s opinion of cyclists already. Let’s just say they did nothing for their reputation. 

14. You must wear your seat belt on a Greyhound coach. It makes it awkward to sleep. 

15. When you see sign post trails for ‘One Way’ it might mean that the route is one way only or that the time suggested for the trail is only for going one way. It’s very confusing. 

16. It is possible and far more rewarding to see whales from the coastline than on a boat. Whale watching trips might get you close in NSW, but it feels like whale chasing. 

17. The electric boxes in Brisbane are all painted. They range from traditional and abstract art to pieces that relate to the building next to them, i.e. Fire Station. The boxes in Hobart bear no resemblance to neighbouring buildings, just decorative.  

18. Australia used to be called ‘New Holland’, Tasmania used to be called ‘Van Diemen’s Land’ and Melbourne used to be called ‘Batmania’. 

19. If you’re one of those people that can’t sleep through the night or wake up during an overnight bus journey, we’d recommend sitting near the front. The filth that the truckers say on the short wave radio at night time is hilarious. Especially the Queensland lot. 

20. When on a cruise in the Whitsundays, bring a torch so you can see the stars. (We truly despair for humanity when we heard someone asking for this.)

21. 50% of the lampposts and electric poles on a Magnetic Island are painted. 

22. Katherine can speak Koala. 

23. Cassowary are the 2nd heaviest and 3rd tallest bird in the world. The ostrich is top of the list for both categories, but the emu is taller but lighter. 

24. There’s only a few places in the world where you can get on a plane for a few hours, change time zones and the destination will have the same language, currency and won’t change the network provider on your phone. However, only in Aus can you say that you travelled across a continent and did the above. 

25. If it says don’t swim, don’t. Those crocs get massive.

26. The snap head mullet is depicted in Aboriginal drawings without a head. This is because the fish acts dead for a bit and then flaps away. The indigenous people had to start snapping their heads to make sure they didn’t loose their catch. 

27. A group of kangaroos is called a mob. Everyone knows the baby is a Joey, but dad is a Jack and mum is a Jill. 

28. There may be 40 shades of green, but no shade of red will truly capture the essence and beauty of Uluru. 

29. The outback is not as desolate and barren as one is lead to believe back home. It’s a rich environment, thriving with life and one simply needs to know where and when to look. 

30. Judges travel up and down the centre of the outback, towns not having a judge of their own. 

31. Kangaroo Island has the only pure strain of Ligurian bees in the world. It also is home to disease-free koalas and a sub-species of kangaroo. 

32. When dining from a big tub of instant noodles, the tin foil lid can be used as a separate bowl when wrapped up in a cup fashion. This lets you sit back and enjoy the noodles without being hunched over. 

33. Tasmania begins daylight savings 3 weeks before Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia. Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory don’t have daylight savings at all… Ever!

34. Australia has more camels than koalas and they export them to Saudi Arabia. 

35. Speed limits in Tazzy change from dusk to dawn when the speed is reduced from 100km/hr to 45 or 65. This is to protect the wildlife. 

36. Koalas can go their whole life without drinking water. 

37. Tassy drivers are the worst in Oz. 

38. Spotted tailed quolls may look cute but are called ‘baby faced assassins’. 

39. A wombat is almost as fast as Usain Bolt (the wildlife sanctuary said faster but we looked it up!). They run at 40km/h, Usain measured 44.64km/h when setting his world record. 

40. Tasmanian Devils can be outrun by a chicken. 

41. Tasmania is the road kill capital of the world. This is the major cause of Tassy Devil death as they are scavengers. 

42. Blue lakes and pink seas… The blue lake at Mount Gambier isn’t always blue and the sea on Kangaroo Island, Cape Couedic turns pink due to lazy fur seals not going in to the water during the hot summer months to piss. 

43. Australia is the opal capital of the world. It produces 95% of the worlds opal, 99% of the rare black opal and Coober Pedy is the main producer of opals. 

44. You can’t count the age of a swamp gum by the number of rings. This is because it may have several in one year if there are wet and dry seasons. 

45. Do not touch dead snakes. We have heard a story of a child playing with a dead one and had to be rushed to hospital. They still contain venom and should be disposed of with care. We didn’t come across one single snake or venomous animal while in Australia. However, something tells me that one should always be wary and not let their guard down. 

46. The emu and kangaroo are on the coat of arms. This is symbolic as these animals can only move forwards. 

47. Australia is the smallest inhabited continent of the seven continents and is the 6th largest country by area – we’ve seen the image of the map of Europe fitting into the map of Australia!

48. Australians refer to English people as Pome, which is an acronym of Prisoners of Mother England. 

49. Australia has over 10,000 beaches. You could visit a new beach every day for over 27 years. 

50. There will never be enough time to visit everything in Oz. Choose what you want to see and try to squeeze in a few side trips. That’s the best you’ll ever manage – this place is huge!!!