Tag Archives: cambodia

Hospital Tourism

The moral of the story…no matter how long we wait in waiting rooms back home, at least at the end of it all the doctor does more than prescribe a general course of anti-histamines, paracetemol, antacids, and anti-biotics…they typically at least check you pupils or your BP….

Just after (obviously) having a conversation with our fellow volunteers about how reckless the driving is in Phnom Penh and how we were probably feeling a little too invincible on our push bikes….and then after saying ‘hey traffic’s great today’….riding along and a moto swerves around a tuk tuk and side on in to me…that’s about the last thing I remember before hearing Stacey yell my name and me peeling myself up of the pavement. Then me being a stubborn ass about not going to the hospital until realizing the bump the size of a baseball on my head and the radiating pain up my temple from speaking…then the hysterics began. Mostly because there were about 20 useless Cambodian men laughing at me and nobody doing anything, additionally all the lady that hit me cared about was saying we were both at fault so I wouldn’t sue her (for what? 50 dollars? this is Cambodia…)

After what felt like half an hour and was probably 10 minutes, and involved me attempting to ‘walk it off’ twice…the tuk tuk took my to the closest clinic where I had to beg for ice, was given a massive block of ice…not malleable to my head…and a sedative, not a pain killer. The doctor looked at my eyes, wrote the 4 prescriptions listed previously and I never saw him again.

I then felt better so headed south to Kampot to get out of the craziness of Phom Penh (slash I just have too many favourite spots, eating was getting pricey). I went to the market the next day and started getting sick again so I waited to go to Sonja Kill, a new ex–pat doctor mentorship hospital. There I got an Xray, but they didn’t have a CT…the closest is in Phnom Penh (but may not be that great)…:S. The hospital was way nicer and evidently a destination for people far and wide in Kampot province. IT was great to see that western doctors were mentoring Khmer ones to try and shift the perspective on health care. Both facilities were super clean, but I was surprised English wasn’t more prevalent in the medical scene. I spoked to an ex-pat in Kampot who said you can get into any medical school in Cambodia …meaning any language. So some doctors will go to English or French schools with no prior knowledge of the language…obviously creating problems.

So I chilled out with more amazing food and made my way to Sihanoukville to get my Vietnam visa before heading to HCMC this morning. I feel like death…probably because of the pushy Korean woman who dropped a 10kg hello kitty bag on my head when she got off the bus, but either way I’m actually taking my bed rest for the next couple days.

I’m super panicked about continuing my trip and yoga training…I’ll definitely keep ya’lls posted.

Food post to come…so.. much…GREAT foood….and so far I’ve had terrrrrible pho in Saigon—not impressed. Also, Facebook is blocked…also I don’t know what people are talking about. The Vietnamese are so far HEAPS nicer than Cambodians. I hope the tuk tuk drivers and ‘lady’ callers at markets know they’ve ruined the image of their country’s friendly people. yeesh.

Phnom Penh 3

….I think it’s 3?

Anyway, we’re in our last week of volunteering at the special needs orphanage. We’ve dusted the cobwebs off of our nursery rhymes and mastered all of the Khmer names and eating habits of each child. It’s a bit gutting to know we’re leaving so soon…but I am looking forward to properly travelling again.

We’re gathering our gifts for the orphanage which consist of formula, cereals and diapers…all essentials that the kids end up going without if volunteers and donors don’t provide contributions. In once sense I really don’t agree with how we’re expected to provide these essential commodities when we’re already donating our time (I don’t have spare cash…hence donating my time?), but at the same time if the kids need it 100 bucks is worth heaps more to them than to me, even in the dire circumstance of backpacking.

My legs are led at the moment due to the fact that we’re biking 15km a day as we traded in our turfed tuk tuk for push bikes saving on cash and contributing to the calorie burn….probably good considering I have an empty bag of soft baked dark chocolate cookie purchased tonight by my side…We’ve also been pretty dedicated to doing the workouts at Olympic Stadium, which are 25 cents for an hour of zumba/tae bo, and cater to every and any cambodian of any age, social standing, and/or attire…
our nurs
Otherwise the stadium is great, there’s stairs, track, soccer pitches, tae kwon do, tennis, and impromptu badminton.

We’ve also discovered some sweet restaurants this week including an Indian joint called Taste Budz on street 282, just off of Monivong and Sihanoukville. Pretty good indian….if I hadn’t been to Penang, great Indian. Relatively cheap….but we hear there are cheaper all-you-can eat places by the lake. We went in search the other night to find out it was ‘closed’. Must love Asia and it’s ‘yeah, it was grandpa’s birthday last month and now we got a new cat so I think we’ll take a day off to watch soaps’ holidays…

Friends is also amazing…pricier because it is an NGO cafe, but the food is great. I’m going to interject here and present my beef with Cambodia. Yes, it is very poor; Yes, it has seen complete turmoil I will never understand; and Yes, I might do the same if I were them…but the use and abuse their tragic history. Every cafe is run by street kids or teaches them to cook, every shop has things made by mothers in need, every traveller is a volunteer… So, all these shops charge extra because they cater to empathetic Westerners who are here volunteering their time…when really they are Massive cash cows for their western owners. All of the major NGO cafe/shops are owned and operated by westerners. Hence the English menus, tons of advertising, and all in one heart string teasers to get the biggest bang for the buck out of each visitor. You would honestly be better off buying from the super local cafes where nobody speaks English…betcha they need your cash more than the others. It’s funny, each of these NGO places always has air con, fresh paint, and recent renovations…Wonder if they hired street kids to install it?

I know that they are in fact poor, and that I couldn’t imagine what they’ve been through. However they definitely have taken their past and turned it into a pity story to scam westerners….not even the Khmer people, more sickening…its the westerners that come, use the story, and benefit off of other westerners. I feel a little sick every time I go to one of these places but it seems all my other ‘good hearted volunteer’ friends quite like it. What gives. Perhaps I’m a cynic…I like to think I’m smarter than ‘scambodia’ as I’ve called if from the minute I entered it. Eating local, buying local, and staying in our somewhat bug infested guest house makes me feel better than eating a ‘really good apple crumble’ recipe by nana in Georgia executed by a Khmer kid, whose brother comes to sell me DVDs during my dinner with begging hands…

Somehow in the next 10 days I am trying to get visas for India, Vietnam, and a 60 day for Thailand. Cambodia is the cheapest place in SE Asia to get all of them (moreso I need Vietnam to continue my journey), but the office hours are while I’m at volunteering…time will tell. Either way these three will cost me upwards of 200 combined…yeesh! good thing I found cheap flights to India, from there to Africa, and from cpt to Athens–Skyscanner I love you.

Lunch tomorrow is Tofu, cucumber, and Carrot…made possible by the knife I bought for 80 cents. Arguably my best purchase in Asia so far.

I’m also going to yoga at Yoga! Phnom Penh tomorrow for a ‘sweat and samadhi’ class. Not only do the instructors and classes seem sweet but they are also doing me a massive favor and helping me get my books for yoga training which would have costed upwards of 80 bucks to get shipped, for only 6 bucks each here in PP!

That being said, I’m doing a pretty good job of keeping fit, probably because we have one home and the laundry lady is AMAZING, so any excuse to get a fresh load washed, dried, and folded for a dollar is a gooder.