If you're a New Yorker and you've tried to walk through Times Sq on your way to something important then you know how I felt today. Today I took a bus from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap. We are staying in a super nice hotel , aka has AC, and we walked around town. There is a mall. Something I thought did not exist in Cambodia. There are supermarkets. There are tourists and lots of them. There are giant beautiful buildings for the rich foriegners. It's ironic that when I first came to Cambodia I was shocked at all the things that were different from America. Now I'm surprised when things are shockingly similar. Part of me is glad. For maybe an hour's commute I can go to what is pretty much a big city and blend in with the tourists, but a large part of me feels really uncomfortable with it. There's just this unease with seeing the tourism industry at work and then going back and living with a family in a Cambodian village in a completely different world. It just seems strange that millions of people come to Cambodia and they see Angkor Wat and they see Siem Reap and they think they've seen Cambodia, but really all they've seen is a facade. It's as real as the lights on Broadway.
Tomorrow I''m meeting my new host family and living in my new home for 3 days...hoping for the best!