The Thrill of a New Destination: Cambodia

 Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Senses were alive.  As the tuk tuk, the motorcycle driven cart sped through the paved streets of Cambodia’s capital I breathed deep.  The air smelled not of coal ash and soot but crisp and tropical.  It smelled like palm leaves and fresh fruit.  My eyes danced from sidewalk to sidewalk.  Carts full of tropical delicacies, papayas, dragon fruits, bananas and coconuts.  Electric scooters and tuk tuk’s weaved through traffic while tall palms swayed in the night breeze.  Colonial inspired buildings dotted the skyline, earthen colored clay roofs and arched facades.  Two years ago Phnom Penh was just the name of a place I knew.  An obscure world capital that I prided myself on memorizing.  Like Ulaanbaatar I could have never dreamed that I would be one day traversing its streets.  Yet here I was.  New sights, new sounds, new smells, a new culture with so many new things to learn.  Elation.  This is why I love to travel.

Koh Rong, Cambodia
I wasn’t dreaming.  I was floating.  On my back staring skywards.  Wispy clouds crawled across a blue sky.  Birds circled and danced across my vision, eventually flying out of sight to perch in the dense jungle of palms that dominated the small island in the Gulf of Thailand.  The water lapped lazily against the shore.  Gently the waves rocked me back and forth.  All around me an ocean of turquoise crystal, the most clear dazzling water I’ve ever seen.  Righting myself I could feel sand as fine as powder beneath my feet.  Looking down, tiny fish darted away from the reach of my toes.  A breeze swayed the giant leaves of the coconut trees.  The thatched roofs of the bungalows rustled and shell wind chimes jingled.  It was hard to imagine a mere day ago I was shivering on the frozen steppes of Central Asia.  I allowed the waves to let me fall backwards into the sea.  The waters of the Indian Ocean soaking away my coal callused fingers and easing my muscles.  Floating on my back once again I felt rejuvenated by the sun, the warmth, the air.  I closed my eyes allowing myself to be soothed.  I wasn’t dreaming.
 
        
“Oh Mama, ain’t it good to be alive?”
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