To summarize my experience in Laos, with one last good bye, the guards through the southern border to Cambodia added a fee to stamp the departure card which was required to get into Cambodia. Of course this was corruption and they were pocketing the money, but I knew by then not to put up a fight, especially when they control how you get out of the country. I apathetically paid it and then waited 2 hours at the border until they felt they gathered enough people on the bus to head out. There was a random transfer into a minivan from the bus, and a scam went down. The driver told these two women there was extra space, when there was not. So we had to fit 15 people in a minivan. It was horrid and wrong. I volunteered to take the gap between two seats. So I didn’t have a seat. And the chairs were off level from each other so it was painful after 6 hours. We stopped for lunch in a small rural village and I got to meet Cambodian people for the first time. They were incredibly warm and friendly and it made me so happy.
I couldn’t imagine what the Cambodian people have been through, especially when I meet elders. Through it though, they have pulled through with an open heart and love for their children that spills out into the streets and through the country. When we finally arrived in Siem Reap, I explored a bit that night. The city is very westernized and accessible for tourists. I went into a market and saw tampons and razors and flipped out. I felt Laos almost had no goods to buy or medicine around. I was able to stock up on some things and enjoy a safe and friendly city with plenty of diversity in food and shops. The night market is definitely catered to the tourist crowd. It was a bit of a shit show, which can be fun if you’re in the mood.