What the tuk?: to Cambodia we go

I vowed to start day two with the thing I adore the most in my life – a steaming hot cup of black coffee. The Little India neighborhood in which I was staying in Singapore didn’t have much in the way of Western breakfast, so although Duncan and I canvassed the immediate area we were stuck with our only viable option: Wendy’s. I paired this winning beverage with some sort of a potato curry roll, booked my flight to Cambodia, and by 11am was on my way to the airport.
I landed in Phnom Penh around 3 in the afternoon. The directions that the hostel provided only said “jump in a tuk tuk” so despite my original reservations about the local transport I did exactly what they suggested and found myself in a covered cart hooked to the rear of a motor scooter. The ride from the airport took around 25 minutes and I probably cried for most of it – not because I was sad or scared, but because it was one of those moments, the kind that completely overwhelms every brain neuron to the point of “Holy shit, I feel so alive.”
Traffic in Phnom Penh seems to have no rhyme or reason to it. Stop signs don’t exist and traffic lights are rare. People drive the wrong way down the street. Somehow it works though, as all the drivers seamlessly merge into lanes and appear to communicate through an indecipherable morse code of honking. It feels much like an amusement park ride with all the jerking and yanking – except its not the Cyclone, and its not Coney Island. Like a true pro, my driver delivered me in one piece, but after the previous night of jet lag-interrupted sleep, I only lasted a few hours before dying on my own, falling asleep for the night at a raucous 6:30pm.

Southeast Asia, a day late and many dollars short

After two weeks of “Am I going? Am I not going?”, I finally went, and here I am, one day deep into my Asian adventure. The 30 hours of transitory purgatory known as flying halfway around the world was surprisingly tolerable, and it only took me one airline connection to meet another New Yorker headed for a jaunt in these parts. Sam was my armrest bud from Dulles to Narita, and after enjoying a Sapporo during our Tokyo layover his friend was somehow kind enough to get the airline to put me in one of those extra-legroom seats for the final 7 hour stretch to Singapore.

I arrived at my hostel around 1 o’clock Tuesday morning and was quickly greeted by a fine gentleman named Duncan, a Scotsman living in Qatar, who was living up to his Scottish reputation and drunkenly offering me a drink. We made plans to meet at 9 for coffee, and so on my first day in Singapore and for him his last, we trekked a ways out to the last stop on the MRT and took a tour of the Tiger beer brewery. I learned next to nothing about brewing, but they did have a 45 minute open bar at the end, so there’s always that.

On the way back we stopped in Chinatown for grub and to wander some of the temples (there is a picture of me looking sad in the sarong they forced me to wear on my camera somewhere) and I insisted that we walk the entire way back via tourist map instead of hopping back on the MRT. That was truly the move though, as I quickly fell in love with this city and reconnected with my love for traveling, embracing every sweaty drop that beaded on my forehead and arriving back at the hostel with just enough energy to kick off my flip flops and collapse back into bed.