it's one thing to say you're going to the other side of the world. it's a very different thing to feel like you actually did.
my journey to phnom pehn took over 36 hours (watch this: dc-->nyc--->frankfurt--->singapore--->phnom pehn) and by the time i arrived i wasn't even certain of the planet i was on anymore. with back mangled, hair mussed and clothes in near-tatters, i reached pochentong international airport, where a driver was waiting to take me to my hotel (my first ever "driver"!). on the ride i got my first helping of phnom pehn and all i could see through the blur of exhaustion were heaps of cars, people, run-down stalls and trash. the heat was oppressive as expected, and my hair grew a full 3 feet from the humidity.
i filed away my first impressions as we pulled up to the hotel (it's hardly fair to judge a city by a half-conscious ride from the airport), and within a few minutes of settling into my blissfully air-conditioned room, i passed clear out. the next morning i awoke to the sound of buddhist chanting echoing down the street and as i oriented myself to time and space, it finally registered: i'm in cambodia!