Motorbike family

Wat Bo temple, Wat Bo village

Sandy gives an English book as a gift

Me and my new Aussie friend, Sandy on Meth's tuk-tuk

Houses on stilts, Tonle Sap lake

Fellow traveler, Leena from Austria
and my Cambodian friend, Sa Meth

I've been having an incredible time in Cambodia and am glad to be away from the pleasant, but Disney-worldesque carnival that is Bangkok.

I can't sum up Cambodia without sounding cliche, so I'll stick to description that borders on cliche anyway: Cambodia has had a terribly dark century but is now experiencing some profits from the tourism around the breaktaking Khmer wats and exotic culture of this place. It's still entirely a nation of farmers with decaying French colonial architecture in the cities and wooden houses on stilts or shacks made from abandoned debris in the countryside. The air is musky with fermented fish sauce and hard water buffalo cheese stored in plastic tubs and wooden barrels in the villages that dot this landscape. Naked children play in streams, some filled with cellophane wrappers, wadded paper, foul things and soda cans. Men wear sarong while hauling firewood and women mash papaya and slice vegetables for dinner on open air porches. Older women have krama scarves tied around their sweaty foreheads while they lug baskets filled with fried crabs with chili wrapped in banana leaves. At the end of the day, workers dredging wells sing Cambodian covers of Thai and Chinese pop songs in outdoor, impromptu karaoke sessions. Gaggles of children wearing uniforms and sandals rush into non-for-profit schools in the morning to study English and math while sitting on wooden benches. It's crushingly poor, but so beautiful.

I'm privileged to be here.


Anonymous said...


I love the photo of you and Sandy on the tuk-tuk. You look so happy!

Love, Dad

Silvia Elena said...

Ross, I really am so incredibly glad you left Thailand. Cambodia.... sigh.
I love you and hope to see you soon.
Let's go to cambodia every summer and have free English lessons for Cambodian kids.

Silvia Elena said...

also, can you tell mr. meth i say hello! and the old man!