Cambodian People, Phnom Penh
I met a former government solider who had been injured whilst de-mining UXO's, now as a rule I never give money to beggers or children if I can help it, but I did give this guy about $5 because he has to support himself, probably a family. I spoke to him in my best french (he thought I was from Beligum!), and I was moved by his fight against the injuries he sustained, and that as a person he is, the strengh and courage is beyond my own...
Fondest memory: The people that make the city what it is..
Favorite thing: The motodup driver I used regularly was a great source of useful information about Cambodia. I took one long trip up the Mekong to visit an island and while we were waiting for a ferry we had a really interesting talk about what happened to his family under Pol Pot - his father and 3 brothers were killed leaving him with his mother and sister. He doesn't know how he survived because his father was a policeman. We also talked about how he was working to educate himself so he could go to university and get on. However one to note is that the person you are talking to is old enough to have actually suffered as they say. Remember that the Pol Pot regime fell in in 1979 so if he's only 20 and he says his father was killed by Pol Pot - there's a problem with the arithmetic somewhere
Favorite thing: The people were happy and very friendly despite all the terrible times they have gone through in the past. Everything was laid back, nothing rushed. In the evenings, because of poor electricity, you could drive past homes and shops with people sitting outside or with candles dimly lighting their surrounds.
Favorite thing: In the evening people gather at the banks of the Mekong River. It is very interesting and much fun to watch the people selling and buying, taking a walk and enjoying the mild air and the golden sun of the evening.
Favorite thing: Cambodian people and culture are great. There is a big push for people to learn English, and for Cambodians knowing English is the difference between a crappy job and a good one. So they will love speaking English to you and chatting. A lot of Cambodian adults spend their days at work and nights in school being taught English, for which they pay a lot of their money for. They are very nice people and tons of fun to observe and learn about because of the difference in culture. Don't be alarmed when your waiter stands by your table the whole time with a big grin, he's just excited about getting to speak English to westerners! I enjoyed the Cambodian people and allow yourself to as well.
Everywhere u go, there are people asking for tourist money... disabled, kids, mothers, airport, angkor wat (USD 20 a day)..
you will get to see people giving you flowers or joystick as you pass by a buddah statue, so that you could offer prayers infront of the Buddah. But there after, they would expect you to place some donations for them...
This is not the true teaching of buddism.. you could see such acts around Angkor temples, history museums, silver pagoda and even at the royal palace.. is the king even begging for money???
Favorite thing: Cambodians do a lot of their living outdoors. Here are a couple of women who arrived on the esplanade and outside my hotel room each morning and began cooking breakfast. After a while of cooking and selling they moved on to another spot by the river.
Endurance is something the people of Cambodia knows only too well. Is it the environment, the government, life, or tourists like us that made them frown? or is it poverty, hopelessness or it's just the scorching sun? Or all of the above?
Sometimes, I wonder ... & when I do that, those thoughts can be pretty scary :-(.
Favorite thing: The vendors try to squeeze into the car with their merchandises when your car stop along the country road.
Favorite thing: These boys are trash pickers. They're a common sight in Phnom Penh as well. They subsist on the small amount of money they make from collecting plastic bottles, cans and other refuses.
Favorite thing: The kids lined up quietly for me to take a shot. You know what they do this for me, see their hands are holding something, these are my candies. HeHeHe