Photos of Cambodia ...


They have been posted ... I took about 400 photos in total and let me tell you, it was hard to choose which ones to post. There were so many amazing things to see in Cambodia ... I am hoping you will be able to see some of the captured moments within the photos I have chosen. I would've loved to get more pics of the people, but I think cameras are foreign objects to most of them and some didn't seem too kindly of having one in their face. Anyway ... please have a look ... take your time and enjoy the realities of this peaceful and simply beautiful country.

Siem Reap

I took a six hour boat trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Upon docking, there were tons of people holding signs saying 1000 Riel to any guest house ... 1000 Riel would be $0.25US ... I had arranged to be picked up, so I was looking for a sign with my name ... about 6 men bombarded me when I got off the boat ... they crowded me while pushing each other trying to get me to go with one of them ... the idea behind this is to get your business for your stay there ... they will take you to a family guest house, they will provide the food, they will have drivers to take you anywhere you want to go ... all for a small fee, of course ... it's amazing how far $1US will take you in that country.

Feeling crowded and a bit queasy due to the horrid smell, I found a guy holding a sign with my name. He decided to pick me up in a tuk-tuk which was a nice idea as I had decided to ride on the roof of the boat and I'd had too much sun ... however, the tuk-tuk wasn't such a great idea afterall as there was this potholed, dirt, fifteen minute road that was to be travelled and may I remind you of the horrid smell.

Along this smelly, potholed road there lived a ton of people ... families living in these little shacks that weren't any bigger than my bathroom ... one hammock for a family of four or so ... one had to wonder what happens when a monsoon goes through those parts ... the shacks would never survive. It was unlike anything I could really comprehend. I wanted to take pictures but I saw all these sad eyes staring back at me and I didn't want to intrude.

I only stayed in Siem Reap for three days ... I spent one full day at the temples ... they are another story in itself. I hired a moto with a driver for the full day ... he was 28 and by the end of our journey he had asked me to stay there and have his Cambodian babies ... I had to laugh but I really think he thought things were simple enough that I'd actually say yes ... his story was another amazing thing ... when I asked if he lived at home, his reply was that in the last war (not so long ago) a missle landed on his home, killing his parents. His life was so unlike my own I couldn't imagine the realities. It was great to spend the day with him ... I feel that I learned a lot about Cambodia as I had asked him a lot of questions about what it was like to grow up in a world such as his own.

My first words upon seeing the huge serene lake that surrounded Angkor Wat were something of ... 'I feel like I'm in a dream' ... I believe I truly lost my breath for a moment or two. Again ... I think this is better saved for another story.

Siem Reap was a great ending to an amazing trip. A peaceful place, indeed. Once I arrived, I felt I hadn't allowed it enough time. What can I say? I got stuck on the beach ... not such a bad place to be! My hope is to be lucky enough to be able to touch down in Cambodia for a second time ... a year in that country would be too easy to burn!

The Start of Cambodia ...

I'll start with the traffic ... I have to say ... Cambodia makes Taiwan look like North America. Very few streets were paved ... if they were paved, they were poorly paved with lots of potholes and no lines. Traffic came from this direction and that ... vehicles of all sorts ... and as I sat with a beer in Phnom Penh one night watching from my second floor balcony, I realized it was kind of like watching a live game of that video game Frogger.

The "Rules" of the Road in Cambodia

- one-way streets aren't in practice one way

- you're meant to drive on the right side of the road, but road conditions may preclude this

- locals, especially ones riding motos, never look before entering a main road or U-turning

- Land Cruisers have the right of way at all times, except when confronted by a Hummer (yes, size matters)

- it's illegal to use your lights during the day, except if you are royalty or a government official, they will fine you US$5

- you don't have to use your lights at night but it's probably a good idea ... if you're an SUV, you must have all your lights on and drive as fast as you can down the centre of the road honking your horn wildly

- chatting to your friends, driving three or four abreast down the main road is normal behaviour

- stopping at red lights appears to be optional, especially at night

- cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, horses, geese and children haven't read the Highway Code

I spent one night in Phnom Penh before heading down to Sihanoukville ... the bus ride was about a five hour trip and if you recall the above rules ... the bus rode most of the way in the centre of the road honking his horn every 10 seconds. Who was I kidding when I thought I'd be able to get some shut eye on the bus??

It became really interesting when the buses and oncoming trucks would have honking wars. I believe what was happening was whichever vehicle honked more times became the winner for each situation ... now, in Taiwan you are not legally allowed to honk your horn for more than one half second at a time ... I wonder if the same rules apply in Cambodia as they would blast 2 or 3 or 5 short, quick honks depending on how badly they wanted to have the right of way. Ah ... good fun.

More photos and stories to be posted soon ... stay tuned!