Here is a photo which captures my initial impression of Cambodia in its current state: You have the independence monument on the left there, undergoing cleaning and restoration- probably the single easiest landmark to find at the center of two important main thoroughfares. Cambodia is rising again as a national entity, asserting its sense of pride. Then you have the Cambodian flag- the only flag in the world depicting a thousand-year-old crumbling ruin, demonstrating the ancient nature of its people's civilization. Followed by a gigantic and lovely temple, the soul of the culture here- perhaps the reason why even as American, coming from a country which illegally bombed Cambodian villages, made false promises to support a leadership and democratic ideals only to abandon them to genocide, I am warmly welcomed and treated with kindness and aid at every corner. Followed by a massive construction project the likes of which are everywhere, thousands of laborers mixing and lifting concrete by the ton skyward. And in the foreground bicycles, mopeds, trucks, and cars. The only thing missing is a massive black Lexus, which rumble everywhere, taking up the sidewalks, the new moneyed upper class. Finally, there is no NGO aid vehicle- second only to the Lexus in their numbers and sense of priority.
That's what I'm talking about!
Check out these awesome dudes tearing apart a Honda.
There is much to report, and after months of
talking about it, months of anxiety and
anticipation, it feels wonderful to just BE
This will be a very different experience from Thailand - there are many foreign tourists, many expats retired or newly carving out business opportunities ( I had an exciting conversation with a young computer geek this morning who is part of the first e-commerce business in Cambodia). Temporarily I am living on a busy street in a hip part of town. I have AC and cable tv; maid and laundry service is included in my 450$ rent.
Certainly Cambodians are essentially different than their Thai neighbors- especially the frenetic and sophisticated Bangkokians. I have been watching and rooting for the American Olympians on the youtube IOC channel, but in a scant 48 hours, Phnom Penh has settled comfortably into my heart. How could it not?
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