Tag Archives: Phnom Penh

Wonders of the World

Farewell CambodiaMy big plan was to keep the excitement of traveling in Cambodia alive as long as possible. Since I had a 12 hour layover in Beijing to not take advantage of this seemed foolish and an incredible waste of opportunity.

My intention therefore was to arrive in China, obtain a day visa, leave the airport, grab a taxi, and head to the Great Wall.

Easy!

I knew that this optimistic plan was fraught with issues all of which were out of my control. Even if I could exit in a timely fashion I would then have to communicate to a Mandarin speaking taxi driver my exact destination. The fact that this destination was one of the worlds icons gave me little confidence in my success.

My next issue would be traffic. Not so much getting to the wall, as I would be heading out around 6am so figured traffic would not be so heavy, but heading back. This leg of the adventure I wondered about. Getting stuck in a jam on the way back to the airport with a non-English speaking driver to a plane that would depart Continue reading Wonders of the World

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Our World is not all Chocolates and Roses

FCC Phnom PenhThe Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh stands as a testament to both journalism and history.

So many stories patched together for the consumption of the outside world who knew so little of what was actually happening here.

So many tensions alleviated via humor and booze soaked evenings overlooking the Tonle Sap River.

A meeting point for folks who spent their days working in the complex underbelly of a nation in crisis. A relatively safe harbor and a buffer between two worlds; where covert met intrigue, where making deals with the devil were not so uncommon, where lawlessness reigned supreme.

To some extent that same lawlessness operates unabated today.

You want to shoot a rocket launcher at a cow; apparently $350 will put your finger on the trigger!

The FCC operated in a similar fashion to the Rex Hotel in Saigon. The Rex served as a center for journalists during the Vietnam conflict. The rooftop bar played host to  Continue reading Our World is not all Chocolates and Roses

Into the Abyss

Phnom Penh at NightI arrived back in Phnom Penh last night taking the bus from Kampot. I was sad to leave for a couple of reasons I guess. One was that I just really enjoyed the place and its laid-back style  but the second reason was that leaving meant my journey was fast approaching an end.

I still had Phnom Penh to go but I had already been there so it was not new to me. I did decide to stay in another part of town than my previous visit and this proved to be a good decision.

Talk about black and white!

Where I had stayed on my arrival in Cambodia was more what you would call the residential side of Phnom Penh. People lived there. Commuted to work. There were corner shops, kids played in yards, and crossing the road was not an extreme Continue reading Into the Abyss

Santa Makes a Splash in Cambodia

Santa in Phnom PenhIt always comes as a surprise to me when I travel in countries that have as their minority religion, Christianity.

Don’t get me wrong. I find it sweet and amusing. In fact it goes a long way in representing the basis upon which Hinduism and Buddhism are founded.

Having a visible splash of Christmas in a Buddhist nation where almost none of the locals celebrate the 25th of December underscores their non-judgmental, open arm doctrine of religious understanding and tolerance.

Even though 90 degree weather and Santa costumes are hard to reconcile they do go hand in hand with the chaos and energy of Cambodia.

Santa came to this vibrant country and left a bunch of his outfits to add just a little more color and a splash of goodwill…mainly for expats and traveling foreigners but even so; how nice is that!

For photos of Cambodia click here.

Pol Pot Genocide

flattiresandslowboats.comIn the late 1970’s Cambodia was ruled by a dictator named Pol Pot. It is because of him that Kampuchea, as it was then called,  takes its place in world history as one of several countries that has witnessed a genocidal maniac at the helm.

His reign of terror lasted only three years but in that time he managed to wipe out 25% of the population; an estimated 2 million lives. The mass graves of many of his victims are known as Killing Fields.

I visited one today.

On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, where city turns rural, are the rice fields of Choeung Ek. As you enter you are greeted by a huge pagoda built of white washed concrete and glass. Inside, and behind the glass, lay the skulls and bones Continue reading Pol Pot Genocide