Less than two days in Cambodia and I already feel at home. The recent past of the Cambodia people is filled with sorrow and blood but driving down the street everybody smiles at you.
There is a “Russian” closed market where it is so compact that you can get lost wondering the narrow people-packed passageways. Then, suddenly, you are in a long open space filled with low tables and cooking food. We visited the genocide museum and the killing fields on our first day. Welcome to Cambodia, does your heart hurt yet? On day two we visited the Silver Pagoda: the highest point in the city. It is a functioning Watt and depicts the four stages of Buddha’s ascension; and the Royal Palace: equipped with incredible buildings and art, over two-hundred monkeys, and a banana greedy elephant.
Staying with me in the Villa is Elaine, the 70-something British widow who spent most of her life in Spain with her husband, kids, and their olive trees; Molly, the Australian pixie who spent the last few months with her father and his Thai wife in Bankok; and John, the strange guy from Texas/Maine.
Cambodia is incredible. I love it and may stay here instead of heading to Thailand. Not that I wont visit this countries neighbors. It reminds me in Senegal in so many ways. The architecture (of the non-palace/watt buildings), the motorcycles, the boutiques up and down the road, the bartering, the heat and humidity, even some of the plants. There is a constant fragrance of flowers in bloom in the air and small Buddhist shrines scattered throughout the streets. And the guy in the boutique on our block serves us energy drinks in plastic sacks with ice and a straw. He keeps the bottles and we get room for ice. It is awesome until somebody points out that it looks like we are drinking a sack of urine. Haha!