Young girl collecting water hyacinths
Living for the weekend – I am a prime example.
There is nothing like 1pm on Saturday – yes, shock and horror, the torture of work (even here in laid back and almost horizontal Cambodia) extends beyond Friday 5pm. For the less fortunate at least. Sadly tourism shares certain attributes with surgery and emergency medical units, without the bonus of decent pay. On the other hand we have not had any fatalities – yet…
Locking the door and leaving makes me happy. I say bye bye to our security guard who bleaches his face, sports a funky pink wooly hat (which is admirable in the 40+ heat) and quite possibly wears make up. Free for day and a half. Lucky me.
The chariot aka moto #1 awaits the queen and off we go, cruising the countryside.
Admittedly, following my (non)sense of direction we often find other places rather than the ones we were initially looking for and for some strange reason get sore ears. Bliss. I think it’s the wind. But mostly we ride without looking for a destination.
Sweeping in a pagoda
It’s amazing how close to “civilization” you can be and yet the expression on dark brown faces of locals with years of hardship carved into them tells us that “white man” never ventured here.
I observed different stages of “out-of-town-ness”.
Sealed roads generally mean that locals are in some sort of connection with town. They go to the markets, kids go to school and occasionally a “barrang” passes by on a bicycle, moto or even a tuk tuk, venturing into the unknown, templed out. The closer to town we are the more likely we are to stumble upon an extended hand, cheeky smile and the ever present “muy dollaaaa”. We are not that special here and more often than not they see a walking wallet in us. More often than not we are – in comparison.
Further from sealed roads and into the countryside we still get genuine smiles, waves and enthusiastic shouts of “hello” but no more “one dollar”. Refreshing. And not in a patronizing way. Fields of over- saturated breathtakingly beautiful shoots of young rice, water buffalos, cows, dogs, grubby kids, daily chores. I love rural Cambodia. Endless photo opportunities on the same same (but oh so different) variety, enhanced with the changing seasons.
In the fields. With kitten, oxen and flies.
And then, deep in the heart of the countryside, where your ass is complaining about the bumpy ride, roads once smooth turn into sandy paths and then disappear altogether, the international “hello” you thought you knew and mastered so well no longer works. We are met with curious, shy smiles. Hesitant suggestions of waving. Confused looks on children’s faces. We are really standing out here – like a sore thumb and that is the fun of it. Crazy “barrang” shouting “soosedai, soksobai” raises an eyebrow or two. We go one step further and invert the Cambodia greeting – “sai-so-bok!”. This is a winner and works every time, guaranteed. The ice has been broken. We are friends. We never let on that this is also just about as far as our Khmer skills extend. That and stating “kdau na” which sums up how very hot it is today indeed. Weather talk is not only for the Brits you know. We say our good byes to the giggling group and ride off.
We made their day and they made ours.
Our beer and pizza later on are well deserved. We have to go easy on rice and not overdo it.
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.