A puzzle that doesn't fit

Battambang Travel Blog

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Daren at his birthday picnic with Bernie.

Cambodia is to me like a puzzle where nothing fits together:

The total poverty in parts of the country side, were houses are nothing more than small bamboo shelters next to Siam Reap which, with it's glitzy hotels and it's chique restaurants, might as well be on the Algarve. Or Ankor wat's ancient cities and temples who's display of wealth and power still impress and the thin and raggedy child that inevitably will beg you for food and money. And finally the constant smiles of the khmer people and the cruel recent history where even children became soldiers. How have a people, that survived the brutalities of the khmer rouge, that have been crushed by genocide and famine and lived through the total break up of all society norm, managed to remain so positive?? 

Faced with this, I am left in awe and with a strong sense of my own ignorance towards what happens behind the scenes here, in peoples minds.

Making sugar cane juice.
We meet a older and much wiser cyclist, with a hard story of his own,  and during our short meeting I realized he saw so much more behind the smiles than we do.  Eventually I wish to get there...  

But for the time being I went with my lack of understanding of the country and it's people to Angkor wat and let the stunning proof of a great civilisation leave it's own impression on me. From there we ventured on to Battambang by boat, celebrated Daren's birthday with a tuc tuc driver and a port wine picnic, cycled along the Tonle sap lake past floating villages and eventually arrived in Phnom pen. Mingeling in with the daily lives of the Cambodians in small unassuming villages, getting up with the farmers and ride the early mornings and trying to order three different coffees each time we stopped has helped settle the confusing picture of Cambodia a little. But still, we are constantly reminded of the war; You mustn't leave the tracks here because of mines, we meet their victims on a daily basis and I'm none the wiser as to how people and societies survive wars like Cambodias and emerge as positive places?

sylviandavid says:
very nicely written.....
Posted on: Jan 25, 2010
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Daren at his birthday picnic with …
Daren at his birthday picnic with…
Making sugar cane juice.
Making sugar cane juice.
Fishing...
Fishing...
Playing back gammon with a small a…
Playing back gammon with a small …
catching an early ride with the lo…
catching an early ride with the l…
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