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WORDS FROM FRIENDS

LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

Evening service, Wat Opot Temple, photo by Cheyenne Jansdatter

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain


CAMBODIA JOURNAL: DAY 5



At last we were on the way to our true destination–Wat Opot, the Place Where People Change (more about this later). Wat, as I said earlier, refers to a temple and its grounds. Opot seems an awfully short word to mean March of the Red Ants. Beyond memory, there must have been a thriving community of ants here, but I would never see even one. The street that becomes the road away from Phnom Penh to the south was full of daily urban life: a plethora of motorcycle repair shops where whole families gathered around the object of repair; nearly as great a plethora of mobile phone stores; outdoor barber shops, also attended by whole families; shops with flip-flops and sun hats of every imaginable color and print; a shop with three of the previously described Asian toilets hung on display to show just how simple the plumbing is, with a few blue PVC pipes on a rack behind said porcelain, identifying the place as a plumbing supply shop; outdoor cafes; wedding venues adorned with gold and red silk and playing extremely loud music to share the joy with blocks and blocks of shoppers and workers; and, of course, purveyors of Pepsi brand gasoline.

On our left lay the city’s open sewers, the most beautiful sewers Read More 
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LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

Bayon Temple figure, photo by Cheyenne Jansdatter

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain


CAMBODIA JOURNAL: DAY 4 CONTINUED



Back at the tuk-tuk, Mr. Thi was disappointed to learn that we had already eaten breakfast. I found out later that he got a commission from the eating establishments he took us to, and we learned that he made very good selections. After Angkor Wat and breakfast, we chugged along to the Bayon Temple, which turned out to be my favorite. From a distance it looks like a haphazard pile of huge, black, lichen-covered blocks, almost a giant hill rising from the forest floor. Coming closer, we saw enormous faces, each taller than a human being, made up of several large blocks. The faces showed generous lips smiling enigmatically, broad cheeks, and blank eyes. There are 177 of them, and they form Read More 
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LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain


CAMBODIA JOURNAL: DAY 4



Adventure vibrated on the air in the 5 o’clock dark. We had left the US on Tuesday, and it was already Friday. We passed other tuk-tuks filled with Westerners, pretty sure that we were all headed for the same place–Angkor Wat. The tuk-tuks moved en masse down wide avenues, legacy of the French colonists and replete with buildings large and ornate enough to serve as embassies. Suddenly the mansions were behind us, and we bumped along on a rural, dirt road. We reached a row of lit kiosks where we had to step out of the tuk-tuk, pay $40 each (by the way, it was all American greenbacks in Cambodia, except for small change). Officials photographed us for our 3-day passes, no niceties, quick shots. I looked down at my picture to see the likeness of a grinning toad. Regardless of the uglies, I knew Read More 
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LESSONS FROM THE JOURNEY

Photo by Cheyenne Jansdatter

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…. Broad, wholesome, charitable views …cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~ Mark Twain

CAMBODIA JOURNAL: DAY 3



The Mekong Express was a comfortable coach used by many Cambodians who were not sightseers. Despite the fact that mostly local travelers used it, one of its features was a young Khmer woman who acted as our tour guide and hostess. Before we’d even left Phnom Penh, she was telling us, Read More 
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