Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Should Have Been an Ice Cream Truck Driver

Our discovery of Cambodia started in Siem Reap, a small town whose raison d'etre seems to be serving the masses who come here to see the infamous Angkor Wat. There's a reason this has become a mandatory stop on the 'ancient ruin' circuit; the abundance of fine stone carving and gigantic stone architecture is mind boggling. Impressive as it is, the excitement doesn't stop with Angkor Wat. There is a seemingly endless list of Angkor era temples and ruins (many of which have recently been cleared of land mines) available for your viewing pleasure (sans the crowd).

For many people, this is the only Cambodia they will experience. That's a shame. Only once we hit the road on our bikes did we really get to see the country. Getting away from the sewage filled river that runs through Siem Reap, away from the dime-a-dozen Dr. Fish foot massage and other tourist gimmicks. Into the countryside, where people manage their rice paddies, drive ox-drawn carriages, and serve freshly processed sugar cane juice from a stand in their front yard.

The best part is that people are really, really excited to see you. Of course, it helps that the underlying assumption seems to be that, since we are white, we must be working for an NGO and helping their community in some way, like providing freshwater wells to households.

Naked and half-naked children alike drop what they are doing and come running toward the road yelling an enthusiastic 'Heeellloooo!'. Occasionally, this is followed by some more complex english phrases; 'What is My Name? or How are You Today?'. Adorable. I could really get used to this. Maybe I should have been an ice cream truck driver. Either that, or a Spice Girl.
Sent via BlackBerry from SingTel!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that riding a bike through rural Cambodia is exactly what the life of a Spice Girl would entail...

January 7, 2010 at 3:57:00 PM MST  

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