Tag Archives: America

Hearts and Minds

29 Oct

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We meet Cam and The Big O on a WWII amphibious landing craft in a coconut grove outside the island’s capital. They are surrounded by a curious semi-circle of locals, a nice complement to our own substantial entourage, who trail back through the tall palms and young bananas for several hundred yards of scrubby grass.

The Big O is a lovely kid. His compact frame decked out in stripy surf shorts, boxfresh T-shirt, mirrored aviators and oodles of sunscreen, he can work a look as well as his English idiom.

An idiom inherited, like his dreams of Miami Beach, from the time the US Navy came to town. A formative experience for The Big O, the highlight of his 23 years on the planet.

Formative, also, it appears, for much of the population of what is, fundamentally, a small, conservative and largely Muslim island. Continue reading

The War on Drugs

1 Feb

Soi comes into Koh Kong every couple of weeks to smoke some green, have a few beers and shoot the breeze at his friend’s sister’s guesthouse. I guess he’s a walking demonstration of the survival of the fittest and the futility of Prohibition.

Soi’s family left Cambodia when the Vietnamese invaded and the old regime fell, and he was born and raised behind the fence of a refugee camp in Thailand: “I didn’t see a tree until I was twelve years old.” Continue reading