Tag Archives: koh kong

Lotus Seeds

2 Feb

Lotus Flowerheads for Sale by the Roadside, Cambodia

Lotus Flowerheads for Sale by the Roadside, Cambodia

When someone you have never met in a country you have never visited gives your child and you a present and wants nothing in return but friendship, that’s special.

When that someone is a market stallholder in a border town poor enough to be fanning the flies off their few remaining pieces of pig bits with a plastic bag on a bamboo stick, that’s really special.

That the present was fresh lotus seeds, straight from the flowerhead, put this into stellar territory for me. 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

Welcome to Cambodia!

29 Jan

There is something particularly unwelcoming about the phrase, “You give money now.”

Particularly when spoken in a Khmer accent. The language isn’t tonal, so you lose all the mellifluous softening you’d get in Thai, there’s a different set of vowels and consonants, a lot of plosives, and, what with the khaki and the nurses waving thermometers at you to check for swine flu, it all gets a bit Bridge Over the River Kwai. Continue reading