Memories of Cambodia, Southeast Asia Stories

monk2It is a bit of cliché to say that memories are powerful. Everyone says it, everyone writes, or blogs about it, what I did here, how I spent this period of time. Why it was so good, or why it sucked. I have mixed feelings about Cambodia. I lived there for about 3 1/2 years, and I swear up and down I will never go back. I guess I like to remember a place like it is (or was), and would hate to be one of those funny old guys who say–yeah, I remember it when, yes it was better, and now it’s changed for the worse. I still have my Cambodian spies; friends who lived there, some stayed on, but most went home and occasionally check in on the place, like a rental home you visit occasionally…

Have the kids damaged it yet? Those damn backpackers, or the riverside, how it used to be a great place to hang out, and now it’s just trendy cafes, one after another selling cakes that cost a small fortune.

What about the rest of the place? The whole country I mean, not just the Penh, where those new to the city complain about it feeling unsafe, a bit dodgy and dirty, with little to do but see the Killing Fields and then sit in some bar or club and get drunk…

I took some great trips, and that is the reason for the photograph. In Cambodia one of my friends forced me to learn how to ride a big bike—OK a 250cc Honda—but a bigger bike than the Honda Dream I previously owned. That’s where I picked up the love of ‘riding,’ so I thank him. It really gave me the freedom to see other things. Things you can’t see from a bus window, or a guesthouse tour, or even hiring a bike with a driver like I did a few times in Battambang…

I was in Palin in January of 2008—toward the last great times of Cambodia. My own great times; I don’t really care about the great times of others. Everything ends. The trip was a killer. At one point it took almost 8 hours to cross 20 miles of trail. I wasn’t prepared and I cursed my friend and myself—thinking I’m going to end up just sitting here in this ‘jungle’ or ‘forest.’ Or whatever the fuck you want to call it…

In Palin I got to eat, and to sleep in a bed, knocking tiny black scorpions out of my shoes in the morning. I did get a chance to take a few photographs.

 

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