the waning full moon rose over the mekong river. orange and beautiful in the horizon haze. the streets of phenom phen are busy with motorbikes and tuk-tuks, bicycle rickshaws and walkers. brown-eyed children come begging to buy books from the basket slung around their necks. it's warm, but with a nice breeze to soften the humid air. the litter of the day wanders about the streets and gutters, market stalls are closed, and the masses of vegetation and plastic gloam together in little piles. more westerners about than last year. young and old. few americans it appears.
Mr. Alee took us to the lakeside, where his friend owns a guesthouse and restaurant. the menu was all in english, so i had to describe 'ginger', 'plum sauce' and 'tofu' to Tok. Alee went next door to hangout with a few of his friends. they are all chatting away - in australian accented english. Tok notices also that there are no tall buildings in phenom phen - the tallest maybe 6 stories. and the streets are dark. few people turn on lights in front of buildings, and there are no streetlights anywhere.
I also like it here. Couldn't tell you why either. it just feels good. the people are nice. there is a bit of a "danger!" flavor in the air... but no obvious threat. there is a certain rawness of quality, a feeling of recovery and renewal. other eyes would see dirt, economic hardship, decay, struggle. children working the streets late at night selling conterfieted books and prayer flowers, ragged and grimy stalls and food of unknown origin. to me, it's life. different than other places, but an experience of life non-the-less.
we are bacteria on this planet. eating it up. everywhere.
i am in thailand at the moment. to be added or deleted from my travelogue, send request to this address. view previous posts at: http://thaikarl.blogspot.com/
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