Go forth from slavery, from oppression, from the narrow places of your head, your heart, or your circumstances. Celebrate the season of freedom, rebirth, and sweetness.
More to come–for example Report 26 on Diving from Mabul Island (MY) and a night cruise on the Kinabatangan River (MY.) This are above here in the BLOG. For Cambodia (Posts 1–17,) Vietnam (Posts 18–23) and Malaysian Borneo (24.) Post 25 is my crazy trip back via Singapore and Seoul. And there are some pictures–open this post for links.
And I hope, wish, want good things for Cambodia, for the naked children playing in my street, for the animated daughter at my laundry, heading off to kindergarten. Children are everywhere; the population is so young. It’s hard not to think about their future.
Has the curlycue printing of Khmer taken on any meaning for me? I’m told and believe that I lost the ability to make African clicking sounds at 5—barely before Miriam Makeba soared across my Sunday evenings. I wonder when I lost the patience to try and sort out a new alphabet?
Suddenly it seemed silly to fly from hither to yon and over again, all to the tune of lost days, almost $700 and failure to explore this neighboring country, when the access is so easy and the reviews are so strong.
I shot the guard one of those Urgent American looks—we really can’t help ourselves—and he offered that I could go up if I paid him. This not being a time for principal, I of course responded “how much.” For a $5 note I got the high eastern view and more importantly, solitude for sunrise at Angkor Wat.
This was notable for being a large mixed age and gender Khmer crowd with just a very few foreigners and a very unselfconscious mingle. I was surprised to be dragged back out onto the dance area by mature women who probably have no English but enjoyed the sharing. Everyone laughed, danced, stole each other’s partners (always ambiguous in circle dancing) and smeared powder. No language necessary. We wanted to leave? “No, one more, one more.” These are the moments that vindicate solo traveling and are worth the risks of a little loneliness.
There were lots of plain shrimp, shrimp in glass noodles, shrimp on skewers, shrimp in other kinds of noodles, and shrimp in some sort of a little—well I don’t know what, but it was rather ugly and totally delicious. Lots of pork everything, fish everything, some chicken everything…and a large array of generally confusing-to-the-Western-palate desserts.
I don’t believe in checking the weather (I’m not flying a plane, after all.) I should mention, before I lose you, that the heat doesn’t actually prevent me from doing things. But the song Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Midday Sun runs prominently through my planning brain, thank you Mr. Coward.
My eye can’t let go of the prodigious line of (probably) smoked whole pigs, hanging from their hooves. Big pigs, little pigs, ducks too. I quickly untangle the earbuds and snap away with my I-pod. Could I ever go to this market without taking a picture of something?