Same Same – And Yet, So Different

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When you shop at the markets and decide to make a purchase, the vendor will often whip out a packaged version of the product, untouched and ready to go. “Same same,” they assure you, pointing from the sample you were holding to the proferred package. The wise buyer should verify this before handing over any…

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The Golden Land

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About a thousand years ago, Cambodia was rich and powerful. During the Khmer dynasty, the kings built fantastic complexes of temples and cities, including the crowning glory, Angkor Wat. We were told by our guide that the old name for the country literally meant Land of Gold, so named because the sands and rivers contained…

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Anything That Moves

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For our bus ride to Siem Reap, we were entertained by the many ways that Cambodians get themselves and their stuff from place to place. The highway was a decent road with light traffic, by Indochina standards. Besides the usual motorbikes, bicycles, tuk-tuks, cars belonging to government employees, small trucks, and tourist vans, we encountered…

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Land Of Orphans

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Karel and I elected not to visit the infamous killing fields or prisons of Cambodia, but the aftermath of this horrible period was all around us. Many of the adults we saw working in the shops, hotels, and restaurants were orphans. They grew up, not only without parents, but without teachers. They were deprived of…

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Charlie Chaplin And The Ninjas

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It was a long ride from Saigon to Phnom Penh, but the public bus was reasonably comfortable and we were entertained by a couple of Charlie Chaplin movies (The Kid and The Great Dictator), followed by the outrageously violent Ninja Assassin (think Kill Bill with a bad plot, overdubbed by a single, female voice in…

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