“Mommy, I miss Cambodia.” ~Orion
Orion’s sentiment sums up how I think our whole family felt about our Christmas trip to Cambodia–it was one of the best we have ever taken. The country has just enough tourism infrastructure to make the journey pleasant and relatively smooth, yet it is authentic and non-touristy. Adding to our ease of travel is that most everyone speaks a bit of English and the U.S. dollar is accepted as currency. The kids, being a bit older, were for the most part well behaved and we had a looser itinerary to adhere to. As long as they had ancient temples in the jungle to climb through, they were happy. Glad Mom reminded me to bring band aids!
The Khmer people are the friendliest we’ve met, the food delicious, culture unique, and landscape gorgeous. December is high tourism season as it is dry season, no humidity and the temperature is lower (a brisk 90 degrees some days!). Layne proved his manliness daily by “shooshing” geckos out of our hotel rooms–so brave! Our wardrobes are more and more resembling a J. Peterman catalog, a la Seinfeld, with sarongs, carved wood drums and elephant print pant acquisitions. I have so much to write about!
FRIENDLY PEOPLE: Cambodian smiles are well known, and for good reason; they are bright, lovely and sincerely warm. My favorite example of their kindness comes from a little girl selling snack and breakfast items on our morning boat from Siem Reap to Battambang. I gave her three lollipops to enjoy which she happily tucked into, then unflinchingly offered one to Orion. Truly a “widow’s mite” level of generosity as I am sure she does not come across sweets regularly.
CHILDREN WORKERS: As a reminder to be thankful for the gift of access to education were the many, many children workers in Cambodia. They are everywhere, hawking shirts, drinks, bracelets, postcards, not to mention performing manual labor. It is easy for me to think that these children should be in school instead, but when your family is poor and living hand to mouth, a day’s take puts rice in your dinner bowl.
Starting a day’s work on the docks of Siem Reap
Doing the work of men
These boys are barely older than my own son
Little boys are little boys, no matter where in the world
TUK TUKS: CAR FOR SALE. 2009 Nissan Altima Hybrid. Runs great, looks great, baby girl born in front seat. Will accept trade-in for late model tuk tuk as payment. How much more fun can a vacation get when your primary mode of transportation are these fast, open-air rides?
Fried bananas on the go
Stuck in a tuk tuk traffic jam
Our first ride, C would not stop smiling!
I think it is time to shampoo his hair
Roomy enough for a family of four
MONK ON A MOTORCYCLE: This is a game we played when we needed to refocus the kids and make sure they were taking in the scene. A very common occurrence, it was never long before one would zoom by. The winner’s prize was a kiss from Mommy.
BUGS–tarantulas, crickets…just some of the tasty street snacks we saw. At one point Orion said he would try one but that fizzled out soon after we said it was fine if he wanted to.HAMMOCKS–are everywhere. I love a culture that has as many hammocks as chairs and many eateries are encircled in them to lounge while you wait or eat. Napping seems to be a way of life here, and mothers aggressively swing their babies inside. It gave me a start the first time I saw one practically on the verge of a loop-de-loop but the little ones seem to enjoy it!
Naked cutie swinging his sister
Oh yes, and beer….lots and lots of Angkor Beer.
Don’t fret…excruciating detail and many, many more photographs to come, from as far back as Halloween as I am waaaay far behind in my writing! So pull out your jack-o lanterns and get ready to do some time traveling with the Lowery Family.
Greetings from Angkor Wat!