I am now in the Philippines, but my blog is lagging some way behind. It’s still stuck back in Cambodia somewhere. So I hope you’ll forgive me for getting a little un-chronological here, but I’d like to post some photos that I uploaded to Flickr a few days ago, and offer something by way of commentary to expand on the previous mention in my Rough Guide to Cambodia blog.
Tim, aka TC, was my guide while I was in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. He arranged with his photographer friend, Nathan Horton, for us to visit Silk Island, just an hour or so from the jetty in the centre of the city, but a world away in terms of the pace of life. Apparently they only got electricity here within the last 10 years.
Nathan regularly takes groups of aspiring travel photographers to the island, so the people there know him well, and certainly seemed very comfortable with us taking pictures of them – particularly when
shown the resulting images on the back of our digital cameras. Children and adults alike seemed to get a kick out of it.
My favourite image from that day, though, could not be fully captured on digital film. It was the sound of children’s laughter. We came across a group of girls and boys, giggling hysterically over the sight of a boy with a cardboard box on his head, pretending to be a Chinese dragon. Other boys joined in to form the dragon’s tail, while a small makeshift band provided musical accompaniment on a range of improvised percussion instruments. The overall effect was surprisingly good, and easily recognisable as the kind of dragon you would see in any Chinese street parade.
The kids were absolutely loving it, and their sheer joie de vivre was contagious – neighbours gathered to watch and join in the laughter.
And of course my inner environmentalist was pleased to note that the “toy” was completely biodegradable, as well as offering far more entertainment value than toys costing many times as much. No plastic, no toxic paint, no wasteful packaging. Just one increasingly battered cardboard box – and a generous dollop of childish imagination.
Other notes on Cambodia:
Something amusing I forgot to mention in my previous blog, so I mention it here in case you missed it in the
comments: the two main brands of beer in Cambodia are Angkor and Anchor. Try pronouncing them out loud. Yup, they sound exactly the same. So to avoid confusion, Angkor is pronounced Ang-kor and Anchor is pronounced An-chor.
And something else you need to know – exercise caution if ordering a “special pizza”. It may be a little more special than you anticipated, being topped with, ahem, something to make you feel happy. I didn’t try it, but apparently the effects take a while to kick in, as the pizza is slowly digested. Probably best not tried shortly before flying. And no, I don’t think weed counts as one of your five portions of veg for the day….
[Photo credits: Nathan Horton and Roz Savage]