Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cambodian Memories VI: the folks

Sokhum, my tuktuk driver for 5 days in yellow; Votah my tour guide for 3 days in the hat
I found the people in Cambodia wonderful--up until now the people of Viet Nam had stolen my heart.  I found them open, helpful, gentle and smiling.  My dear tuktuk driver, Sokhum, got me "off the base" several times in an effort to help me out; one with a visa issue (I needed my e-visa enlarged and a sheet of visa pics taken and processed--so off to a crowded hole-in-the-wall place we went one evening :) and another time to get an international sim card for my cell phone.  It was a great way to get into back alleys, etc.

My tour guide, Votah, was a hoot with his Australian English; but I also found him to be extremely knowledgeable about his country's history.  We had some great talks about our faiths and recent Cambodian history, the Khmer Rouge, and its affect on his own family.  He also got me off the beaten path to a local family (not his) who were in the process of making palm sugar.  Fascinating.  Sokhum squatted right down and started stirring just like he did when he was a child.  His brother fell from the top of a palm tree 20 years ago and became disabled so Sokhum would never climb the palm trees.  But he was an expert stirrer.  The candy is delicious!  I tasted the palm fruit, too, and slurped the juice.  The dad person cut it open and offered it--bottoms up!

These two guys both had small children at home and big dreams.  It was a privilege to get to know them

The children speak for themselves, eh?  The threesome were so persistent and irresistible that I bought a handful of bracelets from each of them.  And gave them extra for the picture. 

In the end, I just cannot help but smile when I think of this trip. 

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