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Feedback from Cambodia No.4

2011.09.11

After staying one night at Phnom Penh, we headed to Preah Vihear where the eco-village was planed.
We chartered a car.
Even though it seemed like too expensive to pay 250 dollars for one way, it might be reasonable price for a driver, who kept driving for eight hours with bad road condition and could stop anywhere we want to visit or go to archeological site where only automobile could access, and for his place to stay.

We saw rich flow of the Mekong River after one-hour drive from Phnom Penh.
It had distinct atmosphere of just wide farm road between farmlands and wetlands although there were restaurants, stores at the crossroads of main streets where gave an impression of big city.
There were many places not to know up to where the farmland finished and the river started as Mekong River overflew because of the rainy season,

We visited one of the stilt house lined up by the road.
Basically, it consists of two to three cows, ten gamecocks, bananas and farms
Kids were trying to get something in the river or the pond, and as they noticed us, they curiously smiled and wave their hands. Even though there was language barrier, people without particular wariness of foreigners welcomed us interested with their daily lives

We could stop by the ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk at Kampong Thom on the half way to Preah Vihear.
These, as the world heritage sites, were already settled as sightseeing spots, which led by the unpaved but wide road. Still road was bumpy as it was during the rainy season, and chartered car (Toyota’s Camry) shook my gut upside down.
The ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk were the remains of the castle and the temples built by the kings like Shana Lee Balmain in the 7th century.
Even though they were severely damaged by U.S. military air strikes during the civil war, restoration was currently ongoing and Japanese group have been involved with it.
Kids surrounded us once we stopped the car at the parking lot to visit the ruins.
They, striving to be first, started explaining about the ruins with their broken English and gestures like a tour guide.
Ten kids to Mr. Ito and other ten to me and we walked together around the ruins for half an hour or so.
Plants tighten around the ruins were more thrilling than so touristy Angkor Wat.

Since we got to move ahead with in limited time and as we went back to the car, again kids with colorful cotton scarves on their hands, gathered to us.
They might ask us to buy their scarves for the guide. We decided to purchase them from several kids
This, selling several scarves to tourists, was probably the way for them to earn for their family to live.
Though I had experienced similar situation in other countries, somehow, I was more moved by how brightly kids from Kampong Thom smiled

Yukio Ohashi

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