Things I Have Learned In Cambodia
“If you smile at me, i will understand because that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language,” Crosby Stills Nash and Young
The Kingdom of Cambodia is located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in South East Asia. It is bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand.
Khmer or Cambodian is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia.
In Cambodia, greeting is formally done by joining both the palms together in front of each other and then bowing. This is called Sompeah and is usually initiated by the younger or lower rank of people.
Electricity in Cambodia is in pressing need in the rural areas. It is supplied in the evening only from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM while the business establishments and hotels rely more on generators. It is not uncommon to receive notes in your hotel about power outtages..
The infamous tyrant leader Pol Pot, who took control of Cambodia in 1975, was considered the most notorious war criminal of modern times.
Over one and a half million people died during the regime of the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot. The exact number is not known . It could be a lot more. One-fifth of Cambodia’s population was killed. They were mostly educated people, priests, and monks. Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot wanted all educated Cambodians dead so that nobody would oppose their rule. You don’t see many old people.
Americans do not learn Asian History in school unless it directly affects us. Cambodia is still a traumatized country from the time of the Khmer Rouge and it is good to read about it. I read First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers written by Loung Ung, a Cambodian author and survivor of the Pol Pot regime – or watch the Killing Fields before you go.
UNESCO has listed Cambodia as the third most landmined country in the world. More than 4 million landmines are still strewn across the country causing a high amount of casualties. It is estimated that it will take a decade before all the land mines are cleared up.
Cambodia has the highest per-capita percentage of amputees in the world. Each month there are between 300 and 700 amputations due to land-mine injuries.
Cambodia has the largest inland lake in South East Asia called the Tonle Sap.
Cambodia has the least Chinese influences among all the other Mainland Southeast Asian nations.
Cows are a part of life in an agrarian economy and you see them all around Cambodia. Often you see children entrusted with the responsibility of walking with them.
Since motorbikes are cheaper than cars in Cambodia is not unusual to see whole families on one bike.
Rice is ubiquitous in Cambodian meals. It is served in many forms that include fried, steamed, noodles or dessert. (rice field)
The relationship between water buffalo and humans in Cambodia is integral to their agricultural way of life. They have no fear of us. I was very close. He was like “just take the photo already”.
The official religion of Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by 95% of the Cambodian population.
Tarantula kebabs are a popular delicacy in Cambodia. Spiders are another delicacy or necessity served in Cambodia,
Prahok is a national ingredient in Cambodia, and is made of fermented fish.
Cambodian food is a complex mix of local dishes and various influences such as Thai, French, and Sino-Vietnamese and is really tasty. (amok and morning glory)
Cambodia’s motto is “Nation, Religion, King.
The Temples of Angor are a great place to take wedding photos.
The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is an outgrowth of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea (PRPK), which through the 1980s served as the single party, providing discipline and leadership for the socialist state. It is not clear to what extent the transition to a multiparty democracy has taken place. There is a lot of corruption in the political system.
Many people in Siem Reap speak English because “the people who know more teach the people who know less.” School is in the morning or the afternoon. Now most of the kids you see working in Siem Reap do it before or after school.
Hammocks are a lifestyle in Viet Nam and even more in Cambodia. Maybe it is the heat but they are everywhere.
Garment export and tourism are two of the main industries that generate revenue for the economy of Cambodia. (I’m hoping garment export doesn’t mean factories with underpaid workers)
Half of Cambodia’s current population is younger than 15 years old.
Traditionally, birthdays are not celebrated in Cambodia. Older people might not even know their birthdays.
In Cambodia, the head is regarded as the highest part of the body and shouldn’t be touched even in the nicest way.
The Cambodian flag is the only national flag that has an image of a building – the Angkor Wat.
Cambodia is home to the emblematic Angkor Wat temple, which is a silent testimony to how resourceful and artistically brilliant its people are.
Thirty Things That I Wanted To Do 2014. Did I Do Them?
“Every hundred feet, the world changes.” Robert Boitano
- Go to Colombia. Yes
- Go To Southeast Asia. Yes
- Go to Seattle. Yes
- Read more books on the 1000 Books You Have To Read Before You Die. Yes
- Go to the theatre with my son. Yes
- Meditate every day. I think this may be like a dieting resolution. I will make it every year. Still not every day.
- Do an Urban Art tour in LA. No definitely in 2015
- Do a spa day with my daughter. Yes
- Watch even less Real Housewives. Yes they are getting boring now that so many of them are going to jail.
- Go to Guatemala. No
- Go To Miami. Yes
- Have more spiritual friends. Now I want to have less spiritual friends.
- Eat less sugar. Hmmmmm not sure but probably not.
- Go to the Bridge On The River Kwai. No
- Try ten new restaurants in LA. Yes Orsa and Winston, Bucato, Sushi Tsujita, Bachi Burger, Cleo, Republique, Wallys, Everleigh, Carousel and Escuela De Taqueria
- Try ten restaurants in other places. Yes Andres Carne De Res – Bogota Colombia, Matiz – Bogota, Colombia, Salou – Cartegena, Colombia, Morning Glory – Hoi An, Viet Nam, Golden Rice – Hue, Viet Nam, Pepper Tree – Phu Quoc, Viet Nam, Washoku Bar – Tokyo, Japan, The Dining Room – Siem Reap, Cambodia, Salumi – Seattle, Washington, Anchovy and Olive – Seattle Washington.
- Have ten meals with Kitchensurfing. Yes
- Go back to Japan. Yes
- Spend more time at 826 LA.Yes
- Practice tai chi. Yes sort of.
- Go to a ryokan.Yes
- Go To Angor Wat, YES ( a bucket list item)
- Drink less coffee maybe No
- React less. Maybe
- Go To Agua Dulce. Not yet
- Get more people to read my blog. Still trying
- Do more yoga. Yes
- Go to Bainbridge Island. Yes
- Go to the Grand Canyon. Not yet.
- Go to a Grouplove concert. Yes
Not too bad. Two thirds yes. I don’t beat myself up over stuff like this. On to the 2015 list. I’ll make it smaller and harder.
25 Things I Want To Do In 2015
1. Do something big that I am afraid of.
2. Drink less coffee.
3. Go to Rio.
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert.
5. Finish my hamburger blog.
6. Get more people to read my blog.
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA.
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places.
9. Go to another place on my bucket list.
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books.
11. Go to Sao Paulo..
12. Meditate every day.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.
14. Go To Brazil.
15. Have more real friends.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA.
18. See ten documentary films.
19. See ten foreign films
20. Eat less gluten.
21. Read more of other people’s blogs.
22. Do more beach walks.
23. Be more grateful every day.
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA.
25. Be a tourist in LA.
Happy New Year and Fly Safe,