All I wanted from the city was a chicken sandwich. I had spotted them before, our first time through here—a juicy bit of bird, well-marinated and sizzling off the grill, stuffed into a fresh baguette (thank you French colonists of bygone years), and topped with exotic salsas and herbs. It’s Cambodia’s answer to Vietnam’s… Continue reading Phnom Penh: Capital Punishment
They come in the muggy night and disappear before dawn. Muffled voices down the hall, a brief scuffle, boots on the stained stairs and a swaying electric light—and that is all. That is the last you will see of him. Your neighbor. The skinny guy with glasses and yellow teeth, the one… Continue reading Phnom Penh: S-21 and Killing Fields
They come from all continents, cameras dangling from their sun-screened necks, sunglasses flashing, and hat perched atop their sweated mop heads. Yes, we are hopeless victims of the Angkor maelstrom, a couple more tallies to the thousands for the day, two more pair of flip-flops on the trail, another couple bikes in the parking stall.
Most come here, though, just to see where Angelina Jolie’s breakout hit Tomb Raider was filmed.
Chaos and calm, congestion and quiet, survival-of-the-fittest and radiant bliss—all this is just a microcosm of Siem Reap. If you want to know what this crazy little town is like, you’ve got to be ready for a duststorm of contradictions, a whirlwind of paradox.
It’s hot here in the dry season, and arid as Arizona in a drought. All the jungles I thought I’d find were browned and withered, reduced to scratchy shadows of their former selves, dried husks baking in the sun, snakeskins left to crinkle in the heat. The land waits rains. We, on the other hand,… Continue reading Cambodia: Buses to Siem Reap