Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cambodia



Well the Cambodia run went fine. Despite living in Thailand for four years, this was my first Cambodian visa run. The coach company was fantastic - really comfy coaches, helpful staff, etc. The motley crew of travellers was what I expected. Anyone who read my old blog knows about the various categories of expats out here and most of them were represented on the coach.

I tagged along with a New Yorker, a guy from Birmingham and a Norwegian guy. The latter was one of the type who has been in Thailand so long, he believes his own delusions. After telling everybody on the bus that his marriage was "not a bullshit marriage!" (Hey, who said it was , mate?) he went on to correct everything I said about Thailand to the newcomers. I won't go into details but I think once he got into the nonsense of telling the guy from New York that 9/11 was a conspiracy masterminded by George Bush, people had stopped listening. I thought the New Yorker did well not to punch the guy.

For my part I got to read some books. I always have a spate of buying books and promising myself to read them soon but after buying Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the PS2, the temptation of saving the world with a pool of 30 odd heroes proved too strong.

The Cambodian Thai border at Poipet attracts a lot of journalism and photography. It is both an intriguing refection of culture and history and yet at the same time a relatively barren and unimpressive dump. Children less than ten years old carrying babies approach foreigners asking for cash. I find this hard. Giving them money is not the answer and it rewards their parents for laziness and manipulation, but at the same time I hate foreigners who take a pedantic approach or slate people who did hand over cash. These are, after all, genuinely poor kids holding genuine babies who are possibly set for the same path in life. It's tragic. Aging men in sunhats pull carts laden with fruit , old clothes or sometimes just garbage to be sold. Immigration and police officers - most of them paid peanuts - adorned with badges and bands lethargically scourge through travel documents. On the Cambodian side, poverty reigns supreme. Reminders of the country's troubled past stands everywhere in statues, posters,and run down buildings. How tragic that someone in Cambodia is obviously pulling string to allow the last of the Khymer Rouge to die of old age rather than face trial.

Markets on the side of the road spot cigarettes, cheap electronic goods and food. Goods are cheap, yet you have to wonder why anyone bothers buying duty free when most goods are smuggled anyway.

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New blogs on the block

It was a definite mistake deleting the old blog. I had some good content on there and my readership has dropped dramatically (promote me if you can!). I made such a rash decision I didn't even make a back up. The only surviving blog is one on Thai-blogs with an interesting follow on debate.

My big (mhaha!) news is that I'm launching my political blog today. http://freespeechlives.blogspot.com/

Right now it's just a beta version. I'll be looking to make big improvements in the layout. Any ideas welcome. I'll be linking to this blog but I won't be linking in the other direction, since I want to keep out of trouble with some of my political views bound to upset someone over here.

I hope it won't offend anyone but it might. You have been warned.......

1 comment:

TryThai! said...

Saw that you deleted your blog - did you look at google's cache of it? Sometimes it's in there for a while...