I didn't write and post as much as I thought I would from Cambodia. Our days were long. I was savoring my final days with the group and with my family. But I wanted to at least share some photos from our final day's outing: exploring village life in Cambodia. And I also wanted to wish you a fond farewell, at least until my next trip. I also want to thank you for being such a great audience of readers. It's been a pleasure to move through this journey as a writer - always looking for the next story, the next quirky detail, that great overheard bit of dialogue, all those strange juxtapositions of ancient traditions and contemporary modern culture. To share my travel experiences with you. Each day searching for just the right story. I loved exercising my creative muscle in this way. ... [Continue Reading]
I've spent the last 30 years dealing with trauma and thinking about trauma, so while I was in Siem Reap, I felt a visceral need to do more than marvel at the ancient temples this area is so famous for. I wanted to do that yes, and I loved walking around Angkor Tom, Angkor Wat and several smaller temples--snapping pictures of the phenomenal carvings--but I also wanted to witness first-hand evidence of the killing fields and the war crimes of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. I'd read the memoir, First They Killed My Father, by Loung Ung, and seen the movie, The Killing Fields. The genocide suffered by the Cambodian people at the hands of their own people has haunted me ever since. There was ... [Continue Reading]
One last P.S. from Laos. On my very last visit to the night market to buy some gifts, I came across this woman selling jewelry, key chains and bottle openers made from the aluminum that came from U.S. bombs. Talk about transformation! They money is helping their village in many ways. The sign explaining the project said: "We bring the new meaning bombs and help ourselves and escape poverty." I bought a bottle opener in the shape of a map of Laos.
Last night, after my wonderful interlude at Big Brother Mouse with Eliza, we returned to the hotel and headed out with our group for a farewell dinner and Baci ceremony at the home of a local family. Tui had arranged it for us and I knew it would be a wonderful evening. Judy and Surya always end their trips with something special. We were dropped off at a family compound, took off our shoes, and each of us was draped in a ceremonial wrap around our chest and shoulders. We sat on chairs around the perimeter of a large room. At the front of the room were members of our hosting Lao family: the oldest man (the high priest), several older women, a couple of teenagers playing drums and an instrument I didn't recognize, and two young children. They sat on the floor in front of a large altar ... [Continue Reading]