This Is Not a Postcard

Tales of 2 people on 3 continents

Bangkok is full of liars and other Truths

One of the funny things that happens to your brain when you’re traveling is that it becomes receptive to Truths which clamor to be Declared:

  1. Bangkok Is Full of Liars.
  2. Visting the Killing Fields is a Gruesome and Strange Thing for a Tourist To Do.
  3. Dragonfruit Are As Beautiful Inside as Outside, But They Don’t Taste Like Anything.
  4. Cambodia Is Extraordinary, No Wonder Everyone Loves It Here.
  5. It Is Hard to Look at a Rural Landscape Here and Not Imagine Bombs Exploding Over It.
  6. Cambodian People Seem Amazingly Happy and Relaxed*
  7. Visiting With Friends (Or Friends-of-Friends) Really Enhances One’s Experience of a Place.
* Tuk Tuk drivers being the notable exception to this Truth.

In order for a statement to be a Truth, and not just true, it must conform to all of the following conditions:

  1. It was discovered/confirmed through first hand travel experience
  2. It enjoys wide agreement among all travelers “in the know”
  3. It has the capacity to spawn discussions on the statement’s deeper significance and/or its corollaries
  4. Voicing it out loud (particularly over a glass of wine) leads to a feeling of calm self-assurance, a self-assurance born from the knowledge that the world is both simple and complicated, and more importantly, that it is in fact knowable.
  5. You never tire of revisiting it
On Cambodia: It seems to both me and James that one of the reasons that this country is so appealing is that the experience of being a tourist here conforms to backpackers’ expectations of what Southeast Asia “should” be: steeped in traditional culture, primarily agriculture-based economies, relatively inexpensive, small-scale and unique accommodations, low tourist to local person ratio, outstanding food, untrammeled natural areas, happy faces.

Glorious ancient architecture might also be added to that list, though we have yet to travel to Angkor Wat, so I’ll get back to you on that.

Phnom Penh itself is a really accessible and lively city with delights at every corner. To wit:

Traditional handicraft demonstrations, including silk weaving

Traditional handicraft demonstrations, including silk weaving

Evening aerobics classes in the public parks, open to all

Evening aerobics classes in the public parks, open to all

Sampling herbs at the market with your cooking class teacher

Sampling herbs at the market with your cooking class teacher

Iced coffee and super fast internet at the Foreign Correspondents' Club

Iced coffee and super fast internet at the Foreign Correspondents Club

Nighttime DIY booze cruise on the Mekong

Nighttime DIY booze cruise on the Mekong

If you’re having trouble seeing these images in a larger format, just click on our “More Photos” link on the blog where they are all uploaded in full format glory.

It is Khmer New Year right now, so I will wish you all a happy new year! If you want to do it the Khmer way, then go douse someone you know in water and flour, then swing a big stick at a clay pot (see photo below).

Love to you all! Don’t forget to request postcards!

Sonia & James

p.s. I’ll tell you about the Bangkok liars when we go back to Bangkok. Bangkok is also full of wonderful people and things, hopefully that goes without saying.

p.p.s. In case you hadn’t already heard, our dog Annie is now residing in doggie heaven. Thank you for your condolences.

Sonia playing Khmer piñata, a new year's tradition in Cambodia

Sonia playing Khmer piñata, a new year's tradition in Cambodia

Advertisements

2 Comments»

  jim and mary huth wrote @

Thank you for your latest insightful continuation of your travelogue. We look forward to each new posting!
We are very sorry to hear about Annie. While she may be in doggie heaven, she will forever be alive to us in our memory – a great dog and friend!

  minimal wrote @

Interesting entry, I totally agree with your reflections about a Truth, I recognise myself very much in that 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s