People of Cambodia: A Photo Essay
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Photoblog: Way of Life in Cambodia
I found Cambodian people to be some of the kindest and consistently happy in the world, and I know that I’m not alone in this thought. The children play in the streets and everyone helps each other out. Look anywhere and you’ll see a Cambodian smiling. It’s infectious. The best kind of infectious. I came here with sadness looming over me after a bad breakup, and I left with a renewed sense of wonder about the world. For this reason, Cambodia is a very special country to me. Here are some photographs of the amazing people I met on my travels, and a little snapshot of their stories.
Photos from Left to Right, Top to Bottom: 1. This holy man lives in the temples and keeps them clean. He takes a break to stand majestically for our pictures. 2. A young Cambodian man sells pony rides in front of Angkor Wat. He dresses his obliging horse up before his first customer. 3. Young monks smoke during their break by the river. Being a monk in Cambodia is a lot more relaxed than other places and sometimes is a way for young Cambodians to get a leg up in life. 4. Monks sing for prayers and donations of food and money from the stall owners around Angkor Wat. 5. A young lady herds her water buffalo through the temple grounds. 6. A sister tells off her younger brother for getting dirty in the rain.
7. Another holy man relaxes by his temple shrine. 8. Tuk tuk tour drivers sleep in makeshift hammocks while they wait for their customers to finish in the temples. 9 & 11. Ladies sell their produce at a street market in a tiny town outside of Siem Reap. 10. Dedicated women help keep the temples clean.
12. A lady walks her cow through the sandy main street of her tiny village. 13. A young girl smiles as she sells us tickets to the local cave near Kampot. The children in this area are allowed to leave class to sell tickets when they see tourists driving up the road as it helps them practice their English. 14. A Cambodian family eat lunch in a hammock restaurant by the beach. 15. This customer is extremely happy with the fish she bought at the hammock restaurant.
16. This lady is preparing soup at her restaurant on Koh Rong Island. Many of the women and girls in Cambodia wear pyjamas around as they are cheap, stylish and airy but still cover their legs and shoulders. 17. This happy fisherman catches small fish from the pooled water of rice paddies. Later he will dry them to make paste and soups. 18. A couple who don’t feel fear. Lots of Cambodians pile their motorbikes as high as possible to carry produce short distances. This man has his wife perched on top. 19. A fisherman takes a break from the heat of the day falling asleep on some nets. 20. A street food stall owner moves into the shade. She sells locally caught crab with an assortment of toppings.
Another person who likes getting to know people in countries she’s visiting is Jill at Reading the Book. She’s got a great post about visiting a tiny place near Siem Reap in Cambodia called Battambang and her adventures taking the bamboo train.
CHILDREN OF CAMBODIA
Anyone who’s been to Cambodia will understand that there is something special about the children there. Their smiles are infectious, their friendly demeanour rubs off on you. A lot of the children learn English in school and revel at the opportunity to practice with a foreigner. They will run across the street just to stand in front of you and smile, not knowing what to say, just waiting until you say something to them. But some children in Cambodia have been taught to take advantage of the foreigners. Child beggars are common, child tricksters even more so. The following captures the smiles and life of some of the children I came across in Cambodia, some that would become my friend, some that tried to rip me off.
1. A boy practices football with an old coconut in front of the Angkor Wat temple. 2. These young girls loved having their picture taken, before asking people for money. 3. Young Monks sing for donations of food and money at the restaurants outside Angkor Wat. 4. A boy plays hide and seek in the rain amongst the depilated temple walls with his friends.
1. While on tour in Kampot we came to learn that kids from the local school will run outside when they see a foreigner approach, so that they can give tours and sell tickets to their cave. 2. This boy is fishing in a temple pool. 3. Kids happy to see me as I walk up a dusty street. 4. A girl shows off her bike and then offers me some of her dessert. 5. These friends are fishing for frogs in a drain using a bamboo rod. 6. A girl looks after her parents’ store at a produce market. 7. Young monks curiously watch us as we take photos of a temple.