• Living like the Locals

    Living like the Locals…

    The last 200 km. from Kratie to the border were difficult, but traveling it by bike at least had the advantage of giving us insight into how life for the area’s locals is lived. It took us 8 days to travel those 120 mi. That gives you an idea of the pace of life and of how isolated the villagers are, especially during the monsoon season. Most villages in Cambodia don’t have a secondary school, but these tiny ones didn’t even have a primary school. Often, these .. Read More »

  • To the Border: A Muddy Nightmare!

    Stung Traeng to the Laotian Border: A Muddy Nightmare!

    We didn’t think that the road could get any worse than it had been from Kratie to Stung Traeng. We were wrong! It took us three days to bike the 35 miles separating us from the Laotian border! And we didn’t think it could get any quieter, either. We were wrong there, too! We didn’t know what quiet was until we hit the road to the border. The road was in very poor condition and very rarely used because most people opted for the speed.. Read More »

  • From Kratie to Stung Traeng: We learn the meaning of a “bad” road…

    From Kratie to Stung Traeng: We learn the meaning of a “bad” road…

    Everyone had told us that the 200-km. stretch of road from Kratie north to the Laotian border was “bad,” but just how bad was “bad?” No one seemed to know or to be able to tell us. We couldn’t find anyone who had actually traveled it. I have to admit that after our painful ordeal on the road from the Thai border to Siem Reap, we were tempted to take a ferry boat along the river north to the border so that we could avoi.. Read More »

  • Quiet Roads along the Mekong and the Irrawaddy River Dolphins

    Quiet Roads along the Mekong and the Irrawaddy River Dolphins

    From Phnom Penh, we headed north, back again through Skon, the spider town, and onto Kampong Cham, the country’s third largest city at 45,000. It was in this part of the country that we had our cheapest meals: fried noodles with vegetables for $0.12, sandwiches for $0.25, large pastries topped with shredded coconut for $0.025, vegetable pancakes for $0.05, a plate of fried pork and pickles for $0.12, rice soup for $0.12, and sugar .. Read More »

  • Siem Reap to Phnom Penh

    Siem Reap

    We were unbelievably happy to reach Siem Reap after three hard days on the road and after our life-threatening experience in Mario Andretti’s taxi. After we had checked into our guesthouse, and as I unpacked and prepared to wash my muddy clothing, two things struck me – our bed sheets and the printed sign posted on the back of our door. The bed sheets made me laugh. They were mustard-yellow and covered with Oscar Mayer hotdogs on wheels, with the phrase that ran: “Oh I wish….. Read More »

  • The Taxi

    The Shared Taxi…

    On our third day in Cambodia, after 5 hours on the road and an excruciatingly slow pace of 8.4 km./hr., our odometers showed that we had only advanced 21.5 km. Ouch! It was 11:00 in the morning, and we still had 7 ½ hours of daylight to pedal only 30 km., but we were starting to doubt if we could even reach Siem Reap that day. We had to take a break from the bumps and the potholes and the painful bouncing every couple of kilometers. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! We stopped for a quick.. Read More »

  • The Temple

    The Temple (extract from my journal)…

    It’s 6:00 A.M., and I’m sitting inside the pavilion in a temple complex 55 km. west of Siem Reap, listening to monks chanting in the temple just across the courtyard. The chanting has been going on since 4:15 A.M., 20 minutes after a monk sounded a gong at 3:55 A.M., some ten yards from our tent, where we were trying to sleep. And I say trying to sleep, because I’ve been awake since 12:30 A.M., after about two hours of sleep, unable to get any res.. Read More »

  • Societal Challenges: Health, Education, and Human Trafficking

    Societal Challenges: Health, Education, and Human Trafficking

    After three decades of civil war, Cambodia is still struggling to overcome its past and rebuild its fragile infrastructure, economy, and society. The civil war ended seven years ago, but political troubles and wide-scale corruption still plague the country. Although political and economic instability has decreased recently, Cambodia still has a long way to go in order to meet the standards of its Southeastern Asian neighbors in man.. Read More »

  • Buddhism and Spirit Worship

    The majority of Cambodians practice Buddhism, but there are still traces of Hinduism, which was practiced alongside of Buddhism between the 1st and 14th centuries. Important ceremonies, especially those celebrating births, deaths, and marriages, contain elements of Hinduism. The two religions are intertwined, and the Hindu gods are considered to be the guardians of the Buddhist religion.

    Theravada Buddhism was introduced in Cambodia between the 13th and 14th centuries and remained .. Read More »

  • History of Cambodia, including the Khmer Rouge years

    I wrote up a summary of the history of Cambodia because its 30-year civil war that just recently ended is still relevant to the people of this country and to the people who visit it. The genocide that took place during the Khmer Rouge years is one of the worst that any society has ever seen since the history of mankind. Cambodia was essentially closed to foreigners after the Khmer Rouge took control in 1975 and remained closed for the duration of the 1980’s, when the Vietnamese remained in contr.. Read More »