Walking Neighborhoods Again


After visiting the land mine museum I was passing this family, and stopped to chat.  My tuk tuk driver, Bon Thong, translated a bit for me.



As so often happens they became giggly when I tried to photograph them

But they loved it

Pherm           Houb         Learn        Toach


In Cambodia--and, I suspect, in other SE Asian countries, people are very age conscious.  One of the first questions people ask me is How old are you?

When I asked Bon Thong to write their names in my notebook, they all gave their ages





Age 50





Age 15





Age 47








Age 19





Age 26





Age 31



From Sen Monorom, in the hill country of Mondulkiri Province in Eastern Cambodia, I visited Dok Dam, a remote village of the Phnong (an indigenous hill tribe), riding on the back of Bon Ly's motobike



We headed farther into the hill country



We arrived, parked the bike 




and began walking


It's a sleepy town




but friendly and open




I met Chunly, a weaver

With BonLy interpreting, I asked Chunly if she'd had a happy life

No, she said.  She was too poor



But there was a serenity, an appealing graciousness about her


She weaves about two hours a day, produces a scarf in a week, sells it for $5

This where a 50kg/110lb bag of rice costs about $30usd



I met Krern, a man of about 70 or 80 (he didn't know), and asked him the same thing




No, he had not had a happy life





His wife Rap echoed that




Her grandparents had a happy life, she said,

but the Khmer war took everything



BonLy and Rap




Check out the fine lines of this face




the inner spirit that those eyes reveal



The village houses are a mix of the more traditional, thatched roof




and the more modern, on stilts, with sawed lumber

A work in progress



BonLy surveys a valuable pile of sawed boards, cut from nearby forests




Kids, as always




Stunningly fresh




and vital



Leaving Dok Dam, we're back on BonLy's motorbike



on hill-country roads, that didn't treat my pelvis well



The ride had a 'top of the world' feel

About 10km to another village




We arrive in PuTang




A very different sort of village

Much less open and friendly

We didn't stay long




This looks like hard work




I lend a hand for a few buckets




We head back to Sen Monorom

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