Asian Wonders # 7: Leaving Thailand for Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Okay, pronounce this one.  Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville is portrayed as a sleepy little beach town and a claim to fame among tourists is that Angelina Jolie adopted a baby from this island. I don’t blame her after the beautiful children we saw today.

Sihanoukville was called Kompong Som when the ancient Mon Kameo people lived here. 5,000 years ago.  It was re-named Sihanoukville, in honor of King Sihanouk.  The French and Cambodian’s worked together to dig out this port and construct the rather modern looking town. Some of the city has modern buildings, but basically it is very primitive living and shanty shacks are everywhere in and around any and all of the new buildings.

It is very different we are told from many other French Colonial towns. This port where we are docked, played a role in the American/Vietnam conflict as it served as a point where weapons were transited and bound for anti-American forces. I felt hardened to be here when I heard that news, but did not dwell in the past because that takes away from present living.

If I dwelled on the anti-American past of this port, I would have missed today’s joy in being treated to this Island’s people and the beauty of the milieus.

As we drove the roads, I had a funny feeling that were in Khmer Rouge territory and seeing the sign telling us that we were on the road to Phnom Penh made me remember more and more of where we are and how much bloodshed was right under our feet.  It is easier to forget than remember.

We visited a school today and let me tell you once a teacher, always a teacher. I had my moment in their classroom and had more fun using my hands, fingers, lips, legs, feet, pats, soft pinches and lots of picture taking.  If I only had the words to make the moments with the children alive for you I would use them now, but since that would be hard, let me add some images to help.

We ventured further into a little village where the people welcomed us and enjoyed having us visit as much as we enjoyed visiting them. I have some photos of moments in the village. The Cambodian people we met today wear pride on their faces, they shine out from such meager surroundings and they want you to know they are well. There is a subtle refined attitude and a grace they have to share.

People in the village:

Homes of the villagers.

We then had an opportunity to learn about the resort life here on this Island. We had lunch on the beach with the waves crashing all around, dipped our feet into the South China Sea, and I found a little free Wi-Fi! Let me just say the sand on the beaches of Sihanoukville is the color of once stirred cappuccino foam. It is soft and silky and oozes out from under your feet as the tide rolls out.

It was so, so hot during our visit. I kept feeling droplets and thought it was raining. Nope, I was raining on myself.  I know by now you think I am “Happy House” (lavatory) oriented, but certainly, it is such an important thing to keep track of when traveling and actually at any other time.  When it is so, so hot and when you are raining on yourself, you do not need a “Happy House.”

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gary Friedman
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 22:50:04

    I LOVE your blog!!!! These posts make me feel like I’m there. Please keep them coming!!!


  2. Reene
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 18:55:27

    I just finished reading ad enjoying your last 3 entries. wow I really want to visit VietNam and the whole area. It sounds wonderful and I feel sorry for the people in the elevator. Sounds like theymissed the whole trip. That is why you are the best to travel with. Especiallly liked the pix of the floating boats.


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