This is a mixture of video clips and photographs taken during our trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia in August 2010. The creation of the video and the footage was taken by Laura Beauchamp. The featured photographs were taken by Chris Beauchamp.
The video was made using iMovie. Laura was feeling cheesy when she made it so she used the “Photograph Album” video template. She also apologizes for the glitches in the sound, she’s looking into a solution.
Wow! We are coming home soooo soon. We’re going back to Angkor Wat again today (we spent yesterday out there), and then moving on to Bangkok tomorrow. We’ll post more, including about a bazillion photos as soon as we can free up some time. Check back soon!
Tuol Sleng Museum. During the Cambodian Genocide (1975−79), this former school was turned into the main prison in the Phnom Penh area. Several thousand people were kept here, interrogated, tortured, and eventually shipped off to the nearby killing fields at places like Choeung Ek (which we also visited). I’ll post more on this eventually.
Cell Block (former classrooms), Tuol Sleng Prison Museum. The cells are simple brick construction. Since prisoners were kept continually shackled at the ankles, they didn’t have to worry about having the cell walls go all the way to the ceiling.
Some of the kids of the Friends International organization. They operate several NGO projects in the country, focused on giving street kids a way out. Some of the more interesting projects include running two restaurants in Phnom Penh as teaching institutions where these kids can learn cooking and service to become part of Cambodias growing tourism business. We ate at both restaurants and had a wonderful time at each. The food was amazing, and the service was very, very sincere and friendly. The menus are quite unique too...
Take this interesting dish for example: Deep-fried tarantula with black pepper and lime. (yes, it is real)
We are in Cambodia as of earlier today, following less than a week in Vietnam. It’s been really disappointing to have to see this part of the world on such a short timeline, but on the other hand Laura and I are both mentally ready to head home and begin the life we have up next.
Blogging has been a little light around here, but I hope you’ll bear with us. I have been working hard with a good friend of mine to build the first of two websites I will need to have in place to make a proper go in Grande Prairie of the creative work I do. Once these projects are ready to show off, I will be able to go back and catch up on some of the blogging I’ve had to miss. I’ll certainly make time in the next few days for a photo-roundup or two, if not some actual writing...
A few quick impressions:
Cambodia is pretty cool. It’s dirtier and poorer than its neighbours (even Laos). More development issues (street kids, poverty, garbage all over the city), but also has a nice layed back vibe. Lots of people out tonight enjoying the park spaces after the sun went down. Crazy traffic, but nothing like Saigon. We’re in Phnom Phen. We had drinks at the Foreign Correspondents Club tonight. Apparently it’s an old war time institution. Very colonial old building; used to be the haunt of journalists and CIA spooks. Pretty cool. Pretty cool...
p.s. — Irony is dead, as my use of this song title in this post proves:
p.p.s — This old punk song was written during or shortly after the Cambodian genocide (1975–79-ish) and is a critique of left-wing idealistic kids claiming to support communism without acknowledging (or even being aware of) the horrendous crimes committed in the name of that ideology elsewhere in the world. The ironic (or post-ironic) part is that the Cambodian Genocide is now very much a tourist draw, and people do in fact holiday in Cambodia, to the tune of millions of individuals each year.
Seungthew (taxi in an-open back pickup truck with bench seating) from Luang Prabang to the local waterfall. Laura will have a post about this day trip sometime soon. (photo by her, of course)
Laura and I are finally in Vietnam. As many of you already know, she started showing some symptoms of dengue fever when we were in Luang Prabang, Laos. Our original plan was to take a bus from there to Hanoi, in the north of Vietnam, but Dengue is not something you want to mess around with, and since Luang Prabang (and most of Laos) has virtually zero modern healthcare, we decided to head to the capital Vientiane instead. Luckily, by the time we got there, Laura’s fever had passed and her other symptoms calmed down. Facing another epic (24−30 hour) bus ride to get from Vientiane to Vietnam, we caved and bought some plane tickets via the north of Thailand to Ho Chi Minh City instead (via Bangkok).
We are rapidly running out of time on this little journey of ours, and the consequence is that we will be blitzing through southern Vietnam and Cambodia, giving these countries far less time than they deserve (but at least seeing a thing or two along the way). Can you believe that two weeks from tomorrow we’ll be landing in Vancouver? We sure can’t.
We’ve been laying low for the past week or so, mostly chilling in hotels while monitoring Laura’s health (she really is all better), so we’re going to be compensating over the next couple of weeks, trying to get out and see as much as possible. Should be good for the bloggin’.
p.s. — “Pho” is Vietnamese soup, something we ate at least once a week when we lived in Calgary, and one of our favourite foods in the world. We had our first bowl last night, and wholly goddamn mine was spicy! Don’t underestimate the diced hot peppers that come on the side.