Monday, July 21, 2014

Africa Is Everywhere -- Day 4.5

My tour guides
I’d asked Kidist when she first went to Cambodia if people were amazed to see an African-American. (It had been 40+ years since the Viet Nam war.) “Not really,” she told me, “because the people are so dark themselves that dark skin is not unusual.” Now I see what she means, most of the people (especially in Siem Reap) are darker than African-Americans. They also have flatter African noses and straight thick (Indian type) hair. Sometimes I’d have to do a double take, cause I thought I saw someone from the ‘hood’ aka ‘America.’ They are not all dark, some of them are pale, but the blacker ones intrigue me. Mother Africa always smiles through her children…and we are ALL her children, some of us just look more like her.

I  know, I know, you're darker than me. 
I slept in today and in the afternoon I go to see a floating village on Tonle Sap River, the Chong Khneas village. One of my tour guides thinks it’s funny that I say I’m Black because he is so dark that when he puts his arm against mine he is so much darker than I am. This cracks him up. Then the lighter guide puts his arm against mine and says, ‘Me too” and yes, he too, is darker than I am (even in my now most tanned state.) They are loving the fact that they are blacker than me—so I change the subject!

When I tell them I’m from Chicago they say that they love Obama cause he is a friend to their president and to the Cambodian people. They also know about Lake Michigan and the great lakes. They know they are fresh water lakes and that they go up to Canada. This from a guy who says he’s only done six years of school so far. (We definitely need a better education system in the U.S.A.)

I have a lot of fun with my three guides, one who looks like he is about 12 years old but says he’s 16. They say that’s how Cambodians are--small but old.

Solar panel
The floating village was interesting—people living on boats but they still have phones and televisions. There are floating markets, schools, churches, a police station and even floating basketball courts. Many people use generators but bigger places are using SOLAR PANELS! America is beginning to seem a little 3rd world to me…

He looks 12 to me!


Police Station with 2 hammocks

We make stop at one of the floating NGO’s that supports kids that were orphaned from a ts
unami type flood.  They have large 50 & 30 pound bags of rice and/or candy you can buy for them.  Everyone usually buys rice for them, but I of course bought them candy. I know everyone is thinking ‘those poor kids need rice for nutrition’ yeah but they are kids and they also need candy. After your purchase your boat takes you to the school to give them your gift. When Greg bought the rice he just went to the class room to the school room and gave the bag to the teacher, who hardly looked up from her work. All the children say ‘thank you’ as they continue to work from their books. But with the candy I went to each kid and let them pick out what they wanted. I got to meet and interact with each child and they were a lot more interested and happy about my candy donation. So HA, candy wins out!

One of my guides asks me if I am on Facebook and if he could friend me. Even in a remote floating village people are on Facebook.  Zuck, Zuck, Zuckerberg you ARE the man, even in Seim Reap, Camboda!

Dinner, drinks and YES another foot massage, this time $4 for an hour plus free beer and a short shoulder/neck massage. I really could get use to this….


  1. Wow, great blog and wonderful photos! You're an inspiration to solo women travelers BA!

  2. I love hearing about your adventures. The photos are great. Continue to enjoy and safe travels to you!

  3. BA candy wins everywhere. rich, poor, young old...candy is KING

  4. Candy IS king, especially when you don't get much of it.