|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.
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!|
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….