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Crashing ceremonies and cars

Location: Cambodia

My friend Matt invited me to this ceremony. A Cambodian couple that fled 25 years ago has returned to their hometown and funded a new house for the monks. Fascinating to consider the difference between those who escaped and those who remained...

How nice to wake up on the 4th of July and see a truck going by with seven cases of Bud longnecks! STOP!!!

From a nearby holy temple, where kings were coronated and buried, you can see the district's newest garment factory. It employs 2,000 women, and allows them to live at home instead of moving to Phnom Penh to work.

These three young ladies at the ceremony seemed pretty happy to see us... I got the feeling that nice new houses, pretty clothes, and big happy parties are things that have been missing in the countryside for 40 or so years. Our host showed us the ricefield behind the temple where wars were fought not too long ago.

Walking to the market in a rural town called Kampot I saw local policemen extracting a toll from a passing vehicle. The money goes in their pocket, but they say it's necessary to supplement their low government salaries. And buy whiskey.

Behind the Buddhist Institute is Phnom Penh's biggest casino, Naga. Behind me is the National Assembly building. I wonder if the winning gamblers become members of parliament and the losers become monks...

Vegetables are some of the only Cambodian goods in the market. The office I work for promotes foreign investment, but few developed countries are interested. I recently learned that Cambodia owes the US money from the war years, and that (among other things)hinders US investment.

Manufactured goods like flip flops and instant noodles coming off a truck from Vietnam.

A little reminder of the French impact on Cambodia.

Muslim Cham women selling fish products. The Chams ruled the Mekong Delta before the Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodians arrived, but are a minority today.

A crowd gathers around a minivan that just flipped off the road and into a pond. Notice the driver climbing out of the shattered side window and smiling away his complete embarrassment/loss of face. In general, seeing a crowd on the side of the road in Cambodia is a bad sign...

My friend thought he could show the local coconut vendor a thing or two about riding a bike.