Photo Gallery: The Tuk Tuk and His Family

Near the north of Phnom Penh, close to the airport, is an area called Boeung Kok Lake. The lake is no longer an actual lake, as it was filled in by the government. There are numerous issues with the government’s control of the lake (which had been occupied a la floating homes) and many people have been evicted from the general area. When I visited there with Nov Sopheao (Sok) and his wife and daughter, it was peaceful and calm. There was a sense of balance and order, but these feelings were overshadowed by the major developments that were going on in the area. It almost felt like an American suburb. Still, the marshy area that is now the lake is still an amazing spot to watch the sun go down and hangout.

You’re probably wondering how or why I met Sok. It’s an interesting story, but one that is not too complicated. Sok and I exchanged numbers the night Jason and I were in town and “out and about.” We had just finished up our time at Heart of Darkness, a dance club that’s notorious for being wild, crazy, and devious. We had gotten out just in time to avoid all of the above, and the ride with Sok was great. Unlike most drivers, he knows very good English.

Without going into too much detail, Sok has been the one to help me out since I came here, helped me out in numerous ways, including getting me an extended visa. At one point he asked me to come on over to his place to meet his family. It took a little while due to my schedule, but we made it happen. Below are pictures of this experience. The story begins like any good story: with a cute coaster:

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As with anywhere in Cambodia, traveling means taking pictures. Some streets scenes of Phnom Penh on the way to pick up Sok’s family:

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Six people on one moto!

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This man had crafted a paper airplane out of a flier someone had given him:

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Sok’s daughter, Somanila:

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Sok’s wife (he never introduced me, actually), and his daughter:

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The man, the mystery:

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AC/DC shirt, Spiderman bike:

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The girl took all the pictures that have me in them (which may explain the blurriness), but I give her credit as she’s only 4 years old:

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The neighborhood kids (including me):

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Photo Gallery: Cambodia and the Pchum Ben Festival

Thanks to some extraordinary friends, I got the chance to take a drive to Udong Pagoda just north of Phnom Penh by about 40km. The festival, which you can read about here, brings a Buddhist remembrance of the dead together with a time of merriment and happy hangouts. The drive was long, but well worth it: everything from the donation of food and prayer to the pagoda visit to the food-eating and card-game-playing was incredibly enjoyable. Judging from the lack of any other white people in the crowds of Cambodians, I feel like I gained insight into a cultural corner that many do not get to see. The journey begins with images the traveling out of Phnom Penh and through Kandal Province, all the way up to Kampong Speu and Udong.

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Bong Phally drove:

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A Cham mosque:

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Soknea and her friend led the way:

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Udong in the distance

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Playing cards . . . seemed similar to Bridge . . . 

 

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Swah (monkey):

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A pretty good panorama, actually:

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Eyeing some food for lunch:

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The Pchum Ben rituals:

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