These pictures, taken in the same trip that I took all the Olympic Stadium pictures, show another side to Cambodia development and consumerism. The mall is quite nice, actually, but in a throw-back to Dante, each level of ascension feels like another circle of hell. By the top floor, visitors are faced with Cambodia’s well-known Legend Cinemas, a strange food court, bumper cars, and a absurd grouping of DVD vendors. I look forward to going back to this place, as I certainly did not take enough pictures to accurately give a good sense of it through this gallery.
I realize I haven’t been as active on this blog as I had when I first moved to Cambodia, and I blame that on being really, really busy. Not only has the internship been significantly time-consuming, but extra special activities related to Open Acess, poetry, and travel have kept me on my toes every day. I also have been dealing with more and more homework, and various forms of sickness. I’m glad it’s been rocky, as consistency in my life leads to boredom in my life, as it does for many others. But that being said, I owe a gallery of some pictures from a recent visit to the Olympic Stadium here in Phnom Penh. I should make a note that while the pictures here make the stadium look completely abandoned and absurdly creepy, me and my friend Phil (in the pictures) visited during the “off-hour.” Essentially the cooler parts of the day (the early morning and the late afternoon/early evening) paint a different picture: swarms of Cambodians visit the park to do aerobic exercises, use the facilities, and play soccer (I mean “football”).
Still, I’m glad we visited when we did, as it allowed for some pretty amazing structural shots. It’s clear that the building, despite the many who use it, and despite its history (it was one of the killing centers for the Khmer Rouge), is slowly crumbling, disinvested. Next door (you’ll see in another post) there is the fancy-though-somewhat-decayed City Mall. And some major foreign investor is pouring their riches into a huge resort structure just to the north. The Olympic Stadium will most likely be torn down and replaced . . . by another stadium? Who knows. Chances are: no. Having traveled throughout the city, it’s clear that public facilities are most certainly not a priority by the government and urban developers. That may change. But without a large economy, and no coffers in the bank available to be spent on renovation projects or public spaces, I foresee the stadium’s death spot being filled in with concrete, a shiny apartment building or hotel or office complex thrown above.
This morning, after a short stop at the hideous casino Naga World, I went with a filmographer and overall productive workhouse dude Chris Rogy to Koh Pich (Diamond Island). I had vowed I didn’t want to go back there after my first three visits in September, but part of me drew me to the idea of seeing yet another perspective on the place. It was early enough (around 7:30) to not be completely distracted by folks working on the island. We did a general tour of the place and stopped around four times so Chris could shoot. We only were told to stop filming once. I was taking as many photos as ever (below, as usual), but also was able to get some nice short videos and plenty of audio files. Audio is easy: the recorder just looks like a cell phone. For visual work, though, there’s the risk of not having permission where permission is needed. All in all, it was a hot experience, but one that brought forth plenty of great images.
It’s been a year since the famous king died in Cambodia, and on this day, everyone takes time off of work to reflect, relax, and, well, adventure. Boramy and I visited Koah Anlong Chen, an island south of Phnom Penh by about 20k. It was probably one of the most jam-packed adventures I’d had up to this point. So many serendipitous occurrences kept us on our toes. For example: at breakfast I ran into the first tuk-tuk driver who had ever driven me anywhere, Nang, and he recognized me. Then I saw my friend Vutha who works at ODC, since we passed by his house. And he waved us in and we hung out there for a bit. There were three very strange, disturbed individuals we met too. Everything was a bit surreal. Let’s begin with the journey down through Kandall and Ta Khmao.
The following are images on the island:
We played volleyball with these guys:
A creepy French-speaking Khmer dude who wouldn’t leave us alone:
The “tail-end” of rainy season isn’t a joke. Flash floods, giant downpours, and storms that occurred days previous continue to sit imprinted in giant, murky ponds throughout the city. Still, life goes on. People keep trucking. Here are some images of the area near the airport from yesterday.