Cambodia - the forgotten land of enthusiastic people
From eighty countries in the world that we have visited, Cambodia has made us saddest. If any country has been followed by the accidents in recent history, it`s Cambodia.Even back in the colonial era, Cambodia was "the last hole on the flute" of western powers. Mid-century Cambodia was greeted with a few high schools, and the economy was almost completely undeveloped. And when the economy started to rise from the mud, there was horror - The communist government came to power in 1975., led by Pol Pot, one of the worst criminals the world has ever seen. In just four years, Pol Pot destroyed Cambodia. Specifically, in the endless massacres, he slammed mostly on educated people. Schools were disbanded, teachers and professors were killed and the country was plunged into darkness for decades. Pol Pot has even banned the use of money and completely abolished private property. Families were systematically destroyed by forming of the labor unions for men, women and children. The complete destruction of a society was stopped by the Vietnam in 1979., when invasion on Cambodia overthrew the regime. After that, country`s been through exhausting civil war, and it is only at the end of the 90`s that situation in Cambodia is somewhat calm. Today the country is lead by a loose democracy, in which the same party always wins.
Tourists in Cambodia often visit temples of lost town of Angkor. In addition to meeting their cultural and historical importance, visiting temples is quite an experience because they are intriguing and mystic. With Angkor, the capital city of Phnom Penh offers the royal palace and the National Museum, but also a variety of content of "masochistic tourism" - mass graves or the "killing fields" and the former prison, now a museum, in which state system systematically tortured and killed people during the Pol Pot regime. However, as in every other country, we have tried to be at least partially removed from the well-established tourist routes, places where there are comfortable Western hotels, in attempt to even briefly feel the real Cambodia and meet its people. Luck smiled on us when we met a Dutch couple which is engaged in humanitarian activities. According to their instructions, a local taxi driver on the gurney tethered to a moped drove us deep into the rural areas of central Cambodia, where there is no tourism.
Life in the country
Another travel books from the region:Travelogue Laos
Travelogue China 1
Travelogue China 2
Travelogue China 3
Travelogue China 4
Travelogue China 5
Villages in the region had no electricity or water. Tens of kilometers of labyrinth lumpy dirt farm roads led us through an endless series of dilapidated log cabins built on stilts. On the road only the occasional farmer. Motorcycles are a rarity, we hardly ever met a car along the way. In almost every village countless children happily ran to see who passes by. Our goal was a village where the Dutch organization supports primary school. When we arrived there, we had the opportunity to meet local people and enter their homes. People there have no beds, they sleep on mats of reed leaves. There is no TV or radio. No one wears shoes. The Dutch have modified the water pump in the village center, so people can come to get water for the households. At the center of the village there is a small run-down school building, the only brick-built cottage in the village. By the small house a shelf was built, it was a small local shop. However, as people here already eat mainly what they themselves produce, on the shelf there were very few items - a few bags of candy, a package with bottles of bottled water, cigarettes and a single can of beer. Those poor people, however, were very friendly. We tracked them to work on the rice fields. Cheerful, inquisitive, they constantly called us to lunch. However, when they had lunch we took the opportunity to look in the school, because the teaching is carried out only in a daily break from agricultural activities. At school we found fifty children from about 5 to 12 years in a single class. Very young local teacher, with the help of volunteers from the Netherlands, taught the children to say the numbers in English. Classes that day lasted about an hour, and the children went back to their parents in the fields. Then the driver took us back to the city in the comfort of the hotel. There we had it all - from the bed, running water to the TV. Large luxury for most residents of Cambodia.