|there are certainly shabbier ways to spend a vacation!|
|And hey, sometimes a monk just wants a treat from a street cart.|
|The Independence Monument under a full moon. It was built in 1958|
(hey, so was I!) to celebrate their independence from France in 1953.
Such typical Cambodian architectural features, I love that.
|The Royal Palace, as you can tell by the giant images of the king and queen.|
|an accidentally great shot I took at the Royal Palace. Love the colors of the place.|
Doesn't it look like a Wes Anderson movie?
|And guards flanking the royal gate, too, though they're much more lax than those at|
Buckingham Palace. Leaning, hmph. A Beefeater would NEVER slouch. (But I would.)
So many times we were sitting along the riverfront, or walking along, and saw a western man with a Cambodian younger man or woman. It was pretty easy to tell the ones who were married to each other (though even that felt problematic to me) -- but even easier to tell the ones who were just picked up by the western man. I passed one western man with a younger Cambodian man beside him, and the young Cambodian man just looked awful. He was a little dressed up, as if for a date, and he was hugging himself around the waist, and his eyes were inward. He was walking slower, and it felt to me like he was walking as if he were on a leash. Western men with young Cambodian women, a similar look and feeling though the women were a little less haunted-looking. Not a lot, but some. I couldn't stop myself from wondering what story these men were telling themselves -- that they're different from the rest, look, they're taking the young man/woman out for a meal! They're not just using them, they're also showing them off. Or something, I don't know, it made me sick. It made me shake and cry. I'm crying while I write this. And so I think about that little boy, and wonder if this is where his life will lead him, assuming he survives.
I couldn't help but glare at the men as hard as I could. I couldn't stop from giving them the filthiest look I could possibly muster, even though my eyes were full of tears. I have not wanted to go to Thailand -- Bangkok -- because I knew I wouldn't be able to deal with the sex trade there, but it was no different in Phnom Penh. No different at all. Our hotel very explicitly stated that they do not allow sex tourism, as did the one we stayed in during our last visit four years ago. There is a reason they have to say that. It was excruciating to me, witnessing this.
|it was lovely seeing the full moon over the river|
|so much fancy lighting for the king|
Here's a link to the full set of pictures. I only really know how to say goodbye in Vietnamese, so this'll have to stand in for the whole trip. Tam biet. It was wonderful.