Cambodia Plans

6 Nov

Angkor Wat

I started reading about Cambodia to get my head around the country and think a bit what to do there. Here’s my list of longings.

  • Don’t hesitate to log in and add your suggestions & comments ;-)
  • I’ll be in Cambodia from 30 Dec till half January 09

Besides starting 2009 there, I want to travel the country and get a grasp of the culture – the culture with the small ‘c’ (not so much the museums or the arts – but the real people). And religion seems to be a big part of it. And since i am a ‘homo faber’, i also want to DO lots of things, experience, experiment,… with transport, food, gay life, etc. I am ready to be surprised!

Starting 2009 in style

I’ll be in Cambodia for New Year, so the plan is to celebrate – with Cambodians and Internationals. 2009 will be the year of transition and change for me – so its start is reason for celebration!

Cambodian Culture

Inseparably part of Cambodia, 2 things come to mind: Angkor Wat (medieval temples from the Angkor empire, the national(ist) pride of Cambodians) and the Killing Fields (the drama and taboo in every Cambodian’s mind – 7 January is Remembrance Day of the Genocide by the Khmer Rouge). So that’s on my list.

Monks in the funniest places...
Monks in the funniest places…

Cambodia used to be animist, only later Hindu influence arrived from India, and was then replace by (Theravada) Buddhism afterwards. It would be interesting to see the left-overs and influences of those different faiths. Seems there are temples abound. Maybe i can do some meditation…

A look into society

Family life (extended families) is the corner-stone of Cambodian society. Would be nice to visit or talk to a family. See how they are living, how they function, ‘steal’ some ideas from them and share info about my way of living (take Family pics!)

The Asian cultures are more collectivist and I read that from young age the children are rather taught to play games or sports that are based on skill, social participation and cooperation – rather than competition and winning (as most of our games & sports…). I’ll keep my eyes open for that.

Respect, hierarchy, controlling one’s temper, non-confrontation, politeness is very important there, so I’ll do my best not to sin against this and ‘loose face’ (and respect of the Cambodian way).

When a couple is getting married, their hair is cut (shaved?) so this might be something to try (wishful thinking – the marrying I mean). Also when a relative dies, people shave their heads, so there must be plenty of ‘specialised’ hair dressers.

When people get married in Cambodia, they/the parents often (traditionally) consult an astrologer to see if the couple matches. So maybe I should visit an astrologer to see what zodiac sign I should be looking for :-)

Getting a grasp of life in Cambodia

Going to the market...
Going to the market…

The markets (Psar) seem to be the hustle and bustle of Cambodian life – so I think I’ll spend lots of time observing people and life walk by from a little café at the market, and interact and chat with the people.

Another “market scene” that I am interested in, is the gay scene: to see how it functions, how it’s organized, what is done and what not. It would be interesting to discover the underground and overground lives of people ‘of the other kind’. Another queer experience could be the Cambodian fancy dancers ;-)

Getting around in different ways

There’s lots of water-ways and a huge lake (Tonle Sap), so I need to travel by boat (even though all guidebooks tell it is soooo uncomfortable) and see some houses/villages on the water. And the train system (with average speed of 20km/h would also be a nice way to travel and meet the locals) or on a shared ‘Moto’.

Food & co

Cambodia's flag
Cambodia’s flag

A country is like its kitchen

: so I’ll try to find and eat (swallow) trey ahng (even though I don’t like fish), bobor (rice porridge), kyteow (noodle soup or some of the other samlor=soups). The bonus challenge would be frog, turtle, fried crickets and tarantula… (I better take good stomach pills).

  • Any other suggestions? More must sees/does? Useful links?

One Response to “Cambodia Plans”

  1. daringzenster 11 December 2008 at 17:41 #

    i have always wondered how is the Cambodia gay culture like? or is it non-existence?

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