Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feelings of Love and Hate in Siem Reap

I find myself thinking daily of the things I both love and hate in Siem Reap as I walk down its streets. So I thought I'd share some of these feelings! 
I love the way the tuk tuk drivers in Siem Reap say you’re welcome when you tell them no thank-you after they ask if you need a ride.
I love how people smile just because you waved at them.
 I hate seeing young kids pulling carts, picking up garbage or begging for money. It’s heartbreaking to think these kids will never get to experience the magic of childhood because they’ve been forced into adulthood too early.
I relish in being called beautiful, knowing full well that it’s due to my wretchedly pale skin and not because of anything else.
I truly enjoy being in a place that feels exotic yet has most of the comforts of home. This is not because I NEED said comforts but it’s nice to have them around if I find myself wanting them and let’s be honest there are definitely times when you’re travelling where you think, “If I have to put one more grain of rice, satay skewer or strange root past my lips I’m going to freakin’ lose it!”
I love watching street kids taking a break from their jobs by flinging themselves off the twisted branches of trees, into the Siem Reap River.
I hate saying no to someone who has been the victim of a landmine. However if I didn’t then I’d find myself peddling books and paintings on the streets annoying people.
I love how little kids will run up to you and hold onto your pant leg as they look up into your face with amazement painted across their faces.
I detest automatically feeling sorry for a landmine victim. They lost a limb not their dignity and I feel like that “awe poor you” feeling I get somehow strips them of their dignity whether they realize it or not.
I love seeing buildings that were constructed thousands of years ago and revered to this day by the decedents of those who dreamed them up.
Most of all I love to see how the strength of the human spirit can overcome the most atrocious acts of pure evil. To arrive in Cambodia and know full well what happened here not so long ago and not see broken souls haphazardly drifting from place to place is inspiring. It would be so easy to forgive people for being cold, untrusting or jaded, after all we in the west would see it as human nature. The Cambodian’s have taught me that while the tragedies of the past play a role in our present lives they do not control us. If we allowed such events to dictate our daily lives we’d all be like looming black clouds on the horizon, ready to explode with uncontrollable fury at the hint of sadness.

2 comments:

  1. Really love the simple structure of this piece - it makes great reading.

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