On the morning of November 29th, it felt like our time in Cambodia was drawing to an end much too quickly. We were still in Kampong Som, and the girls were eager to keep swimming for as long as they could. Middle Daughter went with Ordinary Spouse to the ocean, so that MD could perfect her body surfing technique. (The waves were never more than a foot, but hey — they don’t have to be large when you’re young.) Oldest Daughter, Youngest Daughter, and I stayed at the hotel pool. But by late morning, we needed to be checked out of our rooms. Since we were expecting our driver after lunch, the hotel graciously stowed our luggage for us while we took the opportunity to eat at Happy Herb Pizza one last time. But very soon we were on the National Road #4 back to Phnom Penh…

Orchids at the Orchidee Guesthouse

We bid a fond farewell to the Orchideé Guesthouse

The family van

And pile into the family van…

The long road back to Phnom Penh

For the long trip back to Phnom Penh.

Actually, it didn’t feel like an overly long trip. We stopped at Pech Nil pass to stretch our legs, as we did a few days earlier when we were driving in the other direction. I bought some dried jackfruit chips to try. They were tasty!

Jackfruit chips

Jackfruit chips: “The dried products are very delicious, crisp, and fit for all ages.” (So says the back of the bag.)

There were at least two interesting things that we saw during the trip home.  One was the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. This is the place, also known as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, where Khmer Rouge leaders are being tried for breaking Cambodian and international law during the mid and late 1970s – over 30 years ago. In fact, it was while we were in Cambodia that Case #002 was opened. There are three defendants, including Nuon Chea – the second in command during the Khmer Rouge years.

To be clear, we did not visit the court. We simply drove by it. But it was a reminder to me of the complexities that still exist within Cambodian society and of the difficulties in working toward reconciliation. (When we got home, there was an issue of The Economist waiting for me that commented a bit on these issues – there may never be a Case #003. Soon thereafter, the Phnom Penh Post had some interesting articles offering contrasting viewpoints from two of the actors: “Vietnam blame game” vs. “A search for redemption“. Of course, this is an ongoing story with additional news since then. I’ll let you search for more if you’re interested.)

The other thing of interest was trucks crammed full of women. Truck after truck went by, and it soon became clear that we were passing near an industrial area – in this case, garment factories for Adidas or Wal-Mart or some other large corporation. I’d like to reflect just a little more on this in another blog post, so I’ll stop for now.

It was getting dark by the time we got to Phnom Penh, and I had some fun experimenting with long exposure photographs of traffic through the front window of the van…

Supper was waiting when we got home – another wonderful meal from The Guests Complacent’s cook. Pancakes stuffed with sprouts, lettuce, cucumbers, mint, and dipping sauce.

Pancakes and sprouts


After the girls were in bed, the packing began for the trip back to the United States. We’re down to about twenty-four hours…

Up next: Thoughts on jackfruit chips, clothing factories, and Advent