I’ve mostly finished telling the story of my family’s visit to Cambodia last November, but there are a few more things I wanted to write (this post) and a few more pictures that I wanted to show (the next two posts).


A word of thanks…

My brother and sister-in-law and nephew hosted our ordinary family of five and the parents/grandparents for two whole weeks. I know it was tiring, but we really appreciated it. As two months of blog posts should show, it was wonderful. Thanks!

Also, thanks to my parents-in-law for helping us to get there. ūüôā


What would I have done differently?

In general, I might have been a little less paranoid about what I ate and drank. Then again, my digestive system had two “interesting” weeks anyway. Nevertheless, those interesting weeks are nearly forgotten now (just like the sunburn/iced coffee incident from eleven years ago).

However, I have thought of three specific things that I would change:

  • A group photo with my brother-in-law’s host family –¬†One of my fondest memories is the meal that we ate in Mesang. Eleven years ago we took a photo with everyone, but this time we didn’t get one before we left. But family ties are important, and I’m sorry that we forgot to take that picture. This one ranks first on the list.
  • Exploring all of Ta Prohm –¬†While my family was exploring this wonderful and mysterious temple, I was looking for a geocache¬†in one corner of the place. I wasn’t able to find the cache, and I missed seeing some of the best parts of the temple. Now it turns out that the geocache wasn’t even there anymore. (In some ways, that’s a good thing. I hate it when I can’t find something that actually is there.) This would be a bigger regret, but I saw the temple during our last visit before¬†it was made famous by “Tomb Raider”.
  • A visit to Tuol Sleng – Perhaps you may find this odd. Why would I want to visit this notorious prison? To be sure, I had no desire to take my girls there. But as for myself, I wish, in some small way, to remember the lives the were lost, both in the prison and also throughout the country.

What has changed in eleven years?

Ordinary Spouse, her parents, and I visited Cambodia in January of 2001. Many things were as we remembered them. For example, Phnom Penh has a distinctive smell all its own. I think it’s a mixture of prahok, cooking fires, incense, traffic, and other random hints of city life.

But there were a few things that have changed…

  • The main roads were better – We could drive to Siem Reap this time. Last time, it was plane or boat.
  • Cell phone coverage seemed to be everywhere – Even on Lake Tonl√© Sap.
  • Internet access is impressive¬†(at least in some places) – The Guests Complacent have faster speeds than we do.
  • “Lexus” is a status symbol – It seemed like everyone who could afford a car wanted to drive a Lexus.
  • Siem Reap felt more “tourist-y”¬†–¬†Interestingly, Phnom Penh didn’t feel very different to me.
  • The country as a whole felt a bit more stable¬†– The last time we were there, the country was only a few years removed from some significant government upheaval.

Up next: A few more random bits

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