We are in Cambodia on a working holiday this week. Pam’s working and I’m on holiday. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was in Phnom Penh, but it was over a year ago, and there have been some changes. For starters the place is a lot cleaner. There is a lot of new building, and the reconstruction of the riverfront is now complete, and it looks very nice. We had a nice lunch at the FCC (Foreign Correspondence Club) down by the water and took a stroll in the late afternoon just to enjoy the view.
But they still have tuk-tuks, and it still costs no more than two American dollars to go anywhere in town. We love tuks, and not just because they are cheap. We love them because they are open all around and they don’t go too fast so you can take in what is going on around you. And you can’t take ten steps in this city without being asked if you want a tuk. Okay, that can get annoying, that is true. But we walk miles in KL looking for cabs, so the convenience is pretty nice.
Pam booked us a room at the Billabong, a nice little hotel in the heart of the city with a pool and a tiny clean room for 35 dollars. It was here that we met Lewis and Kristen Burke, a nice missionary couple from Tennesee who have been running an orphanage in Kampot in the south of Cambodia for nine years. We had a good talk about the perils of importing Western missionary ideology into the midst of Asian poverty. They have had their share of Asian families trying to sell their children to the orphanage or denying parentage – basically orphaning their own child – to get them into American hands.
It is not the worse thing that happens to children in this country, but it is part of the problem. Pam will be meeting with part of the team she is working with while we are here. But for the next couple of days we are going to get some rest and relaxation in Sihanoukville, on the coast.