It is not a big secret that I enjoy taking pictures of people and her is a selection. Please note that not all are nice-looking girls.
I don’t think we met anyone who called the city anything but Saigon.
Honestly the city did not make any special impression on me. I have found out I don’t like big cities, especially if they try to be western.
What did make an impression on me was the number of motorcycles and it looked they had their own traffic rules, red light were not for them, sidewalks were great to drive on.
The capital of Cambodia is of course Phnom Penh. The city was not impressive in itself, but two sites made impression on me: The Royal Palace and S-21.
S-21 is the old school where Khmer Rouge had an interrogating an torture institution. It was too awful so I did not even consider to take pictures inside the building. I took three outside, of the main building, a statue and of one of the two that survived S-21.
I had a conversation with a Cambodian that really illustrated that I was in a different culture. I asked why Pol Pot was not taken to any court. He answered that since they believed in incarnation and that what you did and how you lived in one life decided in form a person would be reborn in, Pol Pot would be very hard punished in his next life. To be fair, he added that they were not able to find an impartial court.
A huge contrast to S-21 was the Royal Palace. It was several buildings and we did not see all of them. But the silver pagoda was spectacular.
The floor was silver plates, but they were covered with carpets.
It seemed that any town had at least one market, the big cities had many. We visited quite a few, my be too many as they look much alike.
Here is a selection of pictures from some markets.
How about living frogs tied together.
or living fish
Some shops seemed to be quite chaotic and unorganized
others had more system with their merchandise
This group of laughing people sold me T-shirts, and they “love you so much” I got 20% discount! (not the one with “Brooklyn” on, but with Saigon)
We visited many small workshops were various handicraft products were made. Most of the products were based on tradition. Often they were very detailed and demanded a lot of hours an professionalism.
Stone carving was clearly important with the background in religion, Angkor and purely decoration.
One village had silver as their specialty and again I was amazed by the details and the exactness in the work.
Bracelets were sold in the workshops, but also in the streets. I had a nice talk with this salesperson, and yes, I also bought something from her.
Another specialty was inlay of either mother of pearl or shells from geese. I think that was the most detailed work I have ever seen. and the products were stunning. These two are old in an old house where a Chinese family had lived.
But we visited a workshop that produced inlay items in the old style, but also more modern design. Paintings were also part of their products.
Traditional mats woven with straw were produced in what they called a factory. The definition of factory seemed to be if they had electric motors, but manhours were the main factor.
I was really impressed by the quality of the products and the competence of the craftsmen. But I doubt if an inspection of Worker’s safety would come of favorable for the workshops.
We visited a small village a bit inland to see the harvesting of palm oil. We were introduced to an elderly man who had as his responsibility to harvest palm oil from the top of 25 palm trees. He was a man full of smiles and laughter.
He climbed a tree for us with his containers made of bamboo.
Then the oil was “refined” by boiling.
Then it could be taken to the market to be sold, and again with bamboo containers and on a bicycle.
The pottery production was equally primitive, they did not even have a proper turntable.
But everything was done with a smile and it was actually quite impressive what they produced.