I’ve spent a lot of time on the day buses here in Cambodia. I’ve seen the indescribably extensive amount of trash littering every single inch of dirt along the roads, in the cities and sometimes in the restaurants. Papers, wrappers, cans, bottles, tickets, plastic, socks, shoes, shirts, food garbage, leaf clippings, composting itself under the feet of the oblivious locals. I see them sweeping up the dust in front of their shops or houses more than I see them pick up the rubbish. It’s not like the ground has become trash, but it seems to be moving in that direction in certain places, especially markets, or roadside stops. Despite the trash situation, it isn’t completely without charm. Some of that trash gets burned in random fires, producing a not-unlikeable, but definitely polluting smell. The smell is comforting in an unpleasant way. Smoke surrounds the road in some places, not the seemingly edible smoke of BBQ’s, but a mixture of plastic, palm leaves and cardboard. The houses are all on stilts, giving an extra room, that is purely shade, usually with a few hammocks. Small shops wait with supplies of strange chips, and always Pringles, sugary or salty treats, squid jerky and selected beers. Trotting along in my Tuk-Tuk at about 30 mph, I caught pictures in a bouncy manner, so they are purely glimpses of the street.
Every Wednesday, many blogs post a wordless photo to speak for itself.
The largest religious building in the world, Angkor Wat, contains intricate stone carvings, wide vistas of the surrounding jungle, beautiful symmetry, peaceful gardens, a creation of immense proportions. The pictures are famous. Perhaps you’ve seen the sunrise, or the crumbling rocks, the dancing nude ladies or the growling lions, but, I bet you never saw these pictures! I decided to surprise tourists with impromptu portraits during a break in the shade. Some are happy to be involved, others not interested, some don’t notice, others skeptical of my intentions. I didn’t ask where they were from, but that might have been a fun test to see what country in this random sampling was most represented, but my guess is there may not be any repeats.
I had a great time with this little project. Some people asked me, “Why?” I replied, “Everyone knows what Angkor Wat looks like, not everybody knows what you look like!” They are all on vacation, some fulfilling a life-long dream to stand and gaze at the magnificence of these 11th century sandstone towers. Some are making a religious pilgrimage. Some are just sweating profusely. But no one was rude or curt. I thanked all who participated in this little lark.
And here are some actual photos of the temple in case you don’t know what it looks like!
The barbershop, a place for men to be themselves.
This little girl almost certainly lives on the streets every night. Her mom was begging. There was a large cardboard area situated near some unidentified junk.
Fried Chicken Heads. Can’t imagine much meat on those tiny little things!
This man is using a jackhammer without shoes on an open street.
She started to hold up the baby to me like Michael Jackson held up Blanket on that balcony to the press. They were waving and smiling as soon as they saw the camera.
They’re not impressed by the camera. They were at the night market nibbling steamed corn. Right after we left these kids, we found a kitten stuck in a trash bag style glue trap for rats. A local helped us get gloves and some gasoline. We soaked the glue off the cat and washed him. The man who helped us took away the little cat after and said, “Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.”
A local tuk-tuk driver named Chay.
I was trying to get a nice one with the flowers and the monk walked right into my shot. I love this picture!
They were talking very animatedly and trying to get noticed. They posed with “V” signs instantly. I asked him if his shirt was the Led Zeppelin logo, he took off his backpack and showed me the Charmed logo. He was into the old WB vampress show I guess.
I noticed how calm everyone seemed beside the big, peaceful lake in the middle of this southern highland city of Vietnam. The monochrome complements the serene healing power of being near large bodies of water.
They offered me a beer, but it was only noon…and they were pretty deep already! Plus, I think they would have enjoyed the warm Saigon beer more than me anyway.
The guy on the right was quite keen on getting a good shot and asked to see the picture before I left.
Baking like a lizard on the sidewalk.
They were too comfortable to even turn around as I approached.
I like that they kept their helmets on to chill. The flowers in the tree were a pretty, deep purple.
You could just barely see her eyes between the paddie hat and the smog mask.
These guys were hanging out laughing and whistling at chicks. They offered me some tea, I had a buzz for the next hour from it. Not sure what kind of tea it was, but it was strong.
Getting in some chilling time before hustling the tourists.
This guy was talking so loudly, and bits of food were flying from his mouth.
Working hard or hardly working? To be fair, it was 9:15, so maybe coffee break time.
The “easy-riders” all want to take you around and show you the “real Vietnam.” This guy was very persistent.
She’s quite attractive, friendly and I like purple.
He saw me with my camera and held up this rather ordinary crab. The market stunk like sour meat, seafood and sweat.
She was not pleased with this picture. She immediately began yelling to her superior after I took this.
The kid finally waved to me as I was walking away.
They were laughing as soon as I took out my camera as if I just told a joke.
Love her expression.
Genuine smiles when I popped in their hardware shop.
Hanging with her vegetables in the shade.