Sitting on a multicolored slat swinging bench overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, the sun warms my lower legs. An occasional light breeze whips open magazines lying about. The murmer of Kmer in the distance intermixed with the garden hose watering plants. Forks ding plates and pans meet water in the kitchen, where ladies cook over an open flame whatever you choose off their menu. Earlier, Carrie and I shared a veggie curry with rice, which took about thirty minutes to arrive but was filled with fresh green pumpkin, potatoes, baby corn and green beans. It was as divine as any we’ve ordered.
A motorbike rumbles quietly as the boy-driver directs it up the hill. Coasting down again, I wonder where is this guy going over and over again? After one trip to the top, he and another man loaded a box with books and what not, then took off again.
I’m in the town of Kep, in the province of Kompot, in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
The rooster crows. Again and again.
What is that knocking noise? Are they building a house?
We wonder what the true history is on this tiny fishing village, which was described as “a ghost town until recently” by our guidebooks. I wanted to ask the boy who checked us in (the only one who speaks English at our guesthouse, “Vanna Bungalows”) but it is hard to know what questions to ask. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The Cambodian people smile with their eyes. The tiniest tots will say hello from their parents’ hips. Yesterday one little boy blew kisses at Carrie and me after waving to us first with his mini hand.
It’s hard to believe what horrors most of those people have witnessed. And what is the role of the United States in their history? We’ve been to museums, read books, watched “The Killing Fields” and yet I guess you never really understand these things, but you have to try.
I wondered today, “When will I get sick of Asia?” I’ve been here just shy of two months. I’m still trying to understand things. The joys of a new bug, a successful bus ride, a visit to the post office, a new taste happen daily. I’ll keep traveling and learning until the joy disappears.