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Thank you for re-broadcasting Scott Carrier's piece on Cambodia. It was an excellent outline of the themes that travelers are confronted with there, and brought back a flood of memories for me.

I went to Cambodia alone last summer as part of an extended trip through Southeast Asia. Friends and family cautioned me against it, but travelers I met in Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok assured me that if I was careful I would be fine. The rewards were well worth the risk. The coutryside is lush and beautiful, and the people are extraordinarily friendly despite the hardships and tragedy of their daily lives.

Here are some of the unforgettable, only-in-Cambodia experiences I had that await your listeners if they go:

-- Being invited by new Cambodian friends to stay in the National Park after closing and drink Angkor beer while the full moon rises over Angkor Wat.

-- Spending an afternoon sitting on the back steps of Angkor Wat talking with teenage Buddhist monks curious about everything American.

-- Watching millions of bats swarm out from under the eaves of the National Museum in Pnomh Penh at dusk and disappear over the Mekong River.

-- Bribing Pnomh Penh policemen just to get back to the hotel, and being awakened at night by automatic weapons fire in the street directed at someone who refused to stop and pay.

-- Talking with my guide in Pnomh Penh over dinner about the nightmarish experiences of his childhood and the hope he has for his son's future.

-- After touring Tuol Sleng prison, the irony of vibrant green rice, blue skies and the smiles of children along the road to the Killing Fields, the piles of skulls in the memorial there, and walking among washed up human bones in the paths.

Cambodia is not a place for the faint of heart, but if one of your motivations for traveling is to explore the mystery, tragedy and beauty of human experience, there's no better place to go.


David Minneapolis, MN


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