Expedition to Cambodia by Ruth Walsh
We stayed in wonderful colonial hotels and enjoyed beautiful meals and we visited many special places but there are some memories of this place that linger on.
For me it was an adventure, an expedition to the heartland of the Khmer people and a country that has seen conquests and strife, whose history extends further back than we can imagine.
We had left our hotel at 3:00am and driven through the darkness to see the sunrise over the ancient tree-root covered 12th century Ta Prohm. The buildings seemed to pulse and hum as we explored this quiet and special place. Chickens and roosters came out as the light gradually grew but we were alone.
My enduring memories of this trip are of the of the people met in a remote village nearby, a small family who rarely come across western visitors.
These people lived in small corrugated iron structures and had no access to clean water – our travel group funded the digging of a well for them and it is wonderful to think that such a small thing for us can make a difference to lives of others.
The blessing we received from the young monk again a moment that will stay with me.
Our journey took us across country through driving monsoonal rain to meet our boat that was to take us to Song Saa Island – through this rain! – past vast factories, the workers who spend their days toiling in the sweatshops that supply our retailers. Streams of hundreds of young women and girls were coming out in the rain, their shift over.
Other memories of sitting in a cart of a bullock driver, again on the way to visit a local village, the animals stolidly trudging through the mud and the “bullocky” speaking to the animals in grunts.
I believe that travel is an adventure, an experience which always has an impact on those who travel and those whom we meet. Cambodia was one such journey for me.