Holiday in Cambodia
Trip Start Aug 28, 2008
48Trip End Jan 24, 2013
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It's tough, kid, but it's life
It's a holiday in Cambodia
Don't forget to pack a wife.'
So sang the Dead Kennedys in 1979.
Although only a schoolboy at the time, I seem to recall the troubles in Cambodia quite well. Stories of the murderous Khmer Rouge and its crazed leader Pol Pot seemed familiar to me and then I remembered that my middle school had organised a charity relief program for the 'boat people'. It was Mrs Ainsworth, the head of year, who encouraged us to understand their plight and do something actively to help
Years later, the Killing Fields, a gritty drama about the genocide was released and the memories came flooding back. It seemed difficult to comprehend that this was happening in my life time and that, as well as the Holocaust which we were studying in History, this would also be featured in future school syllabuses.
Time passes and memories of the Khmer Rouge were soon distant ones, in fact thoughts of Cambodia in general had dissipated punctuated only briefly by the sordid antics of an ageing, fading rock star that made tabloid headlines and sickened the British public.
I was living in Vietnam and hopping over Cambodia fairly regularly on my way to Thailand, I had been near the Cambodian border often during my trips in Vietnam but had never ventured into it. However, realising the geographical proximity and relative ease of red-tape necessary added to the fact that Angkor Wat was calling, I planned a Cambodia trip! Besides, I owed my wife a honeymoon.
Itineraries were drawn up, flights booked and the plan was to travel to Siem Reap for Christmas, move down to the beaches of Kep for some R/R and then finish off the year in Phnom Penh.