Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Town Trip

It's midday and just returned from a tuc-tuc ride around the town which is still mostly flooded. Our man, Jam, negotiated the flooded streets without conking out once. Stopped on Pub Street, so called because (yes you guessed it) it's lined with bars and restaurants and beggars. Bought some beautiful silk scarves and tried to ignore the child mothers begging with their toddlers as sympathy bait. One stood by me for a long time trying to persuade me. I really wanted to help but I know that if I give to one, then they will all converge on you. She ended up cursing me which made me glad I didn't actually give her anything. Sad.

Our man Jam drove us around and we even met his grandfather and children in their home. Maybe that was contrived, but it didn't seem to be as there was no encouragement to see them. In fact it was I who asked to be shown his house after his kids came up to him. I should really tone down my cynicism and in this case I'm happy to give him the benefit of the doubt. The Cambodians seem far more open and relaxed and honest than more worldly wise tourist countries. I like them.

I was for the most part shooting with the 16mm full frame fish-eye lens today. The results are pretty arbitrary as it's a matter of pointing and firing while hoping for the best! On a quick review though, amongst the rubbish it looks like there are one or two interesting shots. I've been trying to capture the sense of the place with bikes, trucks and pedestrians all struggling through the narrow flooded streets.

After an hour of hopping about, my ankle eased up a lot and I found I could almost walk, albeit with a heavy limp. Now though it's tightened back up but at least we found a pharmacy and managed to buy some bandages and now it's strapped up. Somehow I have a feeling I'm going to pay for walking around this morning ...

The afternoon rains haven't materialised so the pool is getting some use! But the weather is building for a storm... Next to me is an elderly American who has traveled up through Vietnam and is busily filling a battered note book. I asked if he was a writer but he became very cagey about what he was actually doing. Travel writing for himself he says. There are a some strange or should I say rather interesting people about and around and a fair few drifting 'engaged' looking western girls in flowing robes. The place has a certain hippy feel to it. I'm reminded of Graham Green's book The Quiet American and Saigon of the fifties. It's laid back and undeveloped and there is the sense that anything can happen. I like that.


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