Ok so this is long overdue. I wanted to take my time with this post because 1) there were so many images to go through 2) it was difficult narrowing down my favourites and 3) Cambodia and the people I’m connected to there are things I hold close to my heart and I wanted this post to be more than just a large display of vacation photos. This trip definitely had its interesting moments including my cousin’s car falling in the rice field ditch, the massive flooding that left us briefly stranded on the streets of Siem Reap and a flooded iPhone that then only functioned as a music player with no display. Ahh yes, good times! As frustrating as it was at the time, I knew the images were going to make a great story. Actually, I think I spent more time laughing about it and photographing things while my parents and cousins just got annoyed at the situation ha ha.
So a little background info. I am what I like to call “Camese”, a happy mixture of Cambodian and Vietnamese. My dad’s entire family actually still reside in Cambodia in the small village of Chipou while my mother’s side all live here in Canada. We don’t get to visit my family in Cambodia often so any trip there is important. Prior to my first visit a few years ago, I only heard of stories of what it was like there and only knew of this other side of my family through outdated photos. I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to see, learn, and experience first hand how my parents lived and how my family lives now. I’m not the type that wants to go back to a hotel and watch tv, I want to sleep on the oversized bamboo table outside and listen to my parents, relatives, cousins, and their neighbours talk about life. There’s an amazing sense of community among the people in the village and I feel like community plays such an important role in Cambodian culture. I’ve always grown up with tons of people around me. I had the real aunts, the sort of aunts, the cousins but not really, a family friend I called uncle just because he was an older man and all those fun characters. As a child, falling asleep to loud chatter was always much more comforting than silence. I’m glad my family made the conscious effort to teach us, the younger generation, the customs and traditions of our culture. How could I fully understand my world and who I am without knowing where I’ve come from? I loved being back and I wish the trips were more frequent. We don’t get to see our family there nearly enough.
So this is Cambodia. This is a large part of who I am. I tried my best to capture things from a local perspective, to give insight on everyday life seen beyond air conditioned hotels and shiny aviators bought for $4. Aside from the images taken at Angkor Wat, you probably won’t find most of these places on a colourful map found at the airport. :)
Now if you’ve read all the way through, thanks. If you’ve scrolled down to the end, well thanks for being so excited about my photos :). Either way, I hope you enjoy this post! I promise part 2 won’t be as long but still filled with lots of eye candy. Enjoy!