Phnom Penh, Sunrise Over The Mekong
Cambodia, Phnom Penh The Mekong Sunrise

Ask any expat here, and they will say they have a love/hate relationship with Cambodia. The wonder of the country can be summed up with one word: freedom. Of course, it is only applicable to those who accidentally stumbled upon these shores, got the Cambodian fever and chose to stay in a place which forgives you pretty much anything.

This expression from one of the regular (and well known) visitors to the Kingdom describes the weirdness perfectly:

That’s what makes Cambodia a fascinating place. The most successful pizza place is owned by a registered child sex offender, the most successful foreign lawyer failed the bar exam in the U.S. four times, the best Western doctor was arrested for sodomizing teenage boys, the best detective in the country was convicted of corruption in Australia, and the self-described safest boat in Cambodia has no fucking railings.

Cambodia will let you renew your visa indefinitely, and this can be done in most motorbike hire shops. THE easiest visa regime in the world attracts some folks who would be denied entry to most other countries.

In Cambodia ten year olds ride motorbikes, often carrying two or three other kids precariously hanging on to one another on the back of the moto.

In Cambodia a seventy year old Westerner can have a twenty year old sponsored ‘girlfriend’, which is completely acceptable.

Cambodian tuk tuk drivers will let you decide the ride fair IF they like you. They will say ‘Up to you’.

In Cambodia both locals and Westerners occasionally wander around stark naked, and this doesn’t raise a brow.

In Cambodia ‘tea money’ and good connections will get you out of most kinds of trouble.

Cambodian drivers will simply get up back to their feet, lift their motorbike and will keep on riding after a collision with another driver. That is, of course, if they are not dead as a result.

In Cambodia you might go in for a normal massage and get a full on intercourse if you are agreeable, irrespective of whether you are male or female.

In Cambodia many Western inhabitants (expats) have dark secrets they left behind and would like to forget.

Having said all that, Cambodia gets under one’s skin, leaves a mark and keeps one enthralled and… wondering. As I wrote to Jed ‘It is real here’. It is real because it doesn’t hide what a human truly is.

Burnt Orange Geader