Thursday, November 08, 2007

That elusive photograph

I tend to believe that everyone likes the quintessential photo of the lone boy sitting on a water buffalo surrounded by hectares of bright green paddy fields. Unfortunately, its a picture that's always managed to elude me despite my exhaustive travels across this beautiful country. I always seem to see the opportunity in the distance and when I get close, the boy usually dismounts or turns away at the moment of truth. Its happened so many times that I'm definitely jinxed when it comes to that photograph. Anyway, here's a shot of four boys astride a headless water buffalo no less - which is their version of four schoolkids on a moto in Phnom Penh. The picture was taken on a recent trip to Ratanakiri province which I will tell you about pretty soon. As for the boy's mount, for a moment I was hoping it was a rare and camera-shy kouprey - fat chance - and indeed it turned out to be a bog-standard water buffalo munching on grass and leaves. I will continue my search for the elusive boy on a water buffalo!

Newsy bits... AFP tells us that tourist arrivals into Cambodia are up 19% for the first three quarters of 2007 compared to the same period last year, with 2 million visitors expected by the end of this year. Cambodia is still waiting for its own national airline carrier, with talks still underway with two rival companies, in which the Cambodian government will hold a 30% stake. Several attempts to form a national airline have failed since Royal Air Cambodge, the country's last carrier, collapsed in 2001 under the weight of mounting financial debts. Meanwhile, the Cambodian public are grumbling at a recent 10% hike in gasoline & diesel prices - I was given an ear-bashing about it at lunchtime yesterday by some of my colleagues who own cars. I wasn't sure why they directed their tirade towards me, maybe they think I have links to those in power!

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