Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back-roads youngsters

Two slingshot specialists at Wat Mongkolborei pagoda
Beware a long-handled blade and a head-lock!
My Sunday jaunt along the back-roads from Phnom Penh to Phnom Baset was an immensely enjoyable break-out from the city and one which I hope to make a more regular event on my day off. I don’t expect every trip to be an interesting as this one but they are what you make them and if you make the effort to stop, chat and interact, then they will each be worth their weight in gold. On my Phnom Baset trip, I took some detours just to check out a few pagodas or potentially-interesting side roads and the real rewards are always the people I meet along the way. These photos are of some of the youngsters I encountered. The two boys, with their slingshot catapults, sauntered over to investigate me when I stopped at their pagoda, Wat Mongkolborei. They were doing what most young boys of their age do on a Sunday, nothing, so the funny foreigner with the silly hat and red nose was at least a diversion from trying to fell one of the pagoda’s pigeons. The two girls, the eldest one armed with a knife, were in a field next to a Chinese cemetery full of those distinctive graves you can see dotted around the countryside. They were dismantling a tree-stump, piece by piece and were glad of the distraction, though I did wonder when the elder of the two grabbed the younger one in a head-lock! The final photo is of two bracelet sellers at my lunch-time stop in one of the food-stalls surrounding the gaudy Angkor Wat replica at Wat Nokor Vimean Suor. Their sales patter was so sweet, how could I refuse.
Bracelet mister, any colour, good price...

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