Keiichi Iwasaki's around the world

Kingdom of Cambodia

At the border between Vietnam and Cambodia, there was no river, no mountains, nothing but a flat plain with a magnificent gate.

[phot]Vietnam and Cambodia boarder

I couldn’t help but think,

“Isn’t this an easy way to smuggle people in?”

The immigration process went without a hitch, and I remembered the last time I entered Vietnam, when I entered Cambodia, and I thought to myself

“there will be a lot of taxi men waiting for me again”,

but when I left the immigration, there was no one outside, there was no city, the area was quiet, and there was only one road stretching out.

[phot]only one road stretching out

The road, which I had been told was not paved, was well paved, which was a pleasant surprise.

There was nothing on either side of the road, which made the sky look even bigger than it was. The road was straight and there was no need to worry about getting lost, so I pedalled my bike under the blue sky.

After a while, I started to see houses on stilts, clearly different from those in Vietnam.

“A town?” I thought , but it was not, it was more like a village, just a cluster of houses.

It was very hot during the day in Cambodia, so I took a “rest” in the shade of a tree, and people came up to me, as if foreigners were rare.

They spoke to me, but the language changed again, this time it was Cambodian.

The word “Japanese” in English is similar to the word “Japanese” in non-Chinese languages, so people usually understand me.

I also understood that they were asking where I was going, so I said

“Phnom Penh”,

the name of the capital. A young man playing a game of cards some distance away brought a bottle of orange juice and offered it to me.

The meaning of this is “give”, but it could also be taken as “buy”.

In Vietnam I am a bit more cautious about accepting what is offered to me, because I will be charged for it later. I was wary for a moment, because I felt that the young man was not asking me to buy, but to drink, drink.

I held out my hand, took it and sipped the juice. The young man held out his hand and went back to his card game without asking for money.

I turned to the young man and said “Thank you” so that he could be heard.

Now another man with a beard asked,

“Have you eaten?”

I replied honestly,


“You are going to Phnom Penh by bicycle, it will take you two days, take this with you”,

he said, buying a lot of potatoes from a nearby potato seller and handing them to me.

[phot]They gave me local potato

In Vietnam, I had never seen such an act of giving money directly from one’s own wallet to a tourist, but after entering Cambodia, it happened continuously.

“The scenery hasn’t changed much, but people’s way of thinking is definitely different”, I thought.

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