Nov.5 – Day 16 – This morning we are off to the Cu Chi Tunnels, a sprawling network of tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the war. The tunnels held everything an army could need.
The entry door to the tunnels were hidden by grass and sometimes by man made, artificial termite mounds. My wife went down in to them. I do not care for tight, dark spaces. Let’s leave that alone, thank you.
Then we drove to the Cambodian border. It is a long walk across the divide to the Cambodian Side. There are cars and trucks passing by us as we walk. The buildings look like Thai architecture, but a little simpler in design. These two countries are neighbors and share many customs and even a bit of the language. The border crossings are always interesting, but sadly taking photos is usually prohibited. Interestingly, when crossing into one of the Central Asian countries, they took our temperature. What a good idea, considering our current situation. People cross over to work daily. We spent the night in Phnom Penh.
We are driving on a raised highway through beautiful rice fields in Cambodia this morning. The prudent members of the community have built their homes on stilts. The really smart ones have very tall stilts under their homes.
The better swimmers have built their homes closer to the water’s surface and have apparently decided to take their chances with the flood waters that are sure to come during the rainy season.
This country looks much like its neighbor, Vietnam. The empires of these countries have ebbed and flowed over the centuries and so the land now in Cambodia might have been in Vietnam years ago. The people look the same for the most part. That is to say that they run a range in hues of brown and roundness of their faces.
They are friendly and cheerful despite their difficult lives. Perhaps they know nothing different so are content to some degree.
Television does make the world smaller and shows different cultures how others live, but out in the country I suppose that television is the exception, not the rule.
Are they poor. Perhaps, by our standards. We live in a fantasy world, not the real world, for the most part. Perhaps they are richer for having time to enjoy a rural life and family ties. Do they want more? Perhaps, but perhaps they have enough for the moment and that is enough for the time being. There are mansions and shacks next to each other here.
Those mansions may be nearby reminders of what is possible, not a taunt from a wealthy neighbor.
It is all about how you see the world around you, not what you see.