Village Life

lao border 2 pics

I just finished writing Plato’s American Cave on my other blog and it reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write about village life in Sihanoukville for a long time. Really, though, I’ve been wanting to write about village life, as opposed to city life, in general, because it’s a subject that’s dear to my heart. What is Village Life? By “village life,” I mean a way of life that is vanishing. Villages in the … Continue reading

The Sun Shines in Sihanoukville!


The sun shines in Sihanoukville at last! It’s 3:00 on the third straight day of sunny weather. Normally, that wouldn’t be news, but June, July and the first week of August were some of the rainiest I can remember. I usually like the rainy season, but it was wearing thin after two months. For us here in Sihanoukville, it was just an inconvenience, but in flood-prone parts of Cambodia, things got serious. Saturday started off … Continue reading

Nice day at the beach. Genocide in Gaza.

otres beach, sihanoukville, cambodia

One of Sihanoukville’s claims to fame is that it was the scene of the last battle of the Vietnam War. Not long after I came here in 2007, I saw evidence of it when road workers dug up an unexploded bomb. Or maybe it was just one of the 2.4 million tons of bombs the U.S. dropped on Cambodia during the Vietnam War. At any rate, that may be one of the reasons why I … Continue reading

Cambodian Leaders’ Historic Handshake


I wanted to make my 200th entry special and nothing is more special than this. Since the last election, Cambodia has been in a state of tension. Compared with other flashpoints around the world, it hasn’t been serious, but there has been violence. Once violence takes hold, it usually escalates. In my last post, I reported that the CPP and CNRP came to an agreement to hold a 2018 election in exchange for a new … Continue reading

Some encouraging news about political tension in Cambodia


I’m happy to report some encouraging news about the political tension in Cambodia for a change. Although other news has justifiably dominated and been distorted by the world headlines, Cambodia had a minor crisis recently when some demonstrators attacked guards in Phnom Penh. The government arrested CNRP leaders in response. The CNRP focused on this “transgression” rather than condemning the violence by its supporters, but that’s to be expected from any opposition group. Some CNRP … Continue reading

How to be a tourist in Sihanoukville in the rainy season

palm beach sihanoukville 01

I was a tourist in Sihanoukville today. I didn’t just feel like a tourist. For a couple of hours, it totally slipped my mind that I was in a familiar place. The fact that I went some place new probably had something to do with it. I was heading towards Papa Pippo’s or Mushroom Point, but when I came to the bend in the road at Otres, decided to turn right instead and check out … Continue reading

What is Fuelling Growth in Sihanoukville?

What is fuelling growth in Sihanoukville? Is it tourism? That’s what most visitors guess, but it’s only one answer. True enough, there’s been an explosion of tourism here, but step away from the tourist areas and you’ll see where most of the growth is coming from. A couple of weeks ago, we took our evening motorbike ride in the opposite direction we usually travel. Instead of heading towards Ochheuteal beach, we went straight up Ekareach … Continue reading

What we did in Sihanoukville between rains

nature republic in sihanoukville cambodia

I like the rainy season in Sihanoukville, but you have to learn how to take advantage of breaks in the rain or you’ll either be stuck indoors all day or find yourself trapped in a sudden downpour. I’d like to say I was an expert at predicting when rains will or won’t come, but it’s really unpredictable. There are some signs you can sort of count on, though. For example, this morning was cloudy, but … Continue reading

A balanced article about Cambodian politics at last

sam rainsy

Update 26 June 2014: Please read insightful comment by CA below. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m not a big fan of mainstream media. That includes publications like the Phnom Penh Post, whose journalists don’t know how to write balanced articles about Cambodian politics. I only quote them when something appears that is too annoying or misleading to ignore. I’m usually dubious about articles I read on human rights websites, too, unless they … Continue reading

My first days in Sihanoukville

far end of ochheuteal beach, sihanoukville, cambodia, 2006

I’ve been cleaning out my drawers in anticipation of the arrival of a new and much-needed desk and office chair. I’ve collected an astonishing amount of unneeded papers over the years and was tempted to simply turn the drawers over and dispose of everything. Luckily, I didn’t, because I stumbled across some real gems amongst the rubbish. One of them was a diary I started in Ho Chi Minh City in September of 2006 and … Continue reading