The Charm of Cambodia
There’s a sweet sparkle to the people that draws you in.The young man who picked us up at the airport was the introduction. He was slender and tall, his fingers looked as long as my entire hand. He spoke so softly, you’d think he was trying to not disrupt someone else–but there was no one else around. He moved slowly, like a grazing gazelle without a worry. He wore long pants and a long-sleeve button down shirt, but didn’t sweat or complain about the heat (which would have been fruitless anyway). He helped us with our bags and wished us a pleasant stay.
The woman who greeted us treated us like long lost family who only knows you from genealogical trees and postcards, but they welcome you as if you’ve known each other forever. She told us so much about the town and the country and the people and the temples that we finally had to tell her that we’d been traveling all day from Malaysia and really just needed to take a nap. She gushed and smiled and it was apparent that she just wanted to help us and make sure we knew everything. Her eyes were a deep brown and there always seemed to be a moisture to them as if she was either sad or practically crying with joy. We saw and spoke with her everyday and were sad, all of us, to leave.Our Tuk Tuk driver told us about his kids and his daughter in university in Phnom Penh and about his loan from the bank for the Tuk Tuk. He was gracious, genuine and a pleasure to be around.
The young boy who did the bike tours was fun, funny and likable. The boy who was studying hotel management who was now working at the restaurant of the hotel was sweet and innocent and interested.
It seems almost everyone we met had a charm about them that seemed to emanate from being Cambodian. They have a modest pride of their country, a keen interest in where you come from and they do an excellent job of finding the balance between the two.
Rarely does a people so overwhelmingly convince you that you are visiting such a friendly nation. Visit Cambodia if you’re heading to South East Asia and are looking for a friendly, warm (OK, scorching hot) and charming country.