Familiar Territory

Current Location:Hong Kong, China

On leaving Cambodia for the second time I’ve realized that it’s quite important to be aware of the history of a country and to be conscious of what we do and how we behave as tourists in these countries.  What really bothered me upon leaving is tourists wearing the red Krama (Krama is the traditional Cambodian scarf.)   On the surface it seems that it’s quite harmless to wear something as trivial as a red scarf, but in this case it’s the symbol of the Khmer Rouge, and on the way back to Thailand I saw more than one tourist wearing these scarves.  I’m not sure if these people were aware of the symbolism of these garments but I find that little excuse for what they are portraying .  I believe it’s our responsibility as travelers to be educated and aware of what we do in someone elses home and to be as insensitive as to promote something as terrible as the Khmer Rouge is enough to make my blood boil.  I’m not sure where I learned about the red scarf but it was something I knew about far before I set foot in Cambodia and while I see locals still wearing these garments, it’s something that is somewhat understandable as almost all of the educated population was eradicated in the 70’s leaving just the peasants and a few of the educated population.

All of the ranting is probably exascerbated by the fact that I visited S21 for a second time, again on the day before leaving the country.  I re-read all the stories and looked again at all the pictures on the wall and tried again to understand how a human being can try to kill all of his brothers and sisters.   It’s not something I enjoy doing but like I wrote earlier it’s important to understand the history of a place as a responsible traveler.  On leaving a second time I realized I enjoy the place quite a bit and there is a more than better chance I go back there, not sure in what capacity but probably not a tourist for a while.

Back in Hong Kong for my 4th trip here and things are incredibly familiar, from the people to the food and everything in between.  I’ve already had to loosen the belt one notch since arriving thanks to Homers family treating better than good.  Most meals typically have more than 10 dishes and go on far longer than I’m really comfortable eating.  I’ve put away the camera for a while as most of the pictures would be a re-hash of the last trip but I’ll wander around a few days and snap pictures to try and give a better idea of what a day in the life of Hong Kong might be.  Up until this point all we have worried about is where dinner might be in 3 days time or where lunch will be tomorrow, I know it’s quite silly but I’ve done most everything in Hong Kong and typically while a way the afternoon wandering around the streets people watching.  I really do love the food culture here in Hong Kong.  No where else have I visited before is food so central to every day life.  It’s literally found everywhere you look whether it be a food stall, someone eating, a restaurant, or a street vendor cooking something quite random.  And you also have to appreciate the fact that the Chinese waste nothing when it comes to food, this time I got to enjoy ducks’ tongues for lunch.

All of this food leaves me to believe I was probably Chinese in a previous life.

3 Replies to “Familiar Territory”

  1. I am so pleased that you are so aware about the red scarves and Cambodia. I have always considered it a privilege to travel. To me, it is just common sense to respect and honor the country you visit. Good that you have that mindset.
    Much Aloha,
    Aunty Karen

  2. We continue to enjoy your thoughts as you travel and what sights and treats are most startling and comforting to you. We are in Michigan visiting Louie, Sandra and grandson Quinten. Louie has a friend over in Thailand who is there, biking for about 5 months. Continue the adventure….

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