Further Adventures in Takeo

The local festival was great!

Centered around a Buddhist temple in a rural Cambodian field, the festival was a mixture of cultural celebration and old-fashioned carnival. On one side, you had a group of monks and praying villagers, and on the other you had a midway of darts, balloons, and busy food stalls. There were a few mechanical rides up front, as well as a screen with movies playing and a live play stage near the back.

Not long after we came in and looked around we had amassed quite a following. Several of the others in our party were well over six feet tall and towered over the entire crowd. We played darts, had some strange tortilla-like food, and waved at throngs of bewildered and smiling children.

Something about Cambodians in general: they are a tremendously happy people. Sometimes, when I approach, they look at me with a deadly serious gaze, as if they are sizing me up. As soon as I wave, smile, or show any sign of friendliness they break open in the most amazing smile. It melts my heart.

Anyway, as we made our way back to the front several of the gang decided it would be a good idea to go on the rides. Not only did I get some great pictures, but our tag-a-long crowd grew exponentially. After the space-ship ride we rode the carousel, and then it was time to go.

The next morning, a few of us took some boats out on the nearby lake to do a little more temple-hopping. Nothing really worth writing home about (HA!) but it was good times with our new friends. We both got a little sunburnt.

Today I head out with one of the school coordinators to work on a project for the orphanage. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post. Until then, cheers!

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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