I’ve been in Bangkok, Thailand for 36 hours. As my best friend Colin says, “It’s kind of funny when Thailand becomes your benchmark for modernity and you’ve grown up outside New York City.” But for the first time in 7 weeks I have hot water, air conditioning, and a washer and dryer. There are cars, highways, and skyscrapers. And I would be lying if I said my time in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia depleted my American, consumer-driven ways.
Today I wandered around Siam Square’s luxurious malls. I went into Jimmy Choo’s and held a pair of shoes that cost more than my budget for the last 2 months. I think it was obvious because the girl at the counter looked me up and down with snooty disapproval. I guess my grungy sweats weren’t up to par? But I shrugged it off, found an equally snooty French cafe and ate my weight in birthday cake. Then, I went back to my hostel, got in the shower, turned the knob to scalding lava hot, and stood there for 30 minutes until my skin was bright red. (To all you eco-conscious folk: Trust me, I’ve conserved enough water by not showering in the last 2 months to merit a frivolous 30 minute shower. And, it’s my birthday, so deal.)
Tomorrow I’m catching a 6am flight to Bali, Indonesia!!! So starting now, I’m taking a week long hiatus from the blog and women’s issues to celebrate my birthday in Ubud. I’ll be embracing my inner hippie, doing yoga every day and letting a senile medicine man tell me how I can improve my spiritual well-being (And I’m going to try really hard to tone down the cynicism while he does it).
These photos document my time in Cambodia, sort of. I didn’t take that many photos in Phnom Penh. I spent 5 days in Siem Reap at the beginning of August. Siem Reap is a tourist destination, known for the famous Angkor Wat temples. Many people are starting to criticize the way tourism and development are affecting the city and its residents. I tried to balance out my photos to show you the incredible temples but also give you some insight into the lives of Cambodian women. I’ve also linked some interesting articles about women’s issues that I read and thought I would pass along…
Rwandan Rebels Rape at Least 179 Women in Congo, New York Times
Notes from a Young American in Congo: Rape Continues, Nicholas Kristof Blog
The Female Factor: Fighting for Safe Passage on Indian Streets, New York Times
Brazil’s Sex Tourism Boom, BBC News
Rwanda Uses Phones to Tackle Maternal Mortality, The Independent
Click here to view more photos from Siem Reap.