Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vietnam and Cambodia

I have been back from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia for almost a week now. Jet lag is no longer a reasonable excuse for not blogging; now I have to face up to the fact that it has simply been difficult to know exactly where to dive into the effort to describe and interpret what I saw.

Perhaps the best place to begin would be simply to note that the trip took me and a friend--I traveled with the Vietnam country director for the English Language Institute, a non-profit that provides English teachers for schools and universities throughout Asia--to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Hanoi, in that order. While in Ho Chi Minh City, we spent a day with a car and driver going to the Cu Chi tunnels and the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh. We had an opportunity to see some of the Cambodian countryside on the five-hour drive from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and on excursions from Siem Reap to the ancient temples of Angkor and to Lake Tonle Sap.

Before commenting on what we observed on the trip, I want to begin by showing some of what we saw. Below is a brief slide show (Flash required) depicting Choeung Ek, one of Cambodia's "killing fields."

Please check back for additional slide shows and, when the muse finally permits, some comments on Vietnam and Cambodia.