Made in Cambodia

A big thanks to Phalline, Chhuon, and all the other people who let me into their lives. This slideshow pretty much puts a wrap on my posts for Cambodia. I’m off to China.

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My All-American Cambodian Blue Jeans

Made in CambodiaIn the USA we didn’t invent the blue jean. We just made ‘em cool.

Jeans were first worn by the Italian Navy. But riveted jeans were first produced in San Francisco by Levi Strauss. He was a German immigrant. So, maybe blue jeans aren’t as All-American as I’d like to think, but I’ve got two words for you: James Dean.

Here’s one more: Fonzie

Levi’s has such a connection with the average American that they were one of the last companies to start sourcing internationally. The delay hurt them. It’s impossible to compete when your competition can make their product using labor that costs a fraction of what yours does.

So, now my Levi’s 501 Carpenter…

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28: It's the new 65!

Selling Smiles
(Note: That’s not me in the picture. I’m not letting myself go that much!)

Between me and you, the temple at Angkor killed my knees. They feel old. Going up is no problem, but going down…yikes! Elderly Japanese women were asking me if I needed help.

One of my favorite parts about Angkor was talking to the young girls who sell cold drinks, t-shirts, scarves, and about anything else you could possibly need and not need. They are pushy but fun and very clever. They got some money out of me and I didn’t want anything. Many of the girls speak multiple languages. One girl I met spoke 11!

Another girl, who I feature in the upcoming slideshow,…

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Scotty Lee's Spirit of Soccer

A little crazy goes a long way.

Take for instance professional soccer coach and former player Scotty Lee. Scotty met some Iranians at a bar and the next thing he knew he was working as a humanitarian in Bosnia during the war for the Iranian government. Scotty has stories with snipers, mortars, and tense check points. All crazy.

But he’s a good kind of crazy.

While on a return trip to Bosnia some kids were killed by a land mine during a game of soccer. Scotty had a crazy idea. Teach soccer and teach land mine awareness. It may not seem like the most logical correlation, but as Scotty puts it, “You can’t be a football player without legs. And you can’t be a goalie without arms.”

Scotty…

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WAIW? to hit the airwaves

I taped my second interview for the World Vision Report on Wednesday. The first covered the premise of my quest and my experiences in Honduras and Bangladesh. Wednesday’s just covered Cambodia.

When I look back at all of the interviews I’ve given over the years….wait, these were my first two. Anyhow, I think they went well, but I don’t have anything to compare them to. At the end of both interviews, I felt like I should have mentioned something that I didn’t get a chance to work in:

I should have told Peggy, the host, that the most surprising thing about Cambodia was getting a shoulder massage at the urinal. Or when she asked me what else I’ve been up to I should have told her…

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Impure Thoughts on Angkor

The temples of Angkor are amazing, but there are a couple of things that could be done to ratchet up the temple’s appeal. Some suggestions:

– Flood it. Angkor is the best dive site in the world. If only there were 50 meters of water sitting on top of it. Swimming through the narrow corridors and hovering over the iconic spires would be unforgettable. Add marine life. WOW! What’s better than swimming through the Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas? Swimming through the gallery of a Thousand Buddhas with a shark!

I know this is a sacrilege. You might be thinking, “I don’t know how to SCUBA dive and I want to see Angkor.” Know this: I’m not thinking about you….

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Moto drivers are people too

“Moto?”

“Sure, why not?” I went for a run tonight and don’t feel the need to walk.

The Mondo BBQ has the cheapest fruit-shakes in Phnom Penh and that’s exactly what I want for dinner. I’m not very hungry.

It takes about five minutes to walk there, one by moto. A pointless moto ride for sure, but why not give this fella something to do instead of harassing all of the other ME’s out there?

“Join me for a fruitshake?” I ask.

At first he thinks I want him to wait for me. I make the appropriate hand gestures and he gets it, takes off his helmet, and sits down across from me.

“Order whatever you like.” I say.

He orders a small orange juice, the cheapest thing on the menu, and…

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Editors and Moto-Drivers

Everywhere you go has its own form of transportation. In Bangladesh it’s the rickshaw, in England it’s the tube or the bus, and in Cambodia it is the Moto.

“Moto” sounds much manlier than it should. These small, efficient bikes are scooters. Nothing more. For 50-cents you can go about anywhere. They aren’t hard to find. Every corner has a few moto-drivers gambling at cards, napping, reading newspapers. But no matter what they are doing or how focused they are doing it, they will spot you from half-a-block away, throw their hand in the air and holler “MOTO! MOTO! HELLO, SIR! MOTO!”

Walking the streets of Phnom Penh, I can hold my breath in between Moto-offers and not go blue in…

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