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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The Jams are Dead. Long Live the Jams

I’m seven. I’m bustin’ my little butt to second base in a game of wiffle ball that will go down in the annals of memorable Wilt Family reunions.

A distant, distant, oh so genetically distant relative, a huge oaf of a man with an overabundance of chromosomes and an underabundance of teeth, chases after me. When he goes for the tag my right leg somehow ends up in between his scissoring tree trunks of legs and ….SNAP!

I’m on the ground near second base staring up the trunk of an elm tree. Relatives stop talking about the weather long enough to say, “Did you hear that? It sounded like a chicken bone snapping.” And then they return to their conversation. “Mable Sue, how much rain did…

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What do making Jeans and Bowling have in common?

Bowling

These workers would rather not do either.

I took them bowling. Nails were broken. Heavy balls were heaved. And sore arms were rubbed. It didn’t take.

My extensive, highly-scientific, ground-breaking research has turned up yet another amazing discovery that will contribute to the human knowledge-base…

Garment workers don’t like bowling….

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Notes From a Garment Factory

Roo Hsing Garment Factory

The following are excerpts from my notes from my visit to Roo Hsing Garment Factory:-
“My boss says that he would like to dry your pants.”

“Sure, that’d be great.”

A phone call is made and someone whooshes in and off my jeans go
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We walk down the line starting at a completed pair of Levi’s. Some 85 people have a hand in sewing one pair of blue jeans. That doesn’t count the people who cut the fabric, wash the jeans, make the pockets, or ship.
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It’s seeing a pair of jeans being disassembled in 85 parts.
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The famous Levi’s gold thread spirals from the top of the sewing machines and into the blue jeans in short spurts.
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The girls, and they are mainly girls, not guys…

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If Willy Wonka made blue jeans…

…his factory would be about the same sizes as the Roo Hsing Garment Factory in Phnom Penh.

As I approach the mirrored-glass doors all I can see is my reflection. The plant manager opens the door and I disappear. An endless room of workers and sewing machines appear.

Some 85 people have a hand in making one pair of blue jeans. This Blue Jean Land is occupied by 1,000 workers.

More on this later…

Thanks to Levi’s for arranging the visit and thanks to the management at the Roo Hsing factory for giving me a most thorough tour. And the best part is that while they were giving me a tour, they got a stain out of my Made In Cambodia Levi’s that had been on there since the…

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Where Kent is Wearing

Suntex Factory

All of our underwear comes from somewhere. This is where Kent’s came from.

Kent, aka Denzel, a member of WAIW’s Underwear Wall of Fame, sent me the address of the factory that his MADE IN CAMBODIA boxers originated. I tracked it down. That’s me in front of the Suntex factory.

The Suntex factory is on the outskirts of Phnom Penh near an infamous Killing Field. I went there on a scooter. It was hot and the road was a dusty, stinky mess. From the entrance, the factory looked big, more of a compound really.

I didn’t get a chance to meet any of the workers, but I can give you a rough idea what they are like from my…

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Roasting Dr. Timmerman (My Brother)

After some 26 semesters at the University level, my brother, Kyle, has finally graduated with a PhD in Exercise Physiology. His advisor held a roast in honor of the occasion that none of us ever thought would come.

I missed it. My excuse: I was sleeping. And, oh yeah, I’m in Cambodia.

I really wanted to be there. There were a lot of friends and family that were attending the roast. I always appreciate when others join-in to help make fun of my big brother. Usually, I have to do all of the heavy lifting.

Despite my on-the-other-side-of-the-world status, I still contributed to the roast. From my hotel in Battambang, I recorded 3 minutes…

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