Scenes from the taxi window


Cambodia!! When you come face to face with a new country–one you never even considered you’d visit a year ago–you think, “What am I doing here? Ridiculous!!” Before when I’ve landed in an Asian country, it’s been to experience my birth culture, to move there (that’s not really a visit, is it?), to go to a work conference, or to visit a friend. In Cambodia, it’s purely for tourism.

On the taxi ride to the hotel, I looked into the faces of people crossing the street in groups–t-shirts, flip-flops, floppy k-pop hair, dyed with bangs k-pop hair–earnest people pedaling bicycles or tuk-tuks (bicycles that transport people)–people playing with their kids in the car next to me at a stop light–the boy popping up and down playing peek-a-boo through the window (no carseat, Americans, in case you were wondering). I see them and imagine their lives running parallel to mine. “When did they decide to dye their hair? I would have been doing school work or having dinner at that exact same moment on earth. Where was I when that mom had her son? Maybe visiting my sister in the hospital after her son was born.”

It’s the simple basic realization that a whole nation of people lives on the planet with you and you can only guess at parts of their lives but never truly know them without opportunity and time. I don’t imagine as hard when I people watch in the mall at home. I feel I can pretty much picture the lives of my neighbors because I see them at school and church. As a teacher we have a unique perspective into the personal lives of others. But how much can we know?

Later we walked to dinner from our hotel. We saw lots of children. Lots of children. Selling DVDs. Wandering in groups. Playing with rocks on the sidewalk. Lying asleep covered in a small towel next to their mother who was asking for money. The sun had set. Yet, the streets were bustling with tourists. And foreigners.


About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in life and culture, travel, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Scenes from the taxi window

  1. Enjoy your break, I have enjoyed reading your posts about a place so far away and different from where I live – but similar too – because people are often alike no matter where we are.

  2. aggiekesler says:

    Great visuals of your taxi ride…thanks for sharing!

  3. alwriting says:

    It’s important for the writer to take the reader with them on the word journey. You did this admirably in this piece that gave insight into another place, another culture.

  4. Ellen Spears says:

    The time you are taking to reflect yields lovely images and ideas.

  5. Beth says:

    When I’m traveling, I often say something like, “Wow! They live here. This is home for them! It is so different from my life.”

  6. Thank you for sharing your visit to Cambodia. I enjoyed the pictures you paint of the people you encountered. My favorite is of the little boy playing peekaboo in the back of the car.

  7. I loved the family next to tour taxi…and the baby playing peek a boo. Children are a common thread throughout the world. I hope you see many sights and tell us of your adventures.

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