The ever-changing kaliedescope of colors and light, as the dark cool shades of night melted away.No one can accuse me of vanity after posting this! Sleepy-eyed and cheese-faced, from the balcony of my most excellent, albeit impermanent, abode.
The day was young and full of possibilities. I had no idea where it was about to lead me, no expectations of what I would do or see, no place I "had" to go, no schedules, no shackles. I was completely free, and that is always a good thing. (^_<)
I lazily stumbled down the steps from my 4th floor room, through a lobby full of friendly faces, out onto the street. With every step I took I was greated with a chorus of traditional, city-style greetings: "Madame, moto? Moto Madame? Madame, Cylco? Cyclo, madame? " Smiling and shaking my head "no," I skipped across the street, through the trickle of traffic begining to flood the riverfront, and sat down in the sun, soaking it in, the sounds of fishermen speaking Vietnamese floating on the wind.
I waited patiently for the day to reveal itself to me. A brilliant stream of billowing saffron caught my gaze, slowly flowing towards me. The early light of morning, caught in citrus colored, umbrellas glowed in the distance, spilling over onto saffron colored robes like streams of sunlight pouring through stained glass. An ethereal glow seemed to radiate from the round, shaved heads shaded beneath them, like an aura of pure energy. Their bronze-toned, sun-kissed skin was wrapped in robes that echoed the many shades of sunrise still ethched in my mind: golden, crimson, saffron, and tangerine. I watched in awe at the unworldly quality of the scene before me, unable even to fumble for my camera to try to capture it.
I sat there, alone, contemplating how so much beauty can exist in such a cruel and troubled world. "The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."Lost in thought, I began to wander the streets, coming to life with the colors and flavors of Cambodia's capital city.
Have you ever seen so many banannas before? Bunch by bunch, handed down from the truck to the cyclo, hopefully on its way to becoming one of the many delicious fruit smoothies I consumed in a day. Yumm...
A small girl on the side of the road, all alone. She just stood there, looking around, watching people pass her by without a second glance. She didnt beg. She had nothing to sell. She was just there. Alone.
So beautiful. I sat and watched the bananaman for awhile, hoping someone would come and take her hand, and lead her away smiling and skipping down the street. I wish I could've brought her home with me!
Did I need a cyclo? No. But he needed a passanger, and maybe a bit of breakfast. I tried to explain to him that I didn't need a ride; that I was happy walking around and getting lost. The language barrier, however, was not on my side, and a constant smile does little to discourage the desperate. So I decided to give him a break. "Ok!" I laughed. "Me, cylco! You, here!" I pointed from him to the carriage. He jumped down off his seat grinning. "Ok?" He said, pointing at my legs. "Ok!" I assured him, ushering him to his seat. To the amazement of everyone within viewing distance, I hopped up on the cyclo, ready to speed off, when he hopped out of the seat and ran behind me. I was afraid he had reconsidered allowing a foreigner to drive his precious chariot, at the risk of both his personal saftey and my own, but he simply ran behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, showed me how to release the break, and then gleefully hopped back into his seat. And off we went...
To be Continued....