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Cambodia: Self Indulgence

February 10th, 2007

I went to the slum in Phnom Penh once with AFESIP. I knew I needed to go back and make more pictures but finding the time was hard; however one afternoon I happened to have a couple of hours at the right time of day, meaning right around the time the women were getting ready to go work for the night. While I was shooting some of the street kid book sellers, I ran into Mindy’s friend Mike. He’s from California and was waiting in town to renew his visa…before heading out into the countryside to learn how to farm rice with a family he met. Talk about hard work. (at left: with the street kids)

Because I know Mike is a guy who relishes experience, because it’s nice to have someone along, and because I had been told by several NGO staff that I would be knocked in the head and have my cameras stolen (even though my gut told me I’d be safe), I asked Mike if he wanted to join me.

It was fun; Mike truly does seek experience and he is an incredibly engaging individual in foreign lands. Although, to say it was all lighthearted fun would be to simplify things.

These people live in homes with tin or buckling brick walls, no electricity or plumbing, and piles of trash surrounding them. But they also laugh a lot, they were kind, and they were welcoming. One woman kept on asking me if I wanted to see ‘Happeee!” I had no clue until she dragged me around a shack to show me several other women playing a gambling card game. Ah….Happee. (at left: the women playing happee)

Another woman had fired up her charcoal stove and was sauteing garlic, squid, and morning glory. In spite of the fould smells, Mike and I were both hungry. Though we didn’t join them for food, the scent of garlic in oil was quite appetizing and overwhelmed any aversion to the garbage around us.

So here are some self-indulgent photos and some video by Mike. In some I’m even working. (Yes, I do that on occasion). Oh, as for gear: Two Canon 1D Mark II’s and a selection of Canon and Sigma lenses. I bought the Canon and was given the Sigma. I’d like to be given two Canon 5D camera bodies…if anyone has an extra set (or spare $6000) because, while I love them, the Mark II’s are really heavy.

Riding in rush hour.

In the slum.

Stir fried squid and morning glory.

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