Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Colors of Phnom Penh: Green and White.

I have a complicated personal history with Phnom Penh. I have been taken sick on both of my visits to the Cambodian capital, so that some of my strongest memories of the city are of lying in bed in pain. And my first night there was spent feeling exhaustedly overwhelmed: by the traffic of motorbikes, the maimed beggars, and the clash of new development with destitute poverty. But in the end, it’s still one of the cities in Asia I think most longingly of. For somehow, despite its suffering history, its lingering ills, it’s a city where hope seems almost to be sprouting from the cracks in the pavement.

So maybe it’s fitting that the colours I associate with Phnom Penh are of green and white; of new growth an optimistic brightness. These colours flourished in the seasonal monsoons, succored in the cool shade of the city’s leafy sidewalk cafes, and gleamed in the verdant hues of its markets’ produce.

8 comments:

jen laceda said...

Sorry to hear about the illnesses in Cambodia. Listen to this. I never made it to Cambodia because my husband and I were so ill in Phuket, Thailand that we couldn't get out of bed. And so, we missed our flight to Cambodia...I'm hoping one day to make it.

A Girl in Asia said...

Gorgeous photos - makes me miss the Penh! (And Jen - hope you make it there some day!!)

vietnamesesummer said...

Hi, I really enjoy your blog. Just wondering what that plant is (middle image at the top). I remember eating the seeds when I was in Vietnam!

Big Fish said...

Green and White. A interesting feel :)

Miss Footloose said...

Just found your blog and love your themes and how you look at your world. Great photos!

In SE Asia I've lived in Indonesia; in Africa in Kenya and Ghana. Hope to make it to southern Africa.

I like to look at the "small" stuff, and experience the non-tourist life. I write about my daily life (mis)adventures on my blog, which incidentally just has a post up about playing tourist ;) but in my home town in Holland.

www.lifeintheexpatlane.blogspot.com

kristine said...

i couldnt agree more about a sense of hope amid the desperation of a difficult past. I found that a especially striking contrast when visiting from lovely but less-than-dynamic vientiane!

Bordeaux said...

I am in love with the picture of the bananas strung onto the trishaw. When will we go back to Phnom Penh?

Prêt à Voyager said...

i'm actually in the process of procrastinating doing an assignment for my "color as communication in marketing in art class" - i'm using my own travel photos for the project (collection- create structure - name and rename colors). i've been struggling with the breakdown, so i knew you'd be the perfect place to come for inspiration.

A