Dreams of Kep

Alexander Chee was posting all these amazing photos of his travels in Cambodia. It brought back memories of our trip there back in 2007. I remember this trip so fondly, and to this day, Cambodia remains one of the most treasured places I’ve ever visited. It really is a gift to be able to travel to these faraway lands. I never want to take that for granted. Cambodia really brought that home for me. It took over 24 hours to get there, and I had never traveled like that before. New York to Germany to Singapore to Phnom Penh. AND THEN we jumped on a bus for… I think five hours or so, to Siem Reap. And we saw all the temples, and the one I remember the most was the one that no one else was at. Just me and Juhu and the temple, and we kicked back and laid down on those stones and took it all in and what’s the rush, right? There is no rush. We just took it all in.

But it was Kep, which we got to by jumping onto a rickety ol’ plane (and you know, to this day, I try to avoid those types of planes, and I really need to get over that fear, and just go with it, because when your time is up, your time is up), that I hold dearest in my mind, when my thoughts go to Cambodia. We found ourselves in this amazing sleepy coastal town with no tourists, and it was one of the most beautiful, quiet adventures of my life. There is haunted beauty there. This place has a history and all these years later, it’s all still right there. Burnt out villas and buildings, the scars of violence and war. And yet, families, on the beach, eating and frolicking and laying about in the sunshine.

We took a boat to a nearby island. It was raining — pouring, actually. Two pigs rushed up to us, and then took off. They were playing. The family who owned these pigs, they waved us into their home — a makeshift tent — to give us shelter from the storm. We just sat there, smiling. Nothing else. When the rain let up, we said thank you, in smiles, and went on our way. I’ll never forget it.

Jeffrey Yamaguchi | @jeffyamaguchi

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