A Farewell to a King

After leaving Siem Reap, I took a boat down the Mekong River all the way to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. A gritty, vibrant city, I expected to find the normal hustle, bustle, and inordinate amount of  motorbikes that one is apt to see in a Southeast Asian city. I did not expect this.





So what brought twenty thousand Buddhist monks and countless more ordinary citizens out to the square in front of the national palace? It turned out we had just happened to arrive on the day of the official public funeral of the King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk. For a westerner generally unfamiliar with Buddhist customs, it was altogether fascinating. Here is a video I took of some of the proceedings.

It was quite an experience, and despite the fact it was a funeral, a joyous event. I can’t say the same for what we did the next day. I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t treat the world as your own personal Disneyland. So if you see the good, you should experience the bad, too. And you can’t go to Cambodia without visiting the Killing Fields.


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