Reviews - What do customers think about Cambodia & Angkor:A Travel Ske?
A Personal Travel Journal Feb 4, 2004
If you'd like to get an idea about Cambodia before you go, without spoiling your future travel experience - because you've already seen it all on photos, or if you want to recall your own travel memories, you may like this beautiful book.
"Les Trois Moustiquaires" (literally, "The Three Moskito Nets" a French pun playing on the likeness of moustiquaires = moskito net, and musquetaires = musketeers) travelled Cambodia twice in 2000 and 2002 and captured a lot of the atmosphere of this magnificent and difficult country in their inspiring impressions. Text and images lead you off the beaten track, as you follow Damien, Elsie and Justin, who team up with their French/Cambodian friend Benito, to travel the country.
Benito runs "Krousar Thmey" ("New Family"), one of Cambodia's many NGOs, this one providing shelter and schooling for Cambodian street children. The authors follow Benito as he visits his projects, meets with children, teachers, and even the Queen of Cambodia. You get a glimpse of some the problems this very poor country still suffers as a result of decades of war and one of the most terrible genocides, despite the waves of tourists that have recently discovered the temples of Angkor Wat. At the same time, you witness how the good will of a few people, like Benito, can make a significant difference. Cambodia has several such examples, the childrens' hospital in Siem Reap run by Swiss doctor Beat Richner, a/k/a Beatocello, is another.
But the book also covers the magnificent temples and some of the more picturesque landscapes. What is most appealing besides the text are the extraordinarily beautiful watercolors and original images made of polaroids, composed photos, and collages, using "objets trouves" such as old advertisings, airplane and bus tickets, candy wrappers, and the like. The book encourages you to look for some of the unexpected things that create the atmosphere and image of a country. The nature of the illustrations gives you an idea of the place - but without giving everything away; you still have room to add your own experiences as you read and look.
If you consider buying this book, in English or French, you may also want to do so directly from Krousar Thmey. Some of the proceeds go to the funding of its many activities. Check out www.myfriend.org/krousar-thmey/e/index.html
If you want to learn about Dr. Beat Richner and his childrens' hospitals, go to: www.beatocello.ch.
The same authors also created a similar travel journal on the Island of Zanzibar, but I think it is only available in French.