It has been a busy time since I last wrote, during which we have travelled and seen a lot of Cambodia. After Silk Island (Koh Dach) we drove North East to Kratie to stay on another island in the Mekong. Much of the route was through the enormous flood plain of the Mekong, where there is just one rice crop each year, and little is growing now so the fields are dead with little activity. In an area of rich soil the French had introduced rubber plantations which continue today.
Our 2 nights at Rajaboris Villas on the island of Koh Trong were excellent – see my Trip Advisor review and at www.rajabori-kratie.com From there we went to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins and eat tasty ‘krolane’ which is sticky rice, soya beans and coconut cooked in bamboo tubes – Yum! Yum!
A bite of krolane
Our onward journey towards Siem Reap continued through flat mundane countryside of resting rice fields, awaiting the rainy season in 3 months time. As well as repetitive countryside, there was a roadside message in every village – your Government is wonderful!
Cambodia is ranked 156th out of 176 Countries for corruption by Transparency International and corruption is rife in Government, the judicial system, the police, public services, land and tax administration, public procurement, natural resources – everywhere! Corruption has succeeded the Khmer Rouge as the modern torturer and killer of ambition for the new generation where 50% of the population is under the age of 25. While Government Officials look after themselves, their family and friends, most of the population is still living in squalid conditions supported only by foreign aid through Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) who help mainly with education and medical support. Despite all of this, the people are friendly, welcoming and peaceful but we fear for their future.
This Country needs a change of Government, which will only happen if elections are run correctly, and that will give the hope the people deserve.