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In the journal I kept during my long trip through Asia, there's a hand-drawn map on the back page. The map shows some local roads, a lake, a couple waterfalls, and other local features. It was drawn by a man I met in Ratanakiri province, a remote area of north-east Cambodia mostly populated by minority tribes, not visited by many foreigners. He used to lead tourists on treks through Ratanakiri's national parks. He showed me an album of photos from past trips: young Brits swimming under waterfalls, walking under forest canopy, clowning with him for the camera, smiling, laughing. He offered to arrange for a guide for me, offered to help me rent a motorbike, smiling in a hyper-forced way, as if nothing could be less natural for him than to smile, but also as if nothing could be more important. He used to lead treks but no longer did, and he demonstrated why as he stood up and walked, painfully. He was lame in one leg, had broken it, not received proper care, and it had never really healed. He walked away from the table, poling along on one stiff leg, quickly.

last timestamped: 14:45:03 25-Aug-2010
in categories:Travel/Vagabond'08





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