Trail of Crumbs

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Yesterday, I discussed the political situation in Cambodia that allowed for the Khmer Rouge to rise to power. Today, I want to talk about what happened once they were in control of the country. All the same caveats that I mentioned yesterday still hold true. Mainly: I’m not a historian, so while I’ve done my best to be accurate (and cite my sources), I may have made some mistakes. If you find one, please let me know in the comments, and include a source. Also, as you probably know, I’m an American. I’ve tried not to editorialize too much, but everything that I write will have that bias.

Statue at the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh.

 

Lesson 1: The Khmer Rouge (continued)

After years of Civil War and fighting (exacerbated by U.S. involvement), Cambodia was pretty damn unstable. The country had been ravaged – by bombs, by poverty, by hunger and war – under the old regime of the Khmer Republic. So when the Khmer Rouge (the KR) finally took Phnom Penh, on April 17, 1975, people cheered.

This was different. This had to be salvation.

This detail breaks my heart perhaps more than any other – because people were so damn hopeful for what the Khmer Rouge could do, for what they might bring to the country. They were cheering their would-be murderers.

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Lesson 1: The Khmer Rouge.

It seems pointless to tell you about Cambodia without first going into the country’s history, particularly in the last forty years or so. Some will chastise me, and will be quick to say that the country is more than the Khmer Rouge, more than this dark history. That’s true: I can’t and won’t dispute that. But this particular backstory is the reason why the country is what it is today. It is virtually impossible to speak of Cambodia and not touch on the issue. My stories won’t make sense.

Nicci and I realized this. That’s why, on our very first morning in Cambodia, we went to the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, and later to the Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum. They was no way around it, and it framed the way we traveled, and how we saw the country, and I think that was the responsible way to go.

Some of the young victims of the Khmer Rouge.

 

It’s so important, I’ve made the “Khmer Rouge” Cambodia Lesson #1.

Note that I’ve added nothing else. Not “The Khmer Rouge was horrible” or “The Khmer Rouge left a legacy of death and terror” or anything to that effect. This is because of Cambodia Lesson 2.

Lesson 2: Don’t pretend for a second that you understand what the fuck happened here.

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The evening after you get back from Ravello, and your cab driver has just ripped you off to the tune of 20 euros, you will not feel much like spending more money on a lavish dinner. Besides, your lunch was lovely and late, and you aren’t particularly hungry.

On that evening, is it perfectly acceptable to pick up a sandwich in town that is roughly the size of a longshoreman’s forearm and take it back to your hotel room. It will have prosciutto and fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, and bread so crusty it will wreak havoc on the roof of your mouth, but you won’t care.

 

Because this will be your table.

 

And this will be your view.

 

And you will sit there and listen to the sea and smell the citrus from the groves below and realize that there is no better place to have dinner on that night, and maybe any other.

Last week I felt kinda … “off.” I arrived late to appointments, I forgot random letters and words in emails and blog posts (if you read anything coherent from me, that was thanks to Rand’s editing), and in the end, I didn’t even get my weekly round-up posted.

I know it’s Monday, and that it isn’t really a day for slacking off, but I figured that a lot of these were too good not to share. So better late than never, here are the links, along with the promise that this week, I’ll be on my game a little more. Maybe.

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Buzzfeed checks out the Delia’s catalog from 1997. Baggy pants, ringer t-shirts, puffy vests? Yup. I pretty much wore all of this stuff. Thank god there were no digital cameras back then.

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I know it’s nowhere near April, but this is delightful: A professor at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, forced students to answer calls on speakerphone whenever their cell phones went off during class. This created the perfect set-up for a brilliant April Fool’s prank.

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I finished The Bartender’s Tale on the flight to Germany, at some nameless hour high above the North Pole. I decided to leave it with my dad, but there was one snippet I wanted to hang onto.

So I took a photo of it.

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Pretty easy to guess which part, I fell in love with, right?

I’ve been having trouble sleeping these past few nights – I think my body’s trying to stay awake in some weird attempt to make the summer feel longer. But the grey skies are already moving in, and fall is, as much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, on its way.

I’m accepting the end of sunshine and t-shirt weather the way any mature adult would: I’m gonna eat an entire pan of s’mores. While I enjoy the spoils of my bad judgment, you enjoy these links.

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A YouTube user slows down one of my favorite songs -Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” – by 25%. The result is sultry, sad, and entirely beautiful.

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And a little more Dolly love for your Friday: Texas musician Josh Weathers covers “I Will Always Love You” and totally nails it.

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Phil shows us how it’s done.

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Remember episode of The Simpsons where Marge decides to take a vacation by herself and ends up at Rancho Relaxo?

Most of you are probably nodding enthusiastically. Others might have vague recollections of it. And a select few might be shaking your heads and saying, “I’ve never really watched The Simpsons.”

That latter group, of course, belongs under glass, so we can inspect and examine them, because they are the modern day equivalent of children being raised by wolves. I mean, we’ve heard rumors of it happening, we suspected it was possible, but … really? Never seen The Simpsons? I … I just can’t right now. It’s too early.

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Rand and I are on the road this week, which means that I put this roundup together last week.

So if something major happened in the last five days, the Geraldine of last Sunday (who is currently writing this post) doesn’t know about it yet. Hopefully, nothing I say will be too offensive in the context of recent events, which I presently know nothing about.

But just to be on the safe side, here’s template. Please fill it in accordingly:

I feel very __________ about _____________.

And with that, here are the links:

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A single mom explains why we all need to stop lying in our Facebook posts.

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I may be totally biased, but I highly recommend that you donate to the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter.

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NPR explains that the first encounter between humans and neanderthals went, well … let’s just say better than expected.

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