Rock for Kampuchea 1980


Do you remember this concert, 4 nights at Hammersmith Odeon with Paul McCartney leading the way with the Who, Clash and others raising money for impoverished Cambodia? Seems such a long time ago I watched this concert at home one late evening, above all it raised awareness among young people to the plight of poor Cambodia, embellished later in the mid eighties with the movie 'The Killing Fields' which I managed to see upon it's immediate release and its very moving ending.  I never thought I would be visiting this little Asian country 4 times in 6 years.

Cambodia, is sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam and consequently is the most delicious filling in that sandwich.  The people are welcoming, able to speak some english, and often fluently, and courteous to their visitors, which is more than can be said of it's neighbours, and I still believe the people here are absolutely lovely and for this reason it is understandable why people return, or even linger like our Greg.

Since my first visit in 2010, the rate of change cannot go unnoticed. For example, on my first trip I had to cross a river by pontoon on my bus to head towards Vietnam, and was the same in 2012, now there is a splendid suspension bridge, not quite like the Marne Valley in France, but none-the-less marked progress changing lives. Greg assures me the built the Aeon shopping mall in one year, a huge investment, catering for shopping, ice skating, bowling and the like.

However, regardless of this, if you are a foodie, there is something for your palate, Spanish, French, American, even Costa coffee, but not seen it's adversary Starbucks. Burger King, but not McDonalds, Dominoes but not Pizza hut.

So a country changing so much, but despite this, poverty is still here, among these millionaires, children still beg, schools are over crowded and have two sittings in a day to accommodate them all, but hospital wings and new high tech buildings get built and remain empty, there's only one post office for the city - or so it seems, so money talks as ever even in impoverished Cambodia.
After such a soapbox introduction, what's Greg up to? I spent most of my time at Phnom Penh Sports Club reading and sleeping away the days whilst Greg went to work, a bit of a novelty, parent sees kid off to work whilst parent does SFA.

Naturally we played football as promised, first on concrete, my rickety bones only got two minutes and Greg was in goal, undeterred, we made a twenty minute journey to another game. Well everything was fine until, until, my knee decided to crumple on me, same injury for last 10 years I guess, but I gamely continued until it happened again, thoughts of hanging my boots up did enter my head. But mum knows I should stop, but she also knows I can't give in. However, this was not the most worrying issue, Greg's ankle was tender once again. A day later and he's wearing a protective boot for his ligament injury, game over or so I thought. No chance, on to the next evening to see his team which became cup winners and guess what? Game on! Barefooted I played, easy, no reaction and played quite well until I sat down and had the ball booted into my face from one metre away, ouch, cue nosebleed and sore nose and head.

Greg and I have not had our customary adventure, but instead shared our continued healthy father/son relationship and had our heated debates, more from my concern over his welfare and health given what I and he had experienced in just three days. But overall he is at ease in these surroundings and that I am pleased. This I completely understand as I puttered along in my tuk tuk to the sports club.
Phnom Penh is a delight, limited in scope for museums once you've seen the Killing Fields stuff, which everyone must do on a visit here, just as we should never forget our soldiers of the first and second world wars, but for someone who wishes to live here and work, it is very easy to navigate life. The food, coffee shops, and bustling markets are entertainment in themselves, plus we will be off to the casino later like a pair of male Thelma and Louise's without the car crash.